How to find senior airfare discounts

How and where senior travelers can save

While senior airfare discounts are not as common as they used to be, some airlines still offer them. The most common is for 10 percent off of the full fare price of a flight, with the age eligibility ranging from 50-65. A note of caution, however: While 10 percent off may sound great at first, the savings may be skewed by ever-rising flight prices. Still, it’s worthwhile to start by checking for the senior price.

Here are the airlines we’ve found that are still offering senior fares:

  • Air France: Senior fares are reserved for passengers 60 years of age or older, but only within France. Proof of age must be shown, and these tickets may be changed at no charge or refunded in certain conditions. The airline can be reached at 1-800-237-2747.
  • American Airlines: Senior citizen fares are offered for some domestic flights for seniors age 65 or older. Travelers should call American Airlines at 1-800-433-7300.
  • British Airways: British Airways partners with the AARP, offering up to $400 off certain flights for AARP members through Oct. 31, 2015.
  • Delta: Delta offers senior discounts on certain itineraries, but they aren’t available online, so travelers should call 1-800-221-1212 to check eligibility.
  • Southwest Airlines: Discount fares are available to those age 65 or older and must be booked over the phone. For details on fares and limitations, call 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792). As an additional benefit, senior fares are also fully refundable on Southwest.
  • United Airlines: United offers senior citizen discounts in certain markets. Contact United’s reservations department at 1-800-241-6522 to find out if a senior discount is applicable for a particular flight.

Many of the airlines’ regular discount fares are cheaper than senior fares. If you’re not able to find a senior discount, there are still ways to find low-cost airfare:

  • Sign up for airline and travel newsletters and deal alerts.
  • Be flexible with your dates. For example, the savings can often be significant if you’re willing to depart on a Tuesday morning rather than a Friday evening.
  • Be aware of fees. Airlines now tend to charge fees for things like checked baggage, food and more, so think ahead by packing only a carry-on, dodging change fees and bringing your own snacks on board.
  • One last thing to remember: While senior travel fares may sometimes cost more than the airline’s online-only specials, there can be advantages to booking these discounted tickets. Senior fares may not be as restrictive as other tickets, and can sometimes be used to snag last-minute travel deals. They are often refundable, too, if you have to cancel your flight.
  • Always check the details and restrictions when buying a flight; if you can’t find the fine print on the website, call the airline.

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