Disappearing Airline Discounts: What's Gone, What's Left?

American: This carrier says it "may" offer an unspecified senior discount, but only on certain domestic routes. Which are also unspecified.

Delta: Same as above but you must call to learn more, and again, there's the possibility of a phone fee.

Southwest: This carrier does offer senior fares but you may not want them. A recent round-trip ticket from Los Angeles to San Francisco for a senior priced out at $398 compared to just $217 for a regular fare. Okay, so the senior fare is totally refundable; only you can say if that's worth paying nearly twice the going rate.

United: Senior discounts are offered to "select" destinations only, but you may have to dig to find them.

US Airways: More hedging: the airline says travelers 65 or older "may be eligible" for senior fares. Or maybe not. They don't say how much these fares are, either.

Suppose you do luck into a discount, for seniors or for anything; it will likely save you only about 10 percent at most. Again, better than nothing certainly, but as with any airfare, compare prices carefully. You may find a regular adult fare that's a better deal than the discount.

Military Discounts

This is an area that's been growing but no surprise given the events (and wars) in the wake of 9/11. We are seeing a lot more specialty discounting on everything from baggage charges to pet transport fees and even a smattering of discounted military airfares. A few examples:

AirTran: Military personnel with ID (and recruits with orders) will be exempt from excess, oversized or overweight baggage charges and this is big since such charges are steep.

American: The airline offers discounted fares for military and also allows them (and their dependents) to stand-by for flights for free.

JetBlue: A variety of perks including discounted or waived fees but you must call the airline to learn more.

Southwest: Military passengers traveling on active duty or permanent change-of-station orders are exempt from the two-piece baggage limit and will not be subject to excess, oversize, or overweight baggage charges.

United: The carrier offers "military leisure fares" for personnel and eligible family members traveling on leave. The airline also discounted pet transport fees from Japan where so many U.S. military are based; when the airline switched to a pet transport vendor for non-cabin animals last year, the initial sky-high fees (thousands of dollars) brought howls of protests. These were quickly lowered, but for military only.

The opinions represented in this column belong to the author and do not reflect the views of ABC News.

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