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Four Airlines Slash Senior Discount

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Well-known member
Jun 25, 2002
DALLAS (AP) - Four major airlines have quietly dropped their 10 percent ticket discounts for senior citizens, and American Airlines said the change would probably be permanent.
American, Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines all dropped the senior discounts on Friday, following a similar move by US Airways two weeks ago.

Southwest Airlines said it would not remove its senior discounts. A Continental spokeswoman declined to comment Saturday, and A United spokeswoman said she believed the discount remained in effect but couldn't confirm it; United's reservation number said the discount remained in effect.

Carole Grewe, a travel agent with Travel Networks in Arlington Heights, Ill., said she didn't notice the missing discount until she tried to reserve an American flight for a customer Friday night.

"They didn't even let travel agents know they were doing this," Grewe said. "This is going to hurt senior citizens."

Northwest also halted the sale of discounted flight coupon books for seniors, saying it no longer wanted to allow the discounts on top of already heavily discounted fares.

The coupon books were no longer a value compared with discounted tickets, and the paperwork involved was too costly, spokesman Kurt Ebenhoch said. He said he couldn't comment on how much money Northwest could save by eliminating the promotions.

"It's consistent with our strategy of discontinuing discounts on already deeply discounted fares," he said.

Northwest will offer a new special fare for people 65 and older, but it might not always be the lowest fare available, Ebenhoch said.

Delta also introduced a new senior fare, requiring a two-week advance purchase and a Saturday night stay, spokeswoman Wanda Rodwell said Saturday. She said she didn't know why the senior discount had been eliminated.

One Delta reservation agent, when asked why the discount had been discontinued, said jokingly: "We're not making money, that's why."

US Airways still offers a discount to seniors if they buy multiple tickets in a booklet, spokesman David Castelveter said Saturday.

"What we found was that the vast majority of seniors are traveling with plenty of advance notice, and the best fares they could get were through the AARP or the booklets," he said.

American became the fourth major airline to drop the discount late Friday. Spokesman Dale Morris said Saturday that American was matching the other airlines. He said he expected the move would be permanent.

Guess they are trying to scare off the little blue-haired terrorists.


Yeah, so if they are getting rid of the discounts so the little blue haired terrrorists won't fly, I guess that means we can soon look forward to seeing discounts for children flying the coop too.

After all, old ladies and mommas with babies and toddlers are the ones being searched the most at every corner.
One of the most insightful comments I've ever heard about the aviation industry is, "Everyone thinks they're entitled to 10% discounts in an industry with a 5% margin."

We all know the problem with the airlines isn't LOADS ... the planes are as full, or fuller, than they've ever been before ... load factors are routinely 80%! The problem is YIELDS ... in other words, the airlines just aren't getting enough dollars for each filled seat. It doesn't take a roomful of Wharton grads to figure out that the solution is to bring in more money! The fare structure needs to be streamlined, and this is probably a necessary first step.

I certainly don't want to stick it to seniors, or kids, or anybody else, but the system's got to change or it'll only get worse.

The security system is an all-out charlie-foxtrot, a five-alarm goat rodeo of the worst kind, and needs serious work, but that's a topic for another day. Until then, the grannies and the babies will get cavity-searched, and we'll let the suspicious ones go right on by.

Shakespeare had it right five hundred years ago .... "the first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers!"

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