Actionable Tip to Save on Family Airfare

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If you travel with your family, you inevitably will end up needing to purchase airline tickets for your crew with dollars instead of miles at some point. Obviously getting those tickets as inexpensively as possible is typically pretty important since costs add up very, very quickly when you are multiplying by 3x, 4x, or more.

There are probably a million different articles written on how to find the cheapest airfare, websites that tout they find the best prices, studies that say buy at a certain time on a certain day (no, buy when @theflightdeal finds a killer fare), and I’m not going to repeat or expand on those often generalized tips today.

Instead, I’m going to remind you of one very important, obvious, but easy to skip, specific step you can take when booking airfare for a family in order to save money.

The tip save money on airfare for a family is to remember to put the ages of your kids in the system when you search for tickets. If you just click “4 passengers” or “4 adults” when you search for tickets, when what you really have are two adult parents, a 4 year old, and an 8 year old, you might end up overpaying.

Save money on family airfare

For example, we recently priced tickets for our family from Texas to Costa Rica on United. If you aren’t paying attention, or are in a hurry, it can be easy to just select 3 adults during your airfare search since that will ultimately work just fine and the system will typically happily let you pay an adult fare for a child.

Save on Family Airfare

However, if you are savvy and paying attention to details, you can do what we did and put in two adults and one child and ultimately come back with pricing that reflects one ticket at the (slightly) cheaper child’s rate.

Child Fare

We used this same strategy when we flew to Europe last year on a paid fare and saved a couple hundred dollars on my daughter’s ticket by remembering to search for her ticket as a child’s fare. We also use the Veteran’s Advantage discount code to save another 5% on United flights, but that’s a tip for another day (or another post).

From what I’ve seen in my searches, you don’t typically save money on child’s fare domestically, but internationally you absolutely can sometimes keep some cash in your pocket by remember to search for your airfare prices correctly from the start based on the ages of the travelers in your party. It may not be a high tech or revolutionary tip, but it is one that can easily be missed.

Have you saved money on airline tickets by remembering to input the ages of your children when you search?

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  1. I have used child fares several times for my family. They are good, but they only work on international itineraries or flights wholely outside the United States.

  2. Hey, good tip! I just checked and I made exactly this mistake booking an award trip this summer that included my young daughter.

  3. I made this mistake on a domestic ticket on the Egyptair (Egypt) website, but it wouldn’t let me book the tickets until I corrected it, so they forced me to save $20 on each of my youngest daughters’ tickets

  4. So wait a second if there’s only a pricing difference on International fares or routes wholly outside the US, that means that intentionally or unintentionally travelers under the age of 18 have been subject to price discrimination, no?

    If the travel industry throughout the entire globe has consistently discounted travel for children yet the United States has consistently sought to not only discount fares for minors but instead to markup family travel expenses at EVERY opportunity, that would mean for some god awful reason the Travel “industry” has some strange bias against minors. Weird but in the general scope of things that go on in the United States of screwed up thinking. What else is new?

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