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The Mature Traveler

Airline's Midweek $65 Fare

January 19, 1986|BILL HUGHES | Hughes is a 25-year veteran travel writer living in Sherman Oaks

While air fare wars are going strong as domestic carriers attempt to fill otherwise empty seats during this slow winter period, Continental has come up with an even lower senior special rate--a flat $65 one-way fare anywhere it flies for those 65 or older.

One big provision, however, is that all flights must be taken on either a Tuesday or Wednesday.

Between now and March 5, the $65 for 65 applies to any Continental destination no matter the distance. So it's $65 to Reno, as well as to Phoenix, Denver, Houston, Chicago, Cleveland or such warm-weather destinations as New Orleans, Jacksonville, Tampa or Miami, plus many others.

There are some other restrictions. There is a 14-day advance purchase requirement, and tickets are non-refundable. However, the $65 is not lost, but can be applied to any other regular Continental fare.

Proof Required

Seniors will be required to prove their ages from an accepted form of identification--driver's license, birth certificate, etc. A membership card in one of the several mature or senior organizations will not be considered proof of age.

Both husband and wife must be 65 or older to get the fare. If one or the other is younger than 65, he or she pays the regular fare. They do travel together, of course.

A Continental spokesman declined to say whether the Tuesday and Wednesday flights would be capacity-controlled--that is, a limited number of the $65 seats available--stating only that there would be a "large number of seats on every flight." (I still take that to mean get your reservations in fast.)

Tickets may be purchased through travel agents or directly through the airline.

I do like Continental's kicker in the ads promoting the fare: "See what we mean when we say life begins at $65."

California State Parks

Two other senior discounts are also available.

Starting this year, seniors 62 or older will get day-use and camping discounts in most California state parks.

That includes, with proper identification, a $2 discount at all state park campgrounds and a $1 discount at all state parks that have a per-vehicle day-use charge.

But the discount is not available for campsites obtained through the reservation system. And the day-use discount does not apply to the Hearst Castle tours, the state railroad museum or other historical parks or others that charge on a per-person basis.

And LOT, the Polish national carrier, has introduced a year-round fare for seniors 60 or older.

Passengers 60 or older can fly New York to Warsaw for $699 on an advance purchase economy class. However, there are two major blackout periods, June 15 to Aug. 14 and over the Christmas holidays.

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