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Senior airfares: Who has them and are they worth it?

by SmarterTravel Staff
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on May 13, 2002. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: airfare, Alaska, America West, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian Airlines, Midwest Airlines, senior travel, Southwest.

In recent years, many U.S. airlines have cut senior discount programs. However, some carriers have retained their senior deals, usually offering ten percent off standard fares. Certain carriers may also allow you to bring along one companion of any age at the same fare.

While senior fares can offer savings in certain situations, they are not always the lowest fares available. In many cases, you can find cheaper sale fares if you book early. Because of the rules that apply to senior fares, these tickets tend to be most useful for last-minute or long-term travel.

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Most senior fares are not available online, so you will need to call to book. The airlines' lowest any-age fares are usually available for purchase online, so be sure to check before calling to get a quote on the senior price. You can use SmarterTravel's price-comparison tool to compare airfare on multiple websites.

Current senior air discounts from U.S. carriers include:

Airline Minimum age Discount Phone number
Alaska Airlines 62 10% 800-252-7522
America West 62 10% 800-235-9292
Hawaiian Airlines 60 10% 800-367-5320
Midwest 55 See below 800-452-2022
Southwest 65 See below 800-435-9792

Instead of providing a percentage discount, Southwest and Midwest offer special published fares available only by phone.

If you do decide to purchase a senior fare, ask about age requirements and other restrictions before booking. When checking in, the airline agent may ask to see a photo ID to verify your age.

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