Update: As of December 11, 2019, Senior fares are no longer available for purchase. Full details can be found here.
Remember the perks that came with being a senior in high school? Well, when you reach your senior year in the school of life, other perks kick in too. Like Southwest Airlines Senior Fares.
Even if you don’t qualify, certainly someone you know wonders about senior rates with every purchase they make. They aren’t advertised with fare sales, but Southwest Senior Fares offer discounted rates for passengers who are 65 or older.
What Is A Southwest Senior Fare and Why Should I Care?
Here’s the gist of it. Senior Fares on Southwest are discounted Anytime fares for those that are 65+. The Southwest Senior Fare is, in most cases, the best price for a refundable fare. The Wanna Get Away fare will likely be lower, if it’s still available. However, if the ability to refund is important, then a Senior Fare would be a good option.
How Do I Book Southwest Senior Fares?
Reservations for Southwest Airlines Senior Fare are now available online for both domestic and international flights. You can also make reservations by contacting a Southwest Airlines Customer Representative or a local travel agent.
Southwest Senior Fares only apply to those in the traveling party who are age 65 or over. Even if you’re traveling with a senior citizen, youngsters will have to pay full price.
Checking In On A Southwest Senior Fare
As with other Southwest fares, traveler’s using a Senior Fare can check in for their flight and receive their boarding pass online at Southwest.com. You can also check in at the Skycap podium in select locations, ticket counter, departure gate, or self-service kiosk at the airport.
If you are traveling on a Senior Fare and you are already age verified (more on this below), you can request your boarding pass at Southwest.com or at self-service kiosk.
What Does “Age Verified” Mean?
If you are traveling on a Senior Fare and you are not age verified, you must provide valid proof of age (driver’s license or other accepted identification) at the airport when exchanging your confirmation number for a boarding pass. Once Southwest confirms this, you will be able to use mobile boarding passes from thereon out.
You cannot check in online or at a self-service kiosk without being age verified first.
Keep in mind this is the same identification required to check a bag or clear security. In this case though, you’ll have to stop at airport check-in even if you’re not checking a bag in order to be verified.
Booking Southwest Senior Fares On International Travel
For international itineraries, Senior Fares cannot be combined with other types of fares in the same booking reservation. As an example, you cannot book one passenger on a standard Wanna Get Away Fare and another passenger on a Senior Fare in the same reservation. For international bookings, Senior Fares must be booked on a separate itinerary.
Because you need to have your passport verified, you can check in online for international flights and receive your assigned boarding position. However, you will not receive an actual boarding pass until you check in at the Southwest Airlines ticket counter or kiosk at the airport.
Side Note: Other Things To Consider
If you require a wheelchair, request one at curbside check in or at the main lobby ticket counter. If traveling with your own electrical wheelchair, you must notify Southwest at least 48 hours in advance.
Finally, if checking luggage, be sure to give your final destination rather than your connecting city to the Southwest agent handling your check in process. Make sure the city shown on your baggage claim ticket and luggage tag matches your final destination.
Southwest No Show Policy On Senior Fares (And Other Fares)
If you are not planning to travel on any portion of your Senior Fare itinerary, cancel your reservation at least 10 minutes prior to the scheduled departure of your flight. Even the cheapest Southwest tickets can be saved and reused for future travel.
Unlike just about any other airline, Southwest doesn’t charge customers who fail to cancel reservations for a Wanna Get Away fare segment at least 10 minutes prior to travel. Passengers who do not board the flight will be considered a no show, and your entire ticket will be forfeited.
All remaining unused Business Select, Anytime, and Senior Fare funds will be converted to reusable travel funds for the originally ticketed passenger only.
If you no show your Rapid Reward Points travel reservation, the points will be redeposited to the purchaser’s Rapid Rewards account. Any taxes and fees associated with your reward travel reservation will be held for future use in the form of reusable travel funds under the name of the traveler.
Value of Senior Fares vs. Rapid Rewards Points
Don’t forget about Southwest’s Rapid Reward Points for award flights when Senior Fares might not be available or a good value. Those who have a Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards credit card earn an additional two points for every dollar spent on Southwest flights.
A discounted fare such as the Senior Fare on Southwest Airlines can be a great perk if you’re looking for a fully refundable option. Understanding the ins and outs of how they work provides an even greater benefit.
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