Some airlines offer a senior citizen flight discount to folks whose prime traveling years are in retirement. Airlines with senior discounts usually set the minimum age at 60 or 65 years of age, but you may qualify at a younger age with certain memberships.
Exclusive pricing and senior flight discounts are not new concepts, but they may be fading. Fewer senior airfare discounts exist than before the COVID-19 pandemic, as companies make efforts to recoup their losses. However, check out which airlines still offer senior discounts and how you might be able to get a cheaper flight.
Which Airlines Offer Senior Discounts?
You might be able to find cheap airfare for seniors from three of the most popular American-based airlines. Discount amounts vary by company and flight, and none of the airlines post which flights are eligible for these price reductions.
You can only use United Airlines senior discounts to go to select locations if you are at least 65 years of age. Simply choose the senior category on their website when booking to see if your flight qualifies for savings. United has flights to more than 210 domestic and 120 international destinations.
The American Airlines senior discount is only available for some international flights if you are at least 65 years of age. The airline flies to 81 cities in 48 countries, including:
- Bordering nations of Canada and Mexico.
- Caribbean islands, like the Bahamas, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and St. Lucia.
- European countries, like France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland.
- Central and South American areas, like Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Panama.
- Asian and South Asian destinations, like Australia, China, Japan, and New Zealand.
- Israel in the Middle East.
Delta is among other airlines with senior discounts, offering discounted flights for seniors to various destinations. However, you must call the airline to check eligibility. You can find Delta flights to 242 destinations in 52 countries on six continents.
You can book more cheap flights for seniors from foreign airlines if you need to travel within that country. For instance, Air France has senior fares for passengers at least 60 years of age, but only for flights within France.
Likewise, Indian-based airlines might offer discounts if you are at least 60 years of age and are flying within the country. Spicejet and IndiaGo give you a 6 percent discount just for meeting the age requirement. However, Air India gives you a 50 percent discount on the basic fare if you have Indian Nationality and permanently reside in the country.
The American company AARP partnered with British Airways to offer members up to $200 off certain flights to Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. If you are an AARP member, you can book reduced airfare for non-members you are flying with.
How to Find Popular Senior Airfare Discounts
AARP is a great place to start when looking for cheap airline tickets for seniors, especially through their partnered website with Expedia. The company also provides discounts for:
- Flights and vacation packages.
- Hotels and resorts.
- Car rentals.
- Train and rail tours.
An AARP membership can grant you exclusive discounts on airline tickets for seniors through other third-party bookers, like 12 percent off flights from ParkRideFlyUSA. Similarly, many travel companies provide AAA members with a discount regardless of age.
The Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC), American Seniors Association, and 60 Plus Association are other senior membership programs that offer discounts on flights and other travel arrangements.
Tips for Booking the Cheapest Flight
Even if you cannot find a senior discount for airline tickets for where you want to go, you may be able to score a cheap flight. Regularly priced flights from budget airlines are often less expensive than senior discounted tickets from other companies. For example, the American Airlines senior discount may knock off $50 from a $500 ticket, but a similar flight from JetBlue or Southwest could cost just $350 for a basic fare.
Senior flight discounts may not be the only deals you can find. Many airlines provide discounts for military members, veterans, and first responders, as well as members of groups like AAA and AARP.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when looking for a cheaper flight:
- Sign up for travel deals and newsletters from airlines.
- Keep your dates flexible. Traveling on Tuesday, for example, is usually less expensive than weekend flights.
- Check for last-minute deals.
- Book packages that include airfare, accommodations, and other travel needs.
- Review the extra charges.
Keep in mind that a flight may have a low base fee, but the airline may nickel and dime you for checked baggage, multiple bags, carry-on luggage, ticket changes, and food and beverages.