Air India is known for its low-cost flights to more than 30 destinations in India, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. You can pop some dates in its low-fare calendar and book a trip. If you live in India or are traveling there, a senior discount could make a big difference in the cost of your journey.
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Know that you don’t qualify for senior fares? There are still other great ways to save with Air India.
Air India’s Senior Fare Policy
Compared to discounts at most Western airlines, the senior discount is huge. You can save 50% off basic fare if you fly economy. Of course, there are other restrictions.
To qualify, you need to be a “senior citizen of Indian nationality,” according to Air India’s website. In other words, you must be a permanent resident of India. You must also be 60 years old or older.
To prove all this, you’ll need a photo ID. There are two main requirements: it needs to be valid, and it needs to include your date of birth. Some examples include a passport, a driver’s license, voter identification, or a special senior card issued by Air India.
There are other limitations. For instance, you can only travel within the country of India. If you’re going outside the country, the discount won’t apply. Advance purchases are important, too. You can buy up to one year before you want to travel. But you can also purchase up to a week before you leave, and it will still fit the guidelines.
What if you’re not confident about the dates? You can still schedule using your senior discount, even if you think you might have to make changes. There’s a fee associated with changing details, though.
You can get this reduced fare if you fly on Air India for Alliance Air codeshare flights. The reduced senior fare won’t apply to you if you’re flying on regional connectivity Alliance Air or on Air India Express domestic flights.
If you’re bringing a small child with you, you can get a reduced fare on one infant. For Air India, an infant counts as a child under two years old. If you bring more than one infant, that discount doesn’t apply to you.
What about mobility assistance? You may be concerned about your ability to get on the plane. If you’re still determined to cross a particular flight off your retirement bucket list, no worries! Air India is very accommodating.
Air India prefers to be contacted 48 hours in advance if you need mobility assistance. That way, the airline is prepared to help out.
Even if you can’t contact Air India in advance, Air India employees can still assist you. They also keep a wheelchair on board to help you get to the door of the restroom. It’s worth noting that company policy forbids employees from helping you once you’re actually in the restroom.
If you need an assistive device to help you tackle your travel bucket list, contact Air India in advance. The airline suggests that you arrive early — even before recommended check-in — to avoid problems with stowing and handling any assistive devices.
3 Other Ways You Can Save on an Air India Flight
The senior discount may not be quite enough to relieve the strain on your wallet. If that’s the situation you’re in, what else can you do?
Can you be flexible with your plans? Putting up with a few extra layovers might be worth it. In most cases, nonstop flights are always more expensive. If you don’t mind flying at less convenient times or spending a few hours in a strange airport, this could pay off big-time.
You already have to fly economy in order to get that senior discount. But if you fly at odd times and stretch out your flight, you might be able to save money.
Air India also offers discounts, also called concessions. Check ahead and see what Air India offers. For instance, Air India doesn’t offer bereavement flights.
Let’s say you’re over 60 years old and blind in both eyes. According to the Air India site, you’d be entitled to a 50% discount for each individual situation. But you won’t likely get a free flight by combining both discounts. Call Air India’s customer support team and see what you can work out.
To get the best discounts, it’s smart to plan ahead. There will always be situations that you never could have anticipated. But if you’re trying to travel for something pressing, like a memorial service, there’s still hope. Don’t buy a flight right away. Wait until you hear final details on the service, the location, and when it’s taking place.
As some people get older and start end-of-life planning, they choose to have delayed services. If they were cremated, for instance, they might choose a date months out from their date of death and you may have more time to implement your senior discount.
- Air India. “Senior Citizen Concession.” n.d., www.airindia.in/senior-citizen-concession.htm
- Air India. “Traveling with Special Needs.” n.d., www.airindia.in/travel-with-special-needs-the-usa.htm