In this age of online booking, is there still a way for seniors to find cheap airline tickets?
Many websites claim to offer the lowest possible airfares, and, in fact, most do. With airfare information readily available, it is easy to find and display cheap airfares. The sites that go above and beyond not only offer low airfares but also add travel tools, information and special deals that can help seniors save money.
Metasearch engine Kayak compares data from hundreds of travel websites. In addition to airline tickets, you can also find hotels, travel packages and rental cars. To find the cheapest airline tickets, you can enter your travel details, click on “Find Flights,” and scroll down the list of options.
Look for Kayak’s “hacker fare,” which combines low-cost one-way trips from various airlines. If your travel dates are flexible, take advantage of Kayak’s +/- 3 days matrix. This matrix shows you the lowest possible airfare for your trip, based on departure and return dates.
Travelzoo lists an enormous variety of travel deals, including cheap airline tickets, cruises, hotels, rental cars and vacation packages. You can have Travelzoo email deals to you or search for them yourself. Travelzoo offers a handy airfare SuperSearch feature, which allows you to compare airfares at various travel and airline websites.
Airfarewatchdog uses a team of airfare analysts to hunt down and share low fares. Unlike many other websites, Airfarewatchdog lists fares from Allegiant Air and Southwest Airlines, giving you access to more airfares. To search for cheap airline tickets, you can sign up for a Fare Alert or look for airfares yourself.
Airfarewatchdog also offers specialized searches; “Anywhere That’s Cheap” is self-explanatory, and “Meet Me in St. Louis” is useful for planning group travel to a specific destination. If you have specific air travel questions, the Travel Q&A section of the Airfarewatchdog website is packed with useful travel information.
CheapOair offers airfare, hotel and rental car comparisons and bookings as well as a wide array of cruises and tours. CheapOair’s Best Price Guarantee promises a full refund or a refund of the difference in airfares if, within 24 hours of booking, you find a lower fare on a “reputable U. S. travel website.” On select flights, CheapOair offers travel discounts of $10 or more per airline ticket. While you can search for senior fares on CheapOair, those airfares may not be your least expensive option.
Unlike many U. S. carriers, Southwest Airlines allows travelers ages 65 and over to book senior fares online. You will need to provide a birth certificate, driver’s license or other acceptable, government-issued proof of age when you check in for your flight. Southwest’s senior fares are sometimes higher than their bargain-basement “Wanna Get Away” fares, but, unlike “Wanna Get Away” fares, senior fares are completely refundable.
When looking for cheap airline tickets, remember that many airlines do not provide senior discount information on their websites. You will need to call the airline you’d like to use to find out whether a senior discount is offered and whether that discount is the best deal for you. Go to the airline’s website and look under “Contact Us” or “Need Help?” to find the telephone number. T
Tip: Some airlines, particularly no-frills carriers such as Frontier Airlines, offer lower fares or fewer fees to passengers who book on their website instead of through a travel agent or online travel agency. It’s always worth your time to check the airline’s website to see if you can find a better deal.
Have you found a great deal on airline tickets? How did you find this airfare? Please let us know in the comments.
Watch my interview with travel expert Nancy Parode for more senior travel tips.