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The Bargain Corner

Down Under Jet Set

November 15, 1987|JACK ADLER

If you're planning to travel within Australia, perhaps while attending World Expo 88 next April 30 to Oct. 30, there are several air passes to consider. Some of these passes are on a directional basis and some are based on the distance flown.

East-West Airlines has a batch of passes, including three new ones, all costing about $415 at current rates of exchange.

A new Sun Pass, with Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns and Ayers Rock on the itinerary, can be started in either Sydney, Brisbane or Cairns. The new Rock Pass offers Cairns, Ayers Rock, Sydney, Melbourne and Tasmania, with either Melbourne or Cairns as gateways.

A second version of the carrier's transcontinental route has been added in which you can visit Sydney, Surfers Paradise, Brisbane, Cairns, Ayers Rock and Perth, and vice versa.

East-West is continuing its Coastal Air Pass route that takes in Cairns, Brisbane, Surfer's Paradise, Sydney, Melbourne and Tasmania (you can also fly this route in reverse order).

These passes have to be used within 60 days, with no backtracking except for connecting flights. But if you would like more flexibility, the East Side Air Pass permits unlimited travel for 14 days in eastern Australia, excluding Cairns. This pass also permits you to backtrack, so you can visit destinations more than once.

The carrier's Visit Australia fare allows overseas travelers a 30% discount off regular economy fares.

All of these passes have to be bought in the United States in conjunction with any transpacific fare to Australia and on any airline serving the route. Contact travel agents or the airline at (800) 354-7471.

Ansett Airlines has a pair of passes that cover most of the country.

The Go Australia pass has two versions. The first permits 6,000 kilometers (3,726 miles) of air travel and five stopovers for about $438.

The second pass allows 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles) and eight stopovers for around $683. These are 1987 prices, with the 1988 rates not yet established.

While you can buy the pass in the United States or Australia, you have to establish your itinerary at the outset, when your kilometers or miles are calculated, and fly to Australia on promotional fares.

However, the international flights can be on any airline. These passes have to involve at least seven nights (after you leave your gateway city), but no more than 60 nights in Australia.

Ansett offers See Australia fares that offer discounts of around 30% off economy fares. You have to fly a minimum of 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) to qualify, and fly to Australia on a promotional fare. Contact travel agents or Ansett at (800) 626-7388.

Australia Airlines also has an Go Australia pass it is continuing in 1988. You can fly a maximum of 6,000 kilometers (3,720 miles) with five stopovers for about $430.

At a tab of about $685 you can fly 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles) and get eight stopovers.

The pass is valid for 60 days, and can be bought in the United States through travel agents or in Australia. Again, you have to fly to Australia on a promotional fare.

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