The typical college experience is made up of late nights (because of hitting the books, obviously), tight budgets, and the best years of your life. But college also comes with an underrated benefit: taking advantage of those sweet, sweet student discounts.
You may have used them for cheaper museum admission or at a clothing store, but you may not know that student discounts can save you big money on your airfare.
So, which airlines offer discounts? How do they work? And the big one: Are they even worth it?
Not to worry, we’re here to answer all of your burning questions about student flight discounts and give you a rundown on the best of the best - and which aren’t actually worth a second look. You’re welcome :-)
Major North American Airlines
United Airlines is one of the few North American airlines that offers any kind of student discount worth a second look. It can be a little fiddly to access at first, but once you’re set up, you get 5% off all fares.
Here’s how it works: you’ll have to download United’s mobile app and either create or log in with your MileagePlus account. Make sure to also set your age correctly so the “Discounted travel” option automatically pops up.
Once you’ve done that, navigate on the app to the book flight icon, and select the option “Young adult travel (ages 18-23).”
Keep in mind, this isn’t technically a student discount, but rather a discount for travelers aged 18-23. So if you’re a student aged 24 and up, this won’t work for you.
From there, just do a search of your departure and destination, the dates you aim to fly, and the 5% discount should already be baked in.
Here, the itinerary on the left is a normal search and the one on the right includes the 5% student discount:
These discounts work on all the routes that United flies, from across a state to over the Pacific. But it doesn’t apply to premium economy tickets or to flights in Business or First Class.
It also only applies to travelers aged within that discounted range. So even if you’re within the range and you’re booking with someone either older or younger, they’ll be paying the non-discounted fare.
Is it worth it?
Keep in mind, United’s cheapest fare does NOT include a carry-on bag, while most of their competitors offer one by default. So, to us, this discount is only worth it if United is one of the few airlines serving the route you want to fly, or if they are already significantly cheaper on that route than any of their competitors.
Air Canada offers a student discount in the form of a flight pass. For one set price (which varies dramatically based on your departure and destination airports), you can get 6 one-way-flight credits that are good to use for an entire year.
Student flight passes will run you between $1,000 CAD if you’re traveling just within Halifax and up to $4,000 CAD for Europe to Western Canada connections. Peruse Air Canada’s page of passes and pick the one that most suits your travel needs.
You will need a valid student ID to nab this discount, and the flight credits can only be used for your own travel. The tickets are also in Air Canada’s Economy Standard (which includes a flight credit if you cancel and changes for a fee) instead of their Basic ticket, which is more restrictive. An even better deal in our book.
Is it worth it?
If you’re an active student within Canada or a frequent traveler to the Great White North, this is a pretty solid package deal. Unfortunately, it doesn’t include perks like extra baggage and has a limited pool of airport options.
Still, if you’re someone who prefers flying Air Canada to some of their budget Canadian counterparts, and you KNOW you’ll be flying to or from Canada at least 6 times in the next year (very important as you don’t want those credits to go to waste), we would recommend this deal.
Other North American Airlines
The remaining major North American carriers are split into two pools. In the first group, you have airlines that have offered a student flight discount at one point or another, but are not offering one as of January 2023.
Spirit, Frontier, and Hawaiian are three of these - from discounted fares to free baggage and free airfare overall, they’ve each dipped their toes in these discount waters. They’re not active anymore, though, so be aware that potential student savings can disappear at any moment.
The other pool of major North American carriers consists of those which, to the best of our knowledge, have never offered a student flight discount. American, Delta, Southwest, JetBlue, Alaska, WestJet, and others are all on the naughty list this year, with no active or former student discounts.
These airlines might still offer you the best deal and biggest savings on a specific route, but just know you’re not gonna get any kind of markdown from the listed price because of your student status. What a shame!
Most major North American carriers are leaving us pretty high and dry on the student discount front. Luckily, our friends in Europe and the rest of the world are picking up their slack. Thank you very much!
Some of these discounts do have pretty specific use cases, stringent rules, and identity checks. If you do hit all the boxes though, they might just be the best deal in the sky.
Air France claims to offer a discounted student rate with proof of enrollment. All student tickets are also advertised to include 2 checked bags, ideal if you’re planning a big move. Just select “Student (18–29 years)” on the airline’s booking page.
While Air France does have a very real student discount page, we couldn’t find cheaper prices or free bags in any of our searches. We tested dozens of route and date combinations, from North America and Europe to France and even within France itself, and the student rate never appeared.
Is it worth it?
If Air France actually had the student fares on offer, yes absolutely! Hopping on a full-service airline with two checked bags for a discounted price is just about as good as you’re gonna get. But our inability to find even one route that had this deal makes this an utter failure. Look elsewhere.
Iberia’s student discount is through their Iberia Joven (Spanish for “young”) program and claims to offer 10% off bookings and 15% off group bookings if you are between the ages of 16 and 30. While not explicitly a student discount, it works just the same, so we’ll include it here.
To start, sign up for Iberia Joven by creating an Iberia Plus account. The site will ask for your passport information as well as a scan of it to make sure that you’re the age you claim to be.
You’ll have to wait for approval, but once you get it, you’ll officially be “Joven” in Iberia’s eyes, and you can head back to the central home page and do a typical search to find your itinerary.
Is it worth it?
This discount is one of the better ones in the bunch. Its identity check isn’t too stringent, you don’t even have to be a student, and it actually works. If Iberia is operating generally one of the cheapest flights on the route you’re trying to fly, then an extra 10% off never hurt anyone.
One thing to note, airlines like LEVEL and Vueling are distinct from Iberia, so you won’t be getting discounts on those super-budget fares that you might see on some routes, like Boston to Barcelona.
KLM is pretty similar to their partner airline Air France in that they have student discounts on offer, but finding the discounted fares can be a bit of a struggle - if at all possible!
If you’re in the EU, simply go to their standard home page and select “Youth (18-24)” in the passenger field. You’ll automatically get a ‘youth fare’ that’s the same as their standard fare, but it’s refundable. This discount doesn’t apply to their cheapest light fare.
The only other student discount page is on KLM’s Canadian website, with some details about what you could get with their student tickets. But, after countless searches, we never found any kind of discounted rate. Go at it yourself if you’re willing, but we wouldn’t recommend wasting your time.
Is it worth it?
This discount is more trouble than it’s worth, especially if the only tangible perk we could find was a refundable ticket. Just like Air France, we’d look elsewhere.
Lufthansa’s student discount only applies to flights originating within the US, but offers good savings on flights to Europe. Plus, you get flexibility with booking and an extra checked bag, even on fares that wouldn’t include one otherwise.
Visit their student offer page and click through to search for your flights. The fares will automatically show up with reduced prices, even if there is no clear indication on the site.
On the left is the total after searching through the student discount page, and on the right, you’ll see the same search through Lufthansa’s homepage.
Is it worth it?
4-star Lufthansa is rarely the cheapest option to get you across the Atlantic, but with some additional flexibility and that extra checked bag, they beat a ton of their lower-cost European competitors when it comes to a student discount.
If Lufthansa is actually among the cheapest airlines on your route, or you’re willing to pay a touch more for a non-stop flight on one of the better full-service airlines, we’d recommend taking advantage of these savings.
SAS’ Youth tickets might just be the best deal in the entire world of student discounts, but it will take some trial and error to get just right.
No special sign-up is required, and it works in all regions. Simply select Youth (12-25) as your ticket type when doing your search, and the discounted fares will automatically be applied.
We’ve seen savings anywhere from a few bucks to a couple of hundred dollars, so if you’re trying to get to Europe for very cheap, this is the way to go. No baggage or changes here, but their bargain-bin fares more than make up for it.
Here is an example of the same exact flight and ticket type as a youth versus as an adult on SAS. That’s $119 dollars saved, all because you’re younger.
Is it worth it?
Absolutely! This is the biggest pure saving we’ve seen with any airline. It might not work for every search, but if it does for yours, you’ll be saving loads of money. On top of that, SAS is often already one of the cheapest airlines that can get you to Europe, so this is just the cherry on top.
Morgan Freeman claims that Turkish Airlines connects the entire world, so getting student savings on their network should work for everyone…
And it does! You can get up to 10% off international and 20% off domestic flights within Turkey, as well as extra baggage and free changes. Just go to Turkish Airlines’ student discount page, make your account, verify your status, and you’re ready to book.
Here, the flight on top includes a student discount, while the one at the bottom does not. Keep in mind that this is just one search, and so you might be able to find bigger savings, even up to that elusive 10% advertised by Turkish Airlines.
Is it worth it?
Turkish Airlines usually offers good deals in general and some of these perks are very solid, especially if you’re a student just moving in. It’s not always the cheapest, but if you know it’s the cheapest on your route, then that’s only an extra perk.
And, if you’re flying within Turkey and with heavy baggage, this is a no-brainer. Turkish low-cost carriers might offer the same routes for cheaper, but the extras offered by Turkish Airlines are too much to pass up.
The Rest of the World
Air India’s student discount is exclusive to students that are actively studying within India. If you do fit this, all you need is your student ID, and they claim you’ll get 25% off all economy fares.
To do student discount searches, visit Air India’s website, and in the box labeled Concessionary Type, select Student. Go ahead and do a normal search after that.
Importantly, we were unable to find this discount on any long-haul flights to or from Europe and North America, but it did pop up on flights within India. Yet, the fares it displayed were HIGHER than if you did the search without the student discount for the same exact itinerary.
The photo on the top is the normal adult ticket at roughly $150 USD, and the one on the bottom shows the “discounted” student ticket at roughly $165 USD.
Is it worth it?
Like Air France, Air India’s student discount would be worth it if it worked as advertised. But with a limited selection of routes, somewhat strict eligibility requirements, and hidden lower fares, we can’t recommend this student discount to anyone.
All Nippon Airways’s student discount just expired at the end of 2022, but we’ll run it down here anyway, just in case they bring something similar back. The airline was offering 10% off flights to the US and Canada from Indonesia, as well as an extra checked bag.
To get it, you simply had to create an ANA Mileage Club account, use their promo code, and stay a minimum of 3 months within the US or Canada. The extra baggage promotion worked similarly, although it did require an extra sign-up.
Was it worth it?
Although this discount has a very specific use case, it was worth it if you fit it. ANA already usually offers one of the best rates to get from Jakarta to the US, plus the extra baggage allowance and the 5-star service you’d get on board only sweeten the pot.
Although this discount had to be booked before 2023, monitor the discount page to see if anything new pops up for this year.
Emirates is one of the best airlines in the world, and their student discount makes them just a bit more accessible for the rest of us. They offer 10% off all fares and extra baggage allowance on top of their already sweet two checked bags.
To redeem this discount, we recommend going to Emirates’ student discount page, and hitting the ‘Book Now’ button as it will already have the promo code STUDENT inputted. From there, it’s just as simple as booking with any other airline.
Students ages 16-31 are eligible for this deal, which will be verified by your student ID at check-in. This discount also expires on March 31, 2023, but keep on the lookout as there always could be new ones.
Is it worth it?
Emirates is oftentimes a bit pricier than their competition, but they make it up for it with world-class service and amenities. Plus, these discounts are real! Something that can’t be said for every airline.
If you’re flying long-haul where connecting through Dubai makes sense, and you want the premium experience that comes with Emirates without as premium a price tag, jumping on this discount is the way to go.
Not to be outdone, the United Arab Emirates’ other flag carrier, Etihad, offers its own student discount. 10% off economy fares and 5% off business fares is sweet, but their travel dates expire very soon, as in the end of January 2023 soon.
If you think you have enough time left in the month, go to Etihad’s discount page, search for the flight you wish to book, and enter the promo code STU10 to get your discount.
Is it worth it?
Like their Emirati counterparts, Etihad offers top-of-the-line service at decently higher prices than their competitors. If you wanna fly like royalty but don’t necessarily want to pay as much, then we say go for it.
This is a discount that is both real (yay!) and should come back around at some point, so keep that student discount page open, just in case.
Qantas’ student discount is one of the more specific and stringent on offer, only applying to students flying from Manila to either Australia or New Zealand for their studies. You’ll also have to email your passport, visa, and letter of acceptance to a partnered tour company to claim this offer.
You’ll get discounted fares (no specific percentage) as well as extra baggage allowance beyond what Qantas normally grants. And, while this is the only discount right now, Qantas might offer similar discounts for other countries in the future, so stay patient.
Is it worth it?
If you’re a student in the Philippines studying in either of these countries, and you want your family to come with you for move-in or need some extra bags, then it’s a pretty solid deal depending on how good that discount is.
Keep in mind that Qantas does have some of the higher fares in that region of the world, so you might save more money by booking with another airline and just paying for the extra baggage.
Welcome to the Student Club! Qatar’s discounted fares require joining their free membership program, but it can come with some sweet perks, like flexibility, more baggage, free Wi-Fi, and savings if traveling with a friend.
Simply visit the Student Club homepage and create your account, while uploading a picture of your student ID to verify your student status.
Is it worth it?
Qatar is a five-star airline, so you’ll be paying 5-star prices. Although we couldn’t find any discounted or special fares in our searches, we did find the other perks to be available.
So, if you’re flying to some place where connecting through Doha makes sense, and you want those extra perks, it might be worth shelling out a bit more to fly elite. And who knows, maybe you’re luckier than us and find some of those discounted tickets.
Like some of their 5-star brethren in the Middle East, Singapore’s student offerings are pretty sweet. 10% off select fares, 3 checked bags on flights to North America, and flexible changes.
Visit their student discount page to create your KrisFlyer account and verify your student status. After you’ve done that, you’ll have access to all the perks that the club offers.
Is it worth it?
Similar to Etihad, Emirates, and Qatar, Singapore can be pricey, but their service makes up for it. If you travel frequently through Southeast Asia, especially with a bunch of bags, even the higher price point that Singapore starts at might just be the best bang for your buck.
As always, though, make sure to review all your options before dropping too much money for this more premium experience.
We know all this student discount information can be overwhelming, so here are our picks for the best and worst student discounts right now.
Best: SAS offers the biggest pure savings, Qatar and Emirates have the best perks, and Lufthansa has a solid mix of the two. But the absolutely massive savings you can get with SAS makes them our big winner today.
Worst: Air India takes the cake as the absolute worst with their more expensive student fares, on top of an incredibly limited selection of routes. But, we’re also shaming Air France and KLM as their discounts are virtually non-existent.
So, what about Student Universe/Student Beans?
Any simple search of “[airline name] student flight discount” will bring up that airline’s “exclusive” partnership with Student Universe or Student Beans. But don’t be fooled: these services don’t actually offer any discount, and sometimes can actually be more expensive than if you searched for your flights independently. We know! We were shocked, too.
When you dig a little further beneath the surface, things start to unravel: these sites claim to be partnered with a ton of airlines, but they’re mostly the ones that don’t offer their own student discounts. They also have a search engine built into their site, so you’re encouraged to look up the routes and dates you want to fly, and book directly with them (not through the airline itself).
Here’s an example of the fares through Student Universe’s “exclusive” partnership with American Airlines, versus just a normal Google Flights search:
As you can see, the fares are identical and there are no student flight discounts being offered. This isn’t a one-off example, either, as every route we searched had similar results.
There are two other problems with these kinds of sites. For one, if you’re searching through a specific airline's student universe page, you won’t see the results for all other airlines, so you could potentially miss out on the cheapest fare that is actually available on your route.
Secondly, Student Universe also sometimes claims to offer a discounted fare, but you must create an account with them, and you MUST call them to get that discount. It’s 2023, do you really expect us to make a phone call?
Here’s an example of both of these issues:
As you can see, Google Flights serves up the cheapest fares with JetBlue, while Student Universe hides this cheaper flight behind a phone call, while only showing American’s fares.
We would recommend entirely ignoring these sites, as all they do is muddy the waters and make it harder to find real cheap fares and student discounts.
Are student flight discounts worth it?
So, after all that, now we circle back to the question posed at the very start of this article: are student flight discounts worth it?
The big answer, the one you’ve all been waiting for, is … SOMETIMES! Climactic, we know.
To us, these discounts are only worthwhile in a couple of specific scenarios.
Scenario A: You know that a certain airline always has the best deal on your chosen route, and they also offer a student discount. In this one, you are both getting the best deal and saving even more money on top of that. A true win-win.
Scenario B: You are a student flying with a bunch of suitcases to the city where your college is located, and the airline you can potentially fly with has a student discount on baggage.
Otherwise, most of these discounts offer pretty minimal savings, with very tight rules or sometimes quite strenuous sign-up processes. And, to top it off, the discount might not even be active when you’re booking your next flight.
Don’t worry, though, there are plenty of better ways to save some big bucks on traveling that don’t actually require you to be a student.
Tips and Tricks
If you are gonna go forward with using a student discount, we do have some tips, as they can be pretty finicky.
For one, the discount has to still be active. As we mentioned earlier, some airlines have past student discounts that aren’t offered anymore, and we don’t want you to fall victim to that.
All the information in this article is true as of January 2023, but make sure to review each airline’s specific policy at the time of your booking to make sure that these discounts still work.
We’d also recommend shopping around on a search engine like Google Flights to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal, even before the student discount. It’s no good to save five bucks booking with one airline’s discount when you could’ve saved hundreds booking with another airline entirely.
If you want to become an expert at using Google Flights to find your next cheap fares, read our article to get started.
If this all sounds like too much work for you, your final (and, humbly, the best) option is to sign up for Jack’s Flight Club!
Whether you’re a free or premium member, we keep you in the loop on all the cheapest flights, and our expertly-trained team of flight finders only sends out deals that include reasonable layovers and trip lengths, aka the best deals in the sky.