If you’re 75 or older, count on hassle-free TSA screenings
Keep your shoes and jacket on when you go through security.
The carry-on rules for liquids don’t apply to your meds. Just place them in a clear, resealable bag for screening at check-in.
For travelers with a disability, most airports have designated security lanes with no waiting.
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Spring for TSA PreCheck or Nexus
If you’re planning to do a lot of traveling in retirement, significantly reduce your waiting time at security and customs.
Just apply for TSA PreCheck online, and make an appointment at one of hundreds of enrollment centers. The background check and fingerprinting for approval take about 10 minutes. A five-year membership costs $85, but many airline credit cards and other rewards cards cover the fee as a benefit.
If you frequently travel between the U.S. and Canada, the five-year, $50 Nexus card will expedite border crossings and includes TSA PreCheck benefits.
Don’t waste time looking for senior discounts
Southwest discontinued its discount for older travelers in 2019, and other airlines’ markdowns are available only in certain markets and on a limited number of flights. The savings aren’t all that impressive.
Instead, subscribe for email alerts to programs like Southwest’s Wanna Get Away fares. Keep dates and destinations flexible, or travel outside of peak seasons. Book flights between 21 and 175 days in advance to maximize your savings.
Request early or priority boarding
You don’t have to be a celebrity or corporate big shot to board early. You can request this privilege when you book the ticket, but most airlines automatically board the elderly or people who need assistance first.
Ask for help with luggage. Flight attendants should be happy to assist with stowing your belongings in overhead bins.
Get airport lounge access with a day pass or as a credit card reward
Avoid the huddled masses by splurging on a day pass for your airline’s airport lounge. It typically costs around $40 per person, but if you have a long wait, you’ll appreciate the magazines, complimentary food and drinks and sparkling restrooms.
Many travel credit cards offer lounge access as a perk.