[dropcap]P[/dropcap] People travel by air for various reasons. Some people have to travel this way for work, others choose to travel this way as part of their vacation. Whatever their reason for traveling by air, one thing is for certain: it’s not cheap. However, if you happen to be an active duty, retired, or veteran military member, there may be certain discounts available to you that will [highlight color="green"] make your traveling a whole lot cheaper.[/highlight]
The following is a list of some of the airlines out there offering military airfare discounts to help you get to where you’re going for less:
- Delta: Founded way back in 1924, Delta Air Lines is America’s oldest airline still in operation today. It’s also one of America’s largest airlines, operating more than 5,000 flights every single day. Even so, it still has time to honor and serve those that protect us. For any active member of the U.S. military, Delta offers discounts on airfare for both personal and military travel. These discounts are not available to civilians and, therefore, can only be booked by calling the Delta Military and Government Desk. Military members can also save up to $300 on their next Delta vacation.
- United Airlines: Another of America’s major airlines is United as it’s often referred to. This airline was founded in 1926 and is now a part of the world’s largest airline alliance, Star Alliance. With its headquarters based in Chicago, Illinois the company now employs more than 85,000 people across its operations. For all Veterans Advantage members, United offers up to a 5% discount on selected United and United Express flights that have been bought through the airline’s website. To become a Veteran Advantage member, you must be either on active duty, a veteran, a National Guard and Reserve member, or a qualifying family member of one.
- Southwest Airlines: This airline was founded in 1967 and is now the world’s largest budget carrier. Originally just operating as an interstate airline operating within Texas, Southwest Airlines now operates flights in ten additional countries including Mexico, Cuba, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic. Although there’s no set amount that you’ll save with Southwest Airlines, the company does offer regular and significant military discounts. They can, however, only be booked over the phone and may not always be the cheapest option out there. But, at least it’s an option.
- JetBlue Airlines: Founded in 1998, this is one of America’s newer, low-cost carriers. Even though it’s still relatively new, JetBlue has come a long way over the past 20 years. Already it’s become the sixth largest United States airline employing more than 20,000 employees across the business. The company’s headquarters are located in Long Island City, New York while its main base is situated within John F. Kennedy International Airport. At JetBlue Airlines they offer military service people special fares. These don’t just apply to Veteran Advantage members either. Any active duty military personnel or qualifying family member will receive a 5% discount off all JetBlue flights.
- American Airlines: In many ways, including fleet size and revenue, American Airlines is the world’s largest airline. Founded in 1926, it now operates in more than 50 different countries worldwide. It also employs more than 110,000 staff and operates on average around 6,500 flights daily. As a way of honoring our country's service men and women, American Airlines offers all active duty military members discounted airfare on selected flights on certain dates. Other benefits for active duty military include half-price pet shipping, access to the Admiral Lounge (provided you’re in uniform), and up to three complimentary bags at check-in.
- Alaska Airlines: Another of America’s largest airlines, Alaska Airlines was founded as McGee Airways back in 1932. With its headquarters based in Seattle, Washington the airline now flies to more than 100 different destinations within the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Costa Rica. While that may not sound as many as some others, the airline can still boast that it has over 300 planes in its fleet and employs more than 11,000 staff. While Alaska Airlines don’t offer any discount on the actual airfare itself, they do allow a certain number of free checked bags for active duty.
- Virgin Atlantic: A relatively new kid on the block when it comes to airlines, Virgin Atlantic has done well to get where it is today. Founded in 1984 by Richard Branson, the airline now operates in more than 33 different destinations. The discounted airfares on offer at Virgin Atlantic are available to both active and retired members of the armed forces as well as MOD civil servants and their dependents.
- Frontier Airlines: Founded back in 1994, Frontier Airlines is also relatively new on the scene. However, don’t let that fool you as it’s already one of the top 10 largest commercial airlines in the United States. It operates in more than 70 locations in the United States and five abroad. While Frontier Airlines may not be quite as big as the likes of American Airlines or Delta, it's big enough to set aside a budget to allow our nation's active duty military personnel discounted airfare. Because plans change so quickly in the military, Frontier also offers a full refund policy for these special fares.
These are just some of the main airlines that offer military discounts on airfare and air travel related services. There are probably many others out there too. If you or any active/retired/veteran member of the military, are traveling soon and your chosen airline doesn’t appear on the list, just give them a call and see if there is any kind of discount available. The worst they can do is say no. More and more companies are starting to recognize the importance of supporting our troops (past and present), and rightly so. A discount or a freebie is just a small token of appreciation that can go a very long way.