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The Mature Traveler

Piedmont's Discounts

October 26, 1986|BILL HUGHES | Hughes is a 30-year veteran travel writer living in Sherman Oaks.

Still another carrier with a discount program for mature travelers is Piedmont Airlines, although its Senior Class club has some limitations for California residents.

Piedmont's main route structure is in the East with excellent coverage from Miami to Montreal. It does, however, serve Los Angeles with two round-trip flights to and from its hub cities of Charlotte, N.C., and Dayton, Ohio.

Thus any flights to the carrier's many destination points in the East mean a connecting flight from one of the hubs. On the plus side, scheduled departure times from Los Angeles are convenient morning and early afternoon flights to Dayton and Charlotte. Evening returns from both hubs are also acceptable.

Before joining Piedmont's Senior Class club, which asks $25 for membership plus an optional $100 for a companion membership for a 10% discount on all Piedmont flights, readers should get a Piedmont route map and schedule.

Airline Serves 111 Cities

If you have relatives within the 111 cities Piedmont serves in 27 states, the District of Columbia plus Ottawa and Montreal in Canada, membership is to your advantage.

For those seniors planning vacations to such resort areas as Florida (Piedmont serves a dozen destinations from Key West to Tallahassee), South Carolina's coastal resorts of Hilton Head or Myrtle Beach or such other popular destinations as New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Atlanta, Boston or Montreal, it also is worth investigating the Senior Class.

Piedmont offers one nice gimmick in its senior club, which is generally like those offered by such other carriers as United, American, Eastern, TWA and Western: double mileage credits on all flights for its frequent flyer program. There's also a 5,000-mile bonus just for joining.

So mature travelers can earn free airline tickets, hotel stays, rental cars and cruises faster than any other airline's senior program, Piedmont says.

Other Discounts

In addition to the 10% discount on flights, Piedmont's Senior Class club offers discounts at participating Radisson and Stouffer hotels and Hertz rental cars. There is also a quarterly newsletter featuring vacation package discounts and other offers.

Piedmont's Senior Club requires that members be at least 65 and the companion may be of any age, as long as both travel on the same flights. A different companion can be taken on different flights if the senior member so chooses.

For more information, including specific details on the restrictions on some Piedmont flights, check with your travel agent for an airline route map, schedule and membership application, or call Piedmont directly at (800) 251-5720.

A couple of trip ideas:

For mature and senior readers who prefer to travel rather than stay at home around Christmas, a number of tours are offered each holiday season. One such is the Christmas Luminarias Tour to New Mexico by Poole Tours.

Set for Dec. 21, the eight-day motor-coach tour features Albuquerque where on Christmas Eve millions of candle-lit luminarias are placed along roads, walkways and rooftops all over the city to light the way for the Christ Child.

Also included is a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings for the tour group, plus sightseeing in Prescott, Flagstaff and the Painted Desert in Arizona, Santa Fe and Las Cruces in New Mexico.

Tour price is $589 per person, which includes sightseeing, accommodations, taxes and tips, a welcome party and farewell dinner. For more information, contact Poole Tours, P.O. Box 990, Temple City, Calif. 91780; (818) 285-9775 or (714) 855-4918.

Bobbi Stenstadvold, who specializes in adventure tours for the mature and senior audience, has a 16-day ski-and-sightseeing tour to Italy and Switzerland Feb. 21 to March 7.

The trip features seven days of skiing at Davos and the Pozza di Fassa in Italy, an area that includes 65 miles of ski runs and 430 ski lifts and, according to Stenstadvold, is a well-kept secret among European skiers.

Tour cost from Los Angeles or San Diego is $1,649 per person, double occupancy, and includes accommodations, many meals, stops at Zurich and Munich plus a day in Venice. For information call (619) 469-3680 or Let's Travel at (619) 697-1367.

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