Travel - Spain: You're already paying pounds 15 for the Dome

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The Independent Culture
A SCANDAL? A brand-new tourist attraction will cost pounds 20 for adults and only a bit less for children. I refer, of course, to the new Legoland which opens today in the town of Carlsbad, California. Unlike the situation with our Millennium Dome, we know exactly what is in it: scale models of Mount Rushmore and Grand Central Station, plus a plastic zoo. Every exhibit is made out of some of the 200 billion pieces of Lego that have not been lost down the back of the sofa.

As for the Dome, whether pounds 20 a head represents good value remains to be seen. The organisers compare the cost of admission with Alton Towers, a mere 50p cheaper. But while the Staffordshire theme park is privately funded, each one of us is already paying pounds 15 towards the Dome. And the millennial attraction is unlikely to offer thrills on the scale of Oblivion or Nemesis, the top rides at Alton Towers.

Then there is the Dome's penny-pinching discount of only pounds 2 for pensioners; they must pay pounds 18, whereas Alton Towers charges pounds 10, with unlimited goes on Oblivion.

Air New Zealand has a better plan. As our story on page 19 reveals, yesterday the airline announced a sliding scale of discounts on its flights from Heathrow to Auckland: the older you are, the less you pay, with return fares as low as pounds 300 for those aged 80 or more.

When the airline last offered cheap tickets for older flyers, Los Angeles airport was unprepared for the arrival of a large number of passengers requiring assistance; operations at the international terminal almost ground to a halt. But if you get stuck there, you can always nip along to Legoland, where over-60s pay a reasonable pounds 16.