If you are in the military, you are probably aware that most airlines offer some type of military discount. But what you might not know is exactly how much you save, where to find the discounts, and so forth. Here are some helpful tips:
- Military discounts on airfares are usually discounts based on full fares only. This means that you can often get an even lower fare simply by searching out the cheapest airline tickets on FareCompare.
- Members of the U.S. Military booking military discounts on plane tickets will need their military identification information to do so.
- These rates are not always found online, so if you are seeking a military discount on airfare, it is best to call the airline and ask.
Getting Military Fare Discounts, Airline by Airline
- American Airlines and American Eagle offer military discounts on selected flights. Members of the military also are entitled to relaxed advanced purchasing requirements and preferred boarding. Service members returning from Afghanistan or Iraq may visit American Airlines Admiral’s Club lounges in airports.
- Continental Airlines: Active duty and retired military members are eligible to enroll in Continental’s Veterans Advantage program for 5 percent discounts on tickets purchased through the Continental website.
- Delta Airlines military fares must be booked in person or by phone. Active duty military members traveling on orders may check up to 10 bags on Delta flights and up to four bags on Delta Connection flights for free. Dependents and family members are eligible for discounts. Those in WorldPerks or SkyMiles programs are flown to visit wounded military relatives at military hospitals as part of the Delta Cares program
- Southwest Airlines has fares for military personnel and dependents. They are not available online, however. These tickets must be booked by phone or in person.
- United Airlines: Members of the military and dependents are eligible for reduced domestic fares on all days with no advance purchase requirements. Seats are limited, however.
- U.S. Airways: Military personnel on officially excused absences and discharged members within seven days of separation from service are eligible for discounted fares. Military dependents are also eligible for reduced fares.
Military Installations and the Nearby Airports With Cheap Fares
Below is a table showing 10 of the largest military installations in the U.S., as well as the nearest airport, and example roundtrip fares from New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. (Example fares were obtained through FareCompare for departures on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 returning Tuesday, September 20, 2011.)
|Military Installation||Airport||Typical Low Roundtrip Fare from NYC||Typical Low Roundtrip Fare from Chicago||Typical Low Roundtrip Fare from L.A.|
|Fort Hood, TX||Austin-Bergstrom Int’l Airport||American $285 (LaGuardia)||American $257||Frontier $258|
|Norfolk Naval Station, VA||Norfolk Int’l Airport||American $139 (JFK)||United $323||Continental $359|
|Fort Bragg, NC||Raleigh-Durham Int’l Airport||American $169 (LaGuardia)||American $261||AirTran $338|
|Camp Lejeune, NC||Wilmington, NC Int’l Airport||Delta $251 (JFK)||American $261||Delta $339|
|Fort Campbell, KY||Nashville Int’l Airport||United $276 (Newark)||American $138||American $329|
|Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA||Sea-Tac Airport||JetBlue $379 (JFK)||American $279||Alaska Airlines $219|
|Eglin Air Force Base, FL||Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional Airport||Delta $302 (LaGuardia)||AirTran $246||Delta $358|
|Naval Air Station, FL||Jacksonville Int’l Airport||JetBlue $239 (JFK)||AirTran $264||Delta $358|
|Joint Base Charleston, SC||Charleston Int’l Airport||Delta $159 (La Guardia)||United $317||United $387|
|Fort Benning, GA||Columbus Airport||Delta $491 (La Guardia)||American $319||Delta $300|