The major U.S. airlines are struggling to stay afloat; personnel, routes, and frequencies are still being cut. At the same time, the “budget” carriers are expanding and multiplying. Although they do not offer any senior flight discounts, we’ve included these new no-frill airlines because their rates are so reasonable. Take a look at the best senior airline discounts below.
With many one-way fares under $100, it is wise to compare their costs vs. the majors if they fly anywhere near where you are going. Book air travel early, before the lower-priced seats, are gone, and always ask if any special senior fares are available.
Rates listed here typically do not include airport taxes and fees.
SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE
Read our Tips for Senior Air Travel Discounts
Best Senior Flight Discounts: Airlines Promoting Senior Fares
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Southwest Senior Fares
Offers senior discounts on flights to passengers 65+ that vary from city to city. Southwest Senior Fare tickets are fully refundable and changeable. The airline promises that long-haul fares for travelers 65+ will not rise above $129. Fares are subject to change until ticketed. Southwest’s popular Friends Fly Free program, once frequent and well-promoted, is almost dormant.
This year it has been activated only once, for an Orlando promotion. 800-435-9792. Keep an eye on Southwest’s website for best available fares: www.southwest.com
For more information on Southwest Senior Fare reservations, please read their Southwest Seniors Customer Service page.
United Airlines Senior Fares
Offers senior discounts off published fares to travelers 65+ in some limited markets.
All travel to and from the following countries are discounted up to 25% off for senior citizens.
Lower, Internet-only fares may be found on the website www.united.com but they must be booked and paid for on the Internet. Call 800-241-6522. SilverPack Coupons for fliers 62+ are no longer available.
Silver Wings Plus Travel Club for travelers 55+ costs $75 for two years, $225 for a lifetime membership. Members receive a bimonthly club newsletter and a constant flow of promotions, travel packages, hotel and cruise deals, and rental car discounts. Members are eligible to buy USA Collection Privilege Certificates, four in a pack for only $25, which then provide domestic zone-based discount fares.
The International Zone Certificates offer a similar deal in three zones: Pacific, Europe, and Latin America. Some blackout days apply. To join Silver Wings, call the special United number: 800-720-1765. Fare updates and membership benefits are posted on the club website: www.silverwingsplus.com
Airlines that have given senior citizen flight discounts (Just don’t count on it!)
Air Canada Senior Discount
Gives 10% discounts off published rates to fliers 60+ and a companion of any age on cross-Canada (except seat sale fares) and international routes including Mexico, South America, Caribbean and the U.K. No discount coupons. 888-247-2262. Check website for fares lower than senior discount: www.aircanada.ca
Alaska Airlines Senior Discount
Senior Published Fares provide 10% discounts to passengers 62+ and a companion of any age on most routes. Special senior promotional fares are frequently posted for passengers 65+ on varying routes. These do not cover a companion, are non-refundable but may be changed for a $50 fee. Call 800-426-0333. Website: www.alaskaair.com.
Alaska Airlines is expanding rapidly, adding more cross-country service to East Coast cities during 2002. Non-stops to and from Seattle now include Boston, Newark, Washington, DC (Reagan National and Dulles), Miami and Orlando. Starting July 10, 2003, are flying LAX-Guadalajara.
The carrier also offers vacation packages including hotel and transfers, primarily to their Mexico and Alaska destinations. Call the vacation line 800-468-2248 for details.
(acquired by American Airlines)
Passengers 62+ and younger companions get 10% discounts off the lowest fares in certain markets. Senior Saver Pack four-coupon books for travelers 62+ cost $750. Each coupon is good for a one-way flight between any of 100+ America West and America West Express cities in the contiguous 48 states – a round trip is $375. (Some blackout dates may apply.) Grandchildren 2-11 may use your coupons to travel with you. Senior Saver Pack may also include coupons for bonus frequent flier miles, discounts on America West Vacations and car rentals. Always ask about Published Fares for 65+ passengers, offered intermittently between selected cities. Call 800-235-9292. The website may offer special discount deals: www.americawest.com (Sign up here for “Surf Go” e-mail alerts.) On June 1, 2003, America West launched service to the Caribbean resort city of Cancun. Current lowest available round-trip fare is $378 from Phoenix, but America West Vacations is offering three-night packages to Cancun in June, available on Mon-Tues departures, for only $490 per person with accommodations at the Barcelo Club Las Perlas and free breakfast. From Salt Lake City, during June and July 2003, a three-night package at the Cancun Marina club is $519. Again, this is only on Mon-Tues departures.