While senior airfare discounts are not as common as they used to be, some airlines still offer travel deals exclusively for passengers of a certain age. A few airlines offer senior discount booklets with one-way tickets, while others offer a fixed percentage off the fare.
Here’s a list of what major airlines currently offer elderly passengers as incentives to fly:
American Airlines: Senior citizen fares are offered in some American, American Eagle and American Connection domestic markets for seniors ages 65 or older. Travelers should call American Airlines at 1-800-433-7300.
Delta: While Delta offers senior discounts on certain itineraries, the discounts aren’t available online, so travelers should call 1-800-221-1212 to check eligibility.
Delta Shuttle: Senior fares are offered for travelers ages 62 and above. Delta Shuttle operates 16 daily flights between New York and Boston, and 15 daily flights between New York and Washington D.C., from Monday through Friday. Call reservations at 800-221-1212 and tell the agent that you are interested in the senior fares, or check with an agent at any Delta ticket office.
Southwest Airlines: Discount fares are available to those 65 years or older. 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.
Continental: Senior fares are offered to certain destinations for passengers ages 65 and older. Ask when making reservations or, when booking online, select the seniors (age 65 and older) category. Call 1-800-523-3273 for more information.
Air France: Senior fares are reserved for passengers 60 years of age or older within metropolitan France. Proof of age must be shown, and the tickets are neither changeable nor refundable. The airline can be reached at 1-800-237-2747.
US Airways: Open to those ages 65 and older, senior fares are available online. Click on the Promos link on the US Airways home page to see if a discount applies to a particular flight. Only certain flights are eligible. For more information, call 1-800-428-4322.
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.
Some airlines don’t offer discounts on flights, but have partnership agreements offering senior discounts on hotels, rental cars, and attractions and events. Organizations like AARP have an active discount travel program that covers car rentals, hotels, tours and cruises, so check them out before booking.
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 airfares:
-Sign up for airline and travel newsletters and deal notification alerts.
-Be flexible with your dates. 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 nowadays are charging fees for everything, so think ahead by packing only a carry-on, dodging change fees and bringing your own snacks onboard.
One last thing to remember: While senior fares may sometimes cost more than the airline’s online-only specials, the difference is rarely more than a few dollars and there are advantages to booking as a senior. Senior fares may not be as restrictive as other fares and are usually refundable. If you are flexible about when you fly or you have missed out on the online special fares, senior fares may be your best option.
— reprinted with permission from Cheapflights.com