One of the perks of becoming a senior citizen is gaining access to a large number of senior discounts and low-cost travel. Travel companies, including airlines, hotels, and booking platforms, cater to seniors since retirees are known for traveling far and wide. Whether you’re looking to cross a few destinations off your retirement bucket list, there’s a deal out there waiting.
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With so many airlines today adding extra fees and changing their economy pricing, it’s no wonder so many seniors are looking for low-cost airline tickets. One airline that gets a lot of positive attention is Southwest. Southwest Airlines offers flights across the country, so they’re the first choice for many travelers.
However, let’s take a closer look at whether Southwest Airlines offer special senior fares.
Southwest Airlines’ Senior Fare Policy
Until late 2019, Southwest Airlines offered a discount for seniors. These fares are no longer available, unfortunately. That being said, there are still several benefits of flying Southwest Airlines that you won’t find with other travel providers. These extras often make a Southwest flight more affordable than other airlines, even those that do have senior fares.
What extras are available on Southwest? Every ticket comes with:
- Your first and second checked bags are free
- Reusable funds if you’re unable to use your ticket
- No change fees for last-minute flight changes
These are hard to find on other airlines, and the value of all of the above starts at $30 and could go up to several hundred dollars depending on whether you’re checking several bags or you need a flexible fare.
Though Southwest doesn’t have a senior fare, they do always have special offers and discounts. Their website shares the latest offers and special ticket prices, which change throughout the year.
Southwest is notorious for having big sales with ticket prices dropping by as much as 40% in many cases. Your best bet at getting a low-cost flight is to watch their offers page closely or sign up for updates.
6 Other Ways You Can Save on a Southwest Flight
As you can see, it’s easy to save on a Southwest flight. With a few key tips, you could end up saving much more on Southwest than a senior fare on another airline. Try these tips below to see how much you save.
1. Join the rewards program
The best way to start saving is to join the Southwest Rapid Rewards program. This is a free program that allows you to build and earn points every time you use Southwest.
Better yet, it’s not just for flying. There’s also the option to snag points by booking your hotel, car rental, or other travel activity through the Southwest platform.
2. Get a companion pass
One of the unique airline loyalty perks of choosing Southwest is the companion offer. If you have a Southwest credit card or you earn enough rewards points, you score a companion pass, which lets anyone else fly with you for free. This has a huge value, especially if you travel with a spouse, friend, or another family member.
3. Book a flexible ticket
We can’t always plan our travel as much as we’d like. While sometimes you have the luxury of checking places off your travel bucket list as you wish, sometimes our travel is unexpected. If you find yourself needing a last-minute ticket due to a family emergency, Southwest Airlines bereavement fares don’t exist.
That being said, a flexible fare ticket is usually the best option. These flexible tickets are known as “Anytime” fares. They’re refundable, changeable, and can be applied towards any future travel on Southwest. If you’re not sure when you’ll need to fly, this is a great way to ensure you don’t lose any money on fees.
4. Recheck your existing flight’s price
Because Southwest has so many flash sales, it’s worth checking in to make sure your flight hasn’t changed in cost. Southwest charges no fees for changing your flight, so you can book as early as possible without worrying about a better flash sale popping up.
If you subscribe to the Click ‘N Save email program, you’ll always get an alert when a flash sale is happening. These take place several times a year, so be on the lookout for better fares.
5. Buy early check-in
While most airlines charge you an arm and a leg for choosing your seat, Southwest is different. There is no assigned seating on Southwest. As you enter the plane, you’re free to choose any available seat.
If you’re picky about where you sit, a low-cost way to “beat the system” is to purchase EarlyBird Check-In. This costs between $15-25 for one-way tickets. With EarlyBird Check-in, you can check-in to your flight up to 36 hours before take-off. In addition, you’ll get an earlier boarding group allowing you more choice of seats.
6. Buy your flight on a Tuesday afternoon
This might sound crazy, but there’s a good reason to wait until Tuesday at 3:00 pm to buy your ticket. Tuesday is the day when Southwest announces their best deals through their promotional emails, and these deals only last a limited time. Most deals end by Thursday, and they’re only available while tickets last.
Because seats sell out quickly for popular destinations, check on Tuesday if you’re planning to book a trip. If you’ve just seen somewhere great to visit in one of the many retirement magazines, hold off on booking until Tuesday! You might snag a great deal.
Book Southwest Airlines with Confidence
While Southwest Airlines might not have a senior fare or a senior discount, there are still a lot of reasons to choose this airline over others. With more and more airlines raising prices and adding extra fees, Southwest is a stress-free option. It’s easy to find the deal you’re looking for with just a little bit of know-how and preparation. Who said travel had to be expensive? It’s time to book the trip you’ve been waiting for.
Booking your next flight with Southwest or another airline is one way to prepare for the future. Whether you’re visiting new places or family, this is the right time to start end-of-life planning. You could have your documents and decisions in order with just a few clicks.
- “Senior Travel.” Southwest. Southwest.com.