I am traveling to London in mid-October, arriving at Gatwick Airport, then taking a train to northern England. Are there any facilities at Gatwick for a traveler to shower and change clothes?
There are unisex shower facilities, indicated by a shower-head symbol, at both terminals at Gatwick airport. Each shower is in a room that can be locked.
The south terminal has seven showers. Three are in the Gatwick Village shopping and eating area, which you reach before going through to the departure lounge or after clearing customs on arrival. Four are in the departure lounge.
In the north terminal, there are five showers: one is in the departure lounge, two are in the departure concourse, just before passport control, and two are on the first-floor arrival concourse (remember that the first floor is called the ground floor in England).
There is a phone at each shower, which travelers use to call for a towel to be delivered. There is a $16 returnable deposit on each towel, calculated at $1.60 to the pound. Soap and shampoo are also provided.
There is no charge for use of the showers in the south terminal; the fee in the north terminal is $1.60.
Most airlines provide shower facilities at the airport for their passengers in first and business class. British Airways' showers are in the arrivals lounge.
More details about the airport's facilities are in a passenger information booklet available free from Gatwick Airport's information desks in each terminal.
Flight and general inquiries are both handled at (01293) 535353. Drop the zero and use the 44 country code if calling from the United States.
I would like to go to Paris next summer to see the French Open Tennis Tournament. Are there any packages for the event, or can you advise me about getting tickets?
There are a number of packages for the event, from May 27 to June 9, and you can also make the arrangements under your own steam.
Requests for ticket reservation forms are accepted starting in October for the next year's event from the Federation Francaise de Tennis, Stade Roland-Garros, Service Billeterie, 2 Avenue Gordon Bennett, 75016 Paris, France; (33 1) 47.43.48.00, fax (33 1) 47.43.04.94.
Forms, exclusively for Center Court, are sent out and received in November. Return the completed form along with an international check in dollars by mail only.
Tickets are issued on a first-come, first-served basis. If tickets are not available for the section you requested, you will be seated in another one. If the dates you requested are booked, the money is returned.
In January the federation accepts requests for Court A and Court No. 1 seats. The forms are sent out in February.
These tour operators can put together a package, although in most cases prices for next year have not yet been made final:
* Steve Furgal's International Tennis Tours, 11828 Rancho Bernardo Road, Suite 123-305, San Diego, Calif. 92128; (800) 258-3664, fax, (619) 487-0518. Three packages will be offered next year: Early Rounds, Middle Rounds, and Semis and Finals. Early Rounds, costing $3,350 a person, includes air fare from anywhere in the United States, five nights in a hotel and three days of tickets to early-round matches on Center Court. Middle Rounds, $3,495 a person, provides tickets for three days of middle-round Center Court matches. Semis and Finals, $3,995, includes six nights' hotel accommodations, tickets to the final four days on Center Court and a day trip to the Loire Valley. No meals are included.
* Grand Slam Tennis Tours, 222 Milwaukee Street, Suite 407, Denver, Colo. 80206; (800) 289-3333 or (303) 321-1760, fax (212) 321-1771. Last year's prices included air fare from New York, Center Court tickets to either the first four days, the middle five days or the final five days, and Continental breakfast. The Early Rounds prices ranged from $2,495 to $3,095 (seven nights), Middle Rounds (seven nights) from $2,795 to $3,295 and Final Rounds (eight nights) from $3,095 to $3,595.
* Custom Travel Consultants, 2105 Woodside Road, Woodside, Calif. 94062; (800) 367-2105 or (415) 369-2105, fax (415) 369-4170. Last year's rates ranged from $2,100 to $2,800 a week, which included Center Court tickets for three matches, accommodations and continental breakfast each day. Air fare was extra.
* Jet Vacations, 1775 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10019; (800) 538-1999 or (212) 247-0999, fax (212) 586-2069. Last year's prices were $1,849 a week, with tickets to the semifinals and finals, accommodations and meals. Air fares were extra.