Military members and their dependents make a lot of sacrifices to serve their country. As a token of gratitude, many airlines offer perks ranging from discounted flight prices to free checked baggage for military personnel. In this article, we outline these perks for you, as well showing you additional travel deals that websites like Expedia offer for military members and their families.

The information in this article applies 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.

In This Article

Space Available Flights for Military Members and Dependents

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

To determine whether or not you’ll likely be able to fly Space-A, 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. 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.

The List of Airlines That Offer Military Discounts

1. Alaska Airlines

  • Policy overview: Discounted military fares are available on certain routes.
  • Requirements: Active duty military members on official orders
  • Military dependents eligible for discount: Yes, but only on official orders
  • Advance purchase required: Recommended in order to receive the lowest rate (seven or more days)
  • Minimum or maximum stay length required: No
  • Refundable tickets: Yes, in case of an official change of orders or deployment
  • Charge for cancellations or changes: Yes, in case of an official change of orders or deployment
  • Blackout periods: Yes
  • Foreign or domestic flights: Domestic flights only
  • Available to veterans: No
  • Other benefits offered to military personnel: 
  • To book, call Alaska Airlines at (800) 252-7522

2. American Airlines

  • Policy overview: American Airlines offers military fares in some markets for some dates.
  • Requirements: Active duty military
  • Military dependents eligible for discount: Yes, with valid military ID
  • Advance purchase required: At least 7-14 days is recommended
  • Minimum or maximum stay length required: No
  • Refundable tickets: Yes
  • Charge for cancellations or changes: No
  • Blackout periods: No
  • Foreign or domestic flights: Both offered, depending on availability. Transit points are usually associated with military bases, posts, and other military stations.
  • Available to veterans: No
  • Other benefits offered to military personnel: 
    • Pet shipping: American Airlines offers 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. In order to qualify, you must present proper military identification at the time you drop off your pet.
    • Lounge access: U.S. military personnel traveling in uniform can enjoy complimentary access to all Admirals Club lounges when traveling the same day on an American Airlines operated flight. 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 with them.
    • 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 (up to 100 lbs and 126 inches, width + length + height). When traveling on personal business or pleasure you can check up to three complimentary bags (up to 50 lbs and 62 inches, width + length + height). 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.
  • To book, call American Airlines 24 hours a day at (800) 433-7300 or contact them in another language or country.

3. Delta Airlines

  • Policy overview:Military fares may be available for select itineraries and routes.
  • Requirements: Active duty military
  • Military dependents eligible for discount: Yes, with valid military ID
  • Advance purchase required: No
  • Minimum or maximum stay length required: No
  • Refundable tickets: Yes (funds will go back to the credit card)
  • Charge for cancellations or changes: A fare difference will be charged if applicable. There is no penalty for domestic flights. The penalty for changing or canceling an international flight with Delta is $300.
  • Blackout periods: No
  • Foreign or domestic flights: Both offered
  • Available to veterans: No
  • Other benefits offered to military personnel:
    • Active duty military members flying on orders can bring up to four checked bags (up to 70 lbs each), one carry-on, and one personal item for free. Active duty military members on personal travel may bring two checked bags (up to 50 lbs each), one carry-on, and one personal item for free.
  • To book, call Delta Airlines at (800) 221-1212.

4. GSA City Pair Airfare

  • Policy overview: Offer 74% discount off comparable commercial fares, on average
  • Requirements: Active duty military members on official travel
  • Military dependents eligible for discount: No
  • Advance purchase required: No
  • Minimum or maximum stay length required: No
  • Refundable tickets: Yes
  • Charge for cancellations or changes: No
  • Blackout periods: No
  • Foreign or domestic flights: Both offered
    • All domestic airfares include taxes, but not additional fuel, facility, and other fees. International airfares include neither taxes nor additional fees.
  • Available to veterans: No
  • Other benefits offered to military personnel: 
  • Search the Airline City Pair database to look up airfares.

5. JetBlue

  • Policy overview: JetBlue offers the Military Leisure Fare (MIL), which varies by departure and arrival locations. 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
  • Military dependents eligible for discount: Yes
  • Advance purchase required: No
  • Minimum or maximum stay length required: No
  • Refundable tickets: No. All MIL fares are nonrefundable.
  • Charge for cancellations or changes: Yes. All MIL fares are subject to JetBlue’s regular charges for changes and cancellations.
  • Blackout periods: No
  • Foreign or domestic flights: Both available
  • Available to veterans: JetBlue has teamed up with Veterans Advantage to offer up to a 5% discount on fares. You’ll first need to enroll with Veterans Advantage.
  • Other benefits offered to military personnel:
    • USO Airport Center access: JetBlue has a USO Airport Center at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). 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.
  • To book, call JetBlue at (800) 538-2583 or view their full list of representatives by country. 

6. Southwest Airlines

  • Policy overview: Discounts vary by departure and arrival locations.
  • Requirements: Active duty military members
  • Military dependents eligible for discount: Yes, with valid military ID
  • Advance purchase required: At least seven days in advance for the lowest fares
  • Minimum or maximum stay length required: No
  • Refundable tickets: Yes, on some fares. Travel credit may be issued instead of a refund to your card
  • Charge for cancellations or changes: No charge for cancellations. You’ll receive a travel credit under your confirmation number if you cancel at least 10 minutes prior to your flight time.
  • Blackout periods: No
  • Foreign or domestic flights: Both available
  • Available to veterans: No
  • Other benefits offered to military personnel: None
  • To book, call Southwest at (800) 435-9792.

7. United Airlines

  • Policy overview: Discounts vary by departure and arrival locations.
  • Requirements: Active duty military members
  • Military dependents eligible for discount: Yes, with valid military ID
  • Advance purchase required: No
  • Minimum or maximum stay length required: No
  • Refundable tickets: No
  • Charge for cancellations or changes: Yes. There is a $200 charge for exchanging tickets.
  • Blackout periods: No
  • Foreign or domestic flights: Both available
  • Available to veterans: United Airlines has teamed up with Veterans Advantage to offer up to a 5% discount on fares. You’ll first need to enroll with Veterans Advantage.
  • 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. 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.
    • Club access: United Airlines invites active duty military members to visit their United Club locations on the same day they are traveling on a United- or United Express®-operated flight. Please present your military ID and your boarding pass for entry. Access is available to active duty military members only (guests are not included) and is subject to each location’s capacity and seating availability.
  • Call United Airlines at (800) 864-8331 or view their complete list of phone numbers to reach representatives in other countries.

The List of Airlines That Don’t Offer Military Fares (But Still Provide Some Assistance)

The following airlines — Allegiant Air, Frontier Air, Hawaiian Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and Virgin America — do not offer military fares or discounts on airfare, but each waives at least some checked baggage fees for active duty military members.

1. 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:

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

2. Frontier Air

We confirmed with a representative of Frontier Air that Frontier Air does waive all baggage fees for military personnel on active duty. A military member may show their military ID when checking baggage and 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. You can contact Frontier Air by phone at 1 (801) 401-9000 or visit the Frontier Air website.

3. Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines offers a military baggage exemption for active duty military personnel and veterans, including:

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

4. Spirit Airlines

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

5. Virgin America

Virgin American offers:

  • For travel on orders: 10 free checked bags for active duty military personnel and five free checked bags for their dependents
  • For travel for leisure: Five bags free of charge for active duty military personnel traveling for leisure.

Other Special Air Travel Benefits and Deals for Military Personnel

1. Expedia+ Gold Membership (Free)

  • Benefits:
    • Access to exclusive travel offers
    • 30% more bonus points earned for bookings
    • 24/7 dedicated customer service agents
    • Complimentary hotel room upgrades (upon availability)
    • Exclusive amenities at over 2,000 +VIP hotels
    • Access to member rates–an additional 10% off select hotels
  • How to take advantage of the free membership:
    • Simply fill out Expedia’s military offer form and upload a document showing proof of current or former military service or your military dependent status.
    • Be aware that upon acceptance of the benefits of the Expedia+ gold membership that you will also be agreeing to receive promotional offers including military vacation deals, military discounts on flights, military travel deals, military travel discounts, and veteran travel discounts.

2. USAA Flights by Explore, Cruise, & Travel

  • Benefits:
    • Offers discounted flights through Explore, Cruise, & Travel
    • Book flights (as well as hotels, resorts, and so on) online with no booking fee (a $35 fee applies to flights booked by calling Explore, Cruise, & Travel)
    • Available to all USAA members
  • How to take advantage of flights offered through USAA:

In Summary

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.