7 U.S. Airlines With Military Discounts: Rates & Rules Detailed

Military members and their dependents make many sacrifices to serve their country. As a token of gratitude, several major airlines offer perks ranging from discounted flight prices to free checked baggage for military personnel. Military members are also often able to get free seats on space-available flights. Below, we outline the airline perks available to military members and their dependents, as well as additional military travel deals offered by aggregate sites like Expedia.

Note that the offers listed below apply solely to active-duty U.S. service members and their dependents (where applicable). These offers do not apply to members of the Reserve and National Guard, military veterans, and civilian personnel unless specifically noted.

What We Recommend

For a reputable airline that offers not only discounted military rates but a wide variety of other perks like pet shipping, free checked baggage, and lounge access for military members, consider booking a flight with American Airlines. It has refundable ticket options, no blackout periods, and dependents are eligible for discounted military rates as well.

Another option with comparable military discounts and perks is United Airlines; however, this airline does not offer refundable tickets or free cancellations. If you prefer to compare rates and book flights with an aggregate travel site instead of going through a specific airline, consider signing up for the Expedia+ Gold membership, which is free for military members and offers access to exclusive promotions and upgrades.

Comparison Table

You can use the table below for a quick policy comparison, then click any airline or scroll for more details.

Airline Policy Requirements Dependents Eligible? Refundable? Free Cancellation? Additional Perks
American Airlines Military rates in some markets Active-duty military Yes Yes Yes Free checked baggage, pet shipping, and club access
United Airlines Discounted rates for certain routes Active-duty military Yes No No Free checked baggage, pet shipping, and club access
Delta Airlines Discounted rates for certain routes Active-duty military Yes Yes Varies Free checked baggage & pet shipping
JetBlue Military Leisure Fare; varies by route Active-duty military Yes No Yes Free checked baggage & USO Airport Center access
Southwest Airlines Discounted rates for certain routes Active-duty military Yes Yes, on some fares Yes None
Alaska Airlines Discounted rates for certain routes Active-duty military on official orders Yes, on official orders Yes, for official order change Yes, for official order change Free checked baggage & pet shipping
GSA City Pair Airfare Average of 74% of commercial fares Active-duty military on official orders No Yes Yes One-way route pricing and more nonstop servie

The List

The following airlines offer discounted airfare rates for military members, and many also offer other perks like free checked baggage. We researched company websites and contacted customer service representatives to get this information. We’ve ordered the list starting with the most reputable, widest available, and best overall options.

1. American Airlines

  • Policy: American Airlines offers military fares in some markets for some dates.[1]
  • Requirements: Active-duty military[2]
  • Are dependents eligible? Yes, with valid military ID, per customer service[2]
  • Advance purchase required: At least seven to 14 days is recommended[2]
  • Refundable tickets: Yes[3]
  • Charge for cancellations or changes: No[3]
  • Foreign or domestic flights: Both offered, depending on availability.
  • Available to veterans? No[2]
  • Other benefits offered to military personnel: 
    • Complimentary baggage check: If you are active-duty U.S. military personnel traveling on orders, you may present your military ID and orders at the check-in counter and check up to five complimentary bags.[4] When traveling on personal business or pleasure you can check up to three complimentary bags. If you are a military dependent traveling on orders, you will have the same privileges as U.S. military personnel when you present your military dependent ID and a copy of active orders.
    • Pet shipping: 50% off the price of personal pet shipping within the continental U.S., Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands for all active-duty military members and their dependents.[5]
    • Lounge access: U.S. military personnel traveling in uniform have access to all Admirals Club lounges when traveling the same day on an American Airlines operated flight.[6] When you arrive, show your boarding pass and your military ID. You may bring your immediate family (including spouse, domestic partner and/or children under 18 years of age) or up to two guests to the Admirals Club lounge.
  • Book online or call customer service at (800) 433-7300 for more about military rates

2. United Airlines

  • Policy: Discounts vary by departure and arrival locations.[7]
  • Requirements: Active-duty military members[8]
  • Are dependents eligible? Yes, with valid military ID[8]
  • Advance purchase required: No[8]
  • Refundable tickets: No[9]
  • Charge for cancellations or changes: Yes — there is a fee for exchanging tickets.[9]
  • Foreign or domestic flights: Both available
  • Available to veterans? United Airlines offers a 5% discount for veterans if you first enroll with Veterans Advantage[10]
  • Other benefits offered to military personnel: 
    • Complimentary baggage check: Active-duty military personnel traveling on official orders or for pleasure are invited to check extra baggage free of charge on United Airlines flights.[10] In some cases, military dependents will also be included.
    • Pet shipping: United Airlines allows active-duty U.S. military members and their spouses to transport their pet dogs or cats as checked baggage to and from international destinations on United-operated flights.[10]
    • Club access: United Airlines invites active-duty military members to visit United Club locations on the same day they are traveling on a United- or United Express®-operated flight.[10] Access is available to active-duty military members with proper ID only (guests are not included) and is subject to each location’s capacity and seating availability.
  • Book online or call customer service at (800) 864-8331 for more about military rates

3. Delta Airlines

  • Policy: Military fares may be available for select itineraries and routes[11]
  • Requirements: Active-duty military[11]
  • Are dependents eligible? Yes, with valid military ID[11]
  • Advance purchase required: No[11]
  • Refundable tickets: Yes (funds will go back to the credit card)[12]
  • Charge for cancellations or changes: A fare difference will be charged if applicable. Cancellation fees start at $200, depending on your itinerary.[12]
  • Foreign or domestic flights: Both offered
  • Available to veterans? No[11]
  • Other benefits offered to military personnel:
    • Complimentary baggage check: Active-duty military members flying on orders can bring up to four checked bags (up to 70 pounds each), one carry-on, and one personal item for free.[13] Active-duty military members on personal travel may bring two checked bags (up to 50 pounds each), one carry-on, and one personal item for free.
    • Pet shipping: Delta accepts animals as checked baggage only for military members, Foreign Service Officers, and their spouses.[14]
  • Book online or call customer service at (800) 221-1212 for more about military rates

4. JetBlue

  • Policy: JetBlue offers the Military Leisure Fare (MIL), which varies by departure and arrival locations.[15] In order to book a flight, you’ll need the name of the active-duty military member, their branch of service, and their military rank.
  • Requirements: Active-duty military[16]
  • Are dependents eligible? Yes[16]
  • Advance purchase required: No[16]
  • Refundable tickets: No; all MIL fares are nonrefundable.[17]
  • Charge for cancellations or changes: Yes; all MIL fares are subject to JetBlue’s regular charges for changes and cancellations.[18]
  • Foreign or domestic flights: Both available
  • Available to veterans? JetBlue offers a 5% discount to veterans if you first enroll with Veterans Advantage[15]
  • Other benefits offered to military personnel:
    • Complimentary baggage check: JetBlue allows up to five free checked bags for military members and two bags for their dependents.[15]
    • USO Airport Center access: JetBlue has a USO Airport Center at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).[15] The USO Center is a fully stocked center for active-duty military and their families located in JFK’s JetBlue Terminal 5 directly across from baggage carousel number two on the street level in the arrivals area.
  • Book online or call (800) 538-2583 for more about military rates

5. Southwest Airlines

  • Policy: Discounts vary by departure and arrival locations.[19]
  • Requirements: Active-duty military members[20]
  • Are dependents eligible? Yes, with valid military ID[20]
  • Advance purchase required: At least seven days in advance for the lowest fares[20]
  • Refundable tickets: Yes, on some fares. Travel credit may be issued instead of a refund to your card[20]
  • Charge for cancellations or changes: No charge for cancellations or changes.[21] You’ll receive a travel credit under your confirmation number if you cancel at least 10 minutes prior to your flight time.
  • Foreign or domestic flights: Both available
  • Available to veterans? No[20]
  • Other benefits offered to military personnel: None
  • Book online or call customer service at (800) 435-9792 for more about military rates

6. Alaska Airlines

  • Policy: Discounted military fares are available on certain routes.[22]
  • Requirements: Active-duty military members on official orders[23]
  • Are dependents eligible? Yes, but only on official orders[23]
  • Advance purchase required: Recommended in order to receive the lowest rate (seven or more days)[23]
  • Refundable tickets: Yes, in case of an official change of orders or deployment[22]
  • Charge for cancellations or changes: No, in case of an official change of orders or deployment. Otherwise, there may be a fee.[24]
  • Foreign or domestic flights: Domestic flights only
  • Available to veterans? Yes; Alaska Airlines offers a 5% discount to Veterans Advantage members.[22]
  • Other benefits offered to military personnel: 
    • Complimentary baggage check: Active-duty U.S. military personnel with valid military ID may check up to five bags weighing up to 70 pounds and up to 115 inches (linear) for free.[22]
    • Pet shipping: Alaska Airlines allows active military members to transport pets at a discounted price.[22]
  • Book online or call customer service at (800) 252-7522 for more about military rates

7. GSA City Pair Airfare

  • Policy: Discounted fares for government travelers[25]
  • Requirements: Active-duty military members on official travel[25]
  • Are dependents eligible? No[25]
  • Refundable tickets: Yes[25]
  • Charge for cancellations or changes: No[25]
  • Foreign or domestic flights: Both offered
  • Available to veterans? No[25]
  • Other benefits offered to military personnel: 
    • One-way route pricing: All fares are priced on one-way routes, which allows the military member to include multiple destinations in one trip.[25]
    • More non-stop service: In 95% of the markets where non-stop service is an option, it is awarded, meaning military members spend less time waiting in airports for connecting flights.[25]
  • Find out more or book online

Airlines That Don’t Offer Military Fares But Still Provide Some Assistance

The following airlines do not offer military fares or discounts on airfare, but each at least offers some assistance in waiving checked baggage fees for active-duty military members. We’ve ordered the list starting with the best overall benefits.

Allegiant Air

For active-duty and reserve duty personnel, members of the National Guard, veterans, (and spouses and dependents of U.S. active-duty and reserve duty personnel and members of the National Guard), Allegiant Air offers the following:[26]

  • Three pieces of checked baggage for free, with no charges for over-sized baggage under 100 pounds
  • One carry-on bag for free, without size limits
  • Free boarding pass printing
  • Free seat assignment
  • One pet in the cabin for free
  • Priority boarding for free — only for active-duty personnel

Frontier Air

We confirmed with a representative of Frontier Air that Frontier Air does waive all baggage fees for military personnel on active duty.[27] You must show a military ID when checking baggage, and you can check an unlimited number of bags with no weight or size restrictions.

Dependents traveling with a military member should check their baggage under the military member’s name to avoid being charged for baggage. Only one piece of carry-on luggage is permitted, however, even for active-duty military members. For more information, you can visit the Frontier Air website or contact the airline by phone at (801) 401-9000.

Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines offers a military baggage exemption for active-duty military personnel and veterans, including the following:[28]

  • Two complimentary bags, at a maximum of 50 pounds. and 62 linear inches, for personal travel
  • Four complimentary bags, at a maximum of 70 pounds and 80 linear inches, for travel on official military orders
    • Also available for dependents with valid military ID

Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines offers two free checked bags and a free carry-on bag for active-duty military personnel who present military ID.[29]

Other Air Travel Benefits and Deals for Military Personnel

Expedia+ Gold Membership (Free)

  • Benefits: Access to exclusive travel offers[30]
  • How to take advantage of the free membership: Simply upload a document showing proof of current or former military service or your military dependent status and fill out the Expedia military offer form.

USAA Flights by Explore, Cruise, & Travel

  • Benefits: Discounted flights through Explore, Cruise, & Travel; waived booking fees and other discounts[31]
  • How to take advantage of flights offered through USAA: Sign in to your USAA account online or visit the Explore, Cruise, & Travel website.

Space Available Flights for Military Members and Dependents

Another airline perk for military members is space Available flights, also known as Space-A flights or “hops,” which are free flights on military planes for military members, retirees, and their dependents. Space-A flights are also available from some terminals for Reservists and members of the National Guard.[32] Priority on Space-A flights is given first to those on Emergency Leave. Visit the Air Mobility Command (AMC) website to see the complete list of Space-A flight priority rankings.

To determine whether or not you’ll likely be able to fly Space-A, you can visit the AMC Travel Site or contact the nearest military passenger terminal (a list of Passenger Terminals is available on the right-hand side of the AMC Travel Site’s homepage). The terminal staff will have the most current information and will be able to give you a better idea of whether or not you and those traveling with you have a good chance of scoring a free flight.

The busiest military passenger terminals have the most available Space-A seating, but seating on a Space-A flight is never guaranteed. If space is not available for you and those traveling with you, you may have to purchase a last-minute fare on a commercial airline if you do not want to cancel your travel plans.

In Summary

And those are the airlines with military discounts and those without — and those who are somewhere in-between. If you’re a member of the U.S. military, remember to take advantage of free checked and carry-on baggage, where applicable, as well as access to lounges, discounted pet shipping, lower prices, and more. When you make the sacrifice of spending time away from your loved ones to serve your country, you definitely deserve a cheaper way to fly. Thank you for your service.

  1. https://www.aa.com/i18n/customer-service/faqs/reservations-tickets-faqs.jsp[]
  2. American Airlines customer service (800) 433-7300[][][][]
  3. https://www.aa.com/i18n/customer-service/faqs/customer-service-faqs.jsp[][]
  4. https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/baggage/checked-baggage-policy.jsp[]
  5. https://www.aacargo.com/about/update_24May2017.html#:~:text=The%20military%20discount%20program%20now,off%20all%20domestic%20pet%20transports.[]
  6. https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/clubs/admirals-club-access.jsp[]
  7. https://www.united.com/en/us/book-flight/united-military-fares?BT=F[]
  8. United Airlines customer service (800) 864-8331[][][]
  9. https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/help/faq/manage-reservations.html[][]
  10. https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/products/milgov/military-benefits.html[][][][]
  11. Delta Airlines customer service (800) 221-1212[][][][][]
  12. https://www.delta.com/us/en/change-cancel/cancel-flight#:~:text=follow%20the%20steps-,Cancellation%20Fee,your%20ticket%20as%20an%20eCredit.[][]
  13. https://www.delta.com/us/en/special-circumstances/military-travel/overview[]
  14. https://www.delta.com/us/en/special-circumstances/military-travel/pets[]
  15. https://www.jetblue.com/flying-with-us/military-customers[][][][]
  16. JetBlue customer service (800) 538-2583[][][]
  17. https://www.jetblue.com/travel-agents/government-fares#mil[]
  18. https://www.jetblue.com/help/changes-cancellations-and-standby[]
  19. https://www.southwest.com/html/customer-service/how-tos/book-and-manage-air-pol.html[]
  20. Southwest Airlines customer service (800) 435-9792[][][][][]
  21. https://www.southwest.com/html/customer-service/purchasing-and-refunds/refund-info-pol.html[]
  22. https://www.alaskaair.com/content/about-us/social-responsibility/salute-to-service[][][][][]
  23. Alaska Airlines customer service (800) 252-7522[][][]
  24. https://www.alaskaair.com/content/about-us/customer-commitment/customer-commitment-rules-disclosure#:~:text=Cancellation%20policies,to%20any%20difference%20in%20fare.[]
  25. https://www.gsa.gov/travel/plan-book/transportation-airfare-pov-etc/city-pair-program-cpp[][][][][][][][]
  26. https://www.allegiantair.com/military-discount[]
  27. https://www.flyfrontier.com/travel/travel-info/bag-options/?mobile=true#:~:text=Military%20Personnel&text=Frontier%20welcomes%20U.S.%20military%20passengers,Two%20free%20checked%20bags[]
  28. https://www.hawaiianairlines.com/legal/list-of-all-fees[]
  29. https://customersupport.spirit.com/hc/en-us/articles/213765027-Does-Spirit-offer-U-S-Military-discounts-[]
  30. https://www.expedia.com/militaryoffer[]
  31. https://www.usaa.com/inet/wc/travel-deals?akredirect=true[]
  32. http://www.spacea.net/faqs/spacea-eligibility[]

6 comments

  • Danny & Debbie Conn says:

    I am a Vietnam veteran .You haven’t offered a disabled veteran a set .I am 100% disabled.I wanted to take my wife to Hawaii and cruse the islands,but the flight is over 2 k. we are going on 45 years of marriage.we never went on a honey moon,so I would like to take her somewere that shes been wanting to go.She gest turned 63 I am 67.We are from Pa.

    • Laura Bachmann says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Danny,

      I wasn’t able to locate any airlines with discounts specifically for veterans with disabilities. I would recommend having a look at disableddiscounts.com, which lists deals for people with disabilities. I took a look there and didn’t find anything for travel, however. If you ever want to take her somewhere in the continental U.S., consider Amtrak. They do offer a discount for people with disabilities and for seniors, so there’d be a discount for your wife as well.

  • Allegiant Airlines offers 3 free checked baggage, no over weight charges, 1 free carry on, no charge for seating, no charge for boarding pass printing at the airport and 1 free pet to active duty, retired, reservists, national guard and their dependents. With their fares already very cheap itsa great deal.

    • Kathleen Wilson says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi PValen! Thank you so much for sharing this information with us. We’ve update the article better reflect all of the discounts and perks that Allegiant Airlines offers to service members.

  • J.A. CLARK says:

    Thanks, but NO thanks! WHY are we Retired military members WAY too often not considered “military members” for the discounts/”bene’s” by so many commercial “patriots,” when in fact & truth, Retired Military MEMBERS most often have served FAR longer than currently serving members?!”

    “Thank you for your Service” — UNTIL you change to Retired status!

    • C. J. Laborde says:

      I am also a retired Navy p.O. who would like to see these rules changed so we can get the discounts ACTIVE DUTY personell receive. After twenty years or more, I believe we served our country beyond the call of duty. We also carry a real military I. D. card same as active duty does.