Your working years are behind you, the kids are all grown up, and now — finally! — you get to just focus on you. Life begins at 55, right? Or 60, or 65. However you define ‘senior’, one thing’s for sure: it’s the best time to travel. And that’s not only because you can finally book all those dream trips without any guilt. It might also be much cheaper to go traveling now. Why? A nifty little perk: senior flight discounts.
Do any airlines give senior discounts on flights?
Yes, some do. This would be a really short article if the answer was no! True, not all airlines offer this perk. But a handful of major carriers have some decent deals especially aimed at you. Nice!
The catch? Well, there’s more than one. Some airlines limit which flight routes offer senior discounts. Others have quite complicated rules about exactly who can claim their senior fares. And some change their offers from year to year.
The result? Researching senior discounts on flights can be a lot of work. That’s where we come in. Below, you’ll find our complete guide to senior discounts on flights so you can just relax.
But… senior discounts might not always be the best deal
Well, before we get into which airlines do offer senior discounts, it’s well worth pointing this out.
Because there are lots of flight sales and deals floating around these days, it’s possible that a senior discount doesn’t represent the very best price for your flight.
For example: imagine the senior discount offered is 5% off the ticket price. But the airline is also offering a 25% discount on a limited number of seats for that flight. It’d be much better to buy a seat in the flight sale than it would be to claim your senior discount, right?
So, what are some other ways to find a low-cost fare that might be even better than a senior flight discount? We’ve put together some tips at the end of this article, so keep reading if you want a better idea of all the options.
Which airlines offer senior discounts on flights?
This is a list of airlines that either publish their senior discount policies on their websites, or responded to our request for information.
All the details here were accurate at the time of writing, but please note things can change — so we’d advise giving the airline a call well ahead of time to check that these discounts are still offered, and what you need to do to claim them.
American Airlines Senior Discounts
American Airlines offers senior discounts in a handful of Latin American markets only — and some of the rules are a bit complicated.
- For travel originating in Ecuador, passengers aged 65 and over can claim 50% off the adult fare.
- For travel originating in Honduras, passengers aged 60 and over can claim 25% off the adult fare — but there are a few catches. It only applies if you’re a Honduran citizen, OR if you’ve clocked up more than 10 years of legal residency in Honduras. OR if you’re retired or pensioned due to incapacitation — in which case, it doesn’t matter how old you are.
- For travel originating in Panama, men aged 60 and over, and women aged 55 and over, can claim 25% off the adult fare. (Note you must be the qualifying age at the time of purchase). Also applies to retired residents of Panama who have a Retirement Card issued by the Panamanian government.
For all of the above, the discount applies to flights to any city served by American Airlines — anywhere in the world.
But! The discount may not be used in addition to any other discount, coupon or promotional offer. And passengers must show proof of their age either at the time of purchase or boarding.
British Airways Senior Discounts
British Airways regularly offers exclusive deals for AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) members.
Currently, AARP members are offered the following senior discounts on flights:
- AARP members save $65 off round-trip fares in economy (World Traveler) class, including some codeshare services.
- AARP members save $200 off round-trip fares in business (Club World) class, including some codeshare services.
- The discount is only valid for outbound travel between now and December 31, 2020.
- The discount is only offered to US residents paying in US dollars, with travel originating in the US.
- The discount only applies to destinations served by British Airways or partner carriers American Airlines, Finnair and Iberia.
- Important: tickets must be booked by January 31, 2020, and only through this dedicated link.
- All standard rules apply, including change fees, cancellation rules, etc.
- The discount is subject to availability.
Currently, AARP members are also offered the following senior discounts on vacation packages (flight + hotel):
- $60 off when you spend $1,200-$1,499 per person
- $100 off when you spend $1,500-$2,099 per person
- $200 off when you spend $2,100 and above per person
- Packages can be booked online or through the British Airways call center. Be warned that bookings made through the call center are charged an extra $25 per ticket for processing.
- The offer is only valid for online bookings made before June 4, 2019.
- The offer is only valid for travel until December 31, 2019.
- The offer is not valid for single travelers.
- Change and cancellation fees, etc., apply.
Find instructions for booking online at this link.
Delta Air Lines Senior Discounts
Delta only offers senior discounts on flights to Panama. The amount and availability of the discount is subject to change, and can’t be booked online. To find out if you qualify, call the reservations line on 1-800-241-4141.
Southwest Senior Discounts
Southwest offers senior discounts to travelers aged 65 and over. These discounts can be found when booking online or by calling the reservations number, and apply to both domestic and international travel. Another huge bonus: Southwest senior fares are refundable.
Of course, you will need to provide proof of age if you’re going to travel on a senior fare ticket.
United Senior Discounts
United offers senior discounts to select destinations for passengers aged 65 and over. You can ask for more details on senior fares when booking over the phone, or select the ‘seniors (65 and over)’ category when you’re booking at united.com.
How else do I find really cheap flights?
Want to find out if you can get a better deal than your senior discount? Here are some really easy ways to do just that:
- Be flexible about when you fly. Taking off midweek instead of at the weekend can save you hundreds of dollars.
- Be savvy about when you search for deals. We’ve found that booking on a Tuesday can be way cheaper than booking on a Thursday. For more insights into the cheapest times to book and fly, check out our handy guide here.
- We recommend doing a flight search on Skyscanner first, so you can compare your senior discount with all the other deals out there. We always show the best prices at the time of your search, so you’ll be seeing the very cheapest fares available.
- Flight prices change frequently: the same seat might cost $150 one week, and $350 the next. We can help you track these changes on your specific route, so that you know the best time to book — and we do this for free. Why? We’re just nice! Learn more about it here.
- Watch out for add-on fees, like baggage and food. You can save a lot of money by taking carry-on luggage only (even better, some airlines don’t charge for carry-on), and by taking your own snacks/lunch/dinner.
- Sign up for airline newsletters, which are often the first place to announce special prices or sales. You can sign up for our newsletter, too, where we round up the best prices we’ve seen that week.
- Even when you think you’ve found a great discount — check the fine print! You’ll always be thankful you did.