Know Before You Buy and Fly!April 22, 2022
By Caron Blitz
Are you overwhelmed at the thought of purchasing an airline ticket after being grounded during the pandemic? Have no fear! Here are some tips to help ease the process.
- If possible, book your plane ticket months ahead since ticket prices often go up the closer to the date of the flight
- Search websites that will send you alerts when fares drop. You can set up alerts on Google Flights. Choose the number of stops, cabin class, and how many tickets you need. Choose your departure airport and destination. To track prices for this route, turn on Track prices. Other sites include Kayak.com and AirfareWatchdog.com.
- Fly in off-peak times and days when prices are lower, typically Tuesday or Wednesday
Did you know that if you are 75 years of age or older, most airlines offer expedited screening during the security checkpoint? This means you may not be required to remove your shoes or jackets. A common misconception is that older Americans automatically are enrolled in TSA PreCheck. False!
More frequent travelers purchase TSA PreCheck for the convenience of faster lines. The cost is $85 for five years. The best way to get TSA PreCheck for free is by carrying an eligible credit card which reimburses you for the application fee if you use that card to pay upfront.
Examples of credit cards that will reimburse the TSA PreCheck fee:
• Capital One® Venture X® Card
• Certain American Express® Credit Cards
• Citi Prestige® Card
• Marriott Bonvoy™
• MasterCard® Gold Card™
• UnitedSM Explorer Card
If you are considering international travel, it may be worth enrolling in Global Entry for expedited U.S. customs screening.
Global Entry costs $100 for a five-year membership. But there are ways to cover the cost of the application fee through your credit cards or rewards programs as described above.
Some airlines claim to offer senior fares to selected travel destinations for customers who are 65 and older. Call for details on these fares when you make your reservation.
Get Advice for Your Specific Plans
To help put your mind at ease after you finalize your travel plans, Amy Noren, a Northfield-based travel advisor, recommends purchasing travel insurance. “For starters, look for plans that offer cancel anytime options and medical coverage,” she says. “Ask your travel agent to suggest the plan best for you based on your budget, travel destination, and length of stay.” For more travel advice, contact Amy at 847.897.7009.
As a 60+ Savvy Shopper living in Riverwoods, Caron Blitz gets what folks our age looks for in products and is always on the look-out for “fun finds” and the best values. For future columns, she’d love to hear what you, The Shopper, would like us to feature. If you are a retailer, let us know what special products and services you offer for older adults. Email: SavvyShopperColumn@gmail.com