The Ultimate Study Abroad Guide: What to Know [2022]

I’ve had the privilege of doing a study abroad program three different times in places like Mexico, Australia, and the UK. Each study abroad trip was absolutely worth it to me and I took an incredible amount of value from those experiences that still shapes me to this day. With that said, there are definitely some things that you want to know about studying abroad before you do it.

In this article, I will tell you everything you need to know about studying aboard. I’ll cover how to choose (and find) the right program, internships, housing, insurance, and how to get the most from your experience. 

Visa and travel documents

The very first thing you need to know is whether or not you will need a travel visa or other travel documents (in addition to your passport) to get into the country and to stay there for your study abroad program. 

In some cases, you could simply use a tourist visa but in other cases you may have to get a specific visa (such as a student visa) depending on how long you’re staying there and what exactly you are doing. Generally, if you’re there for under 90 days, you won’t need a visa but always double check. 

Some other things you should note about student visas:

  • Many student visas will allow you to work part time so you can still earn some money while studying abroad.
  • Sometimes you can extend the student visas if you get some sort of internship after your program.
  • If you have a spouse, a student visa can sometimes get them into the country and allow them to work. 
  • You may need to submit biometrics. 
  • Some visas will require a sponsorship letter and/or showing of funds in a bank account for a period of time, so don’t wait until the last minute to apply for your visa. 

The study abroad program should be able to guide you on all the questions related to your visa, but I would also encourage you to do your own personal research just in case you’re going with a program that does not have the most up-to-date or accurate information. This is especially the case if you were doing this on a solo basis.

  • You can check this page for additional information on whether or not you need a visa for your location.
  • You can also check here.
Study abroad in Oz 2011.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Study abroad programs

The first major consideration is what study abroad program are you going to enroll in?

Of course, you should check with your college or university to see what type of study abroad programs are offered. However, don’t be opposed to shopping around to see what other colleges and universities have to offer.

When I was in college and graduate school I actually did two separate study abroad programs through two universities that were not associated with mine. This allowed me to enroll in cheaper programs and in some cases the academic work was not as rigorous so I had a less stressful experience.

You can click here to search for study abroad programs with other universities. But I would also advise you to just check online and call around to nearby universities and colleges so that you can actually go in person and talk to someone about their programs. Some programs fill up pretty quickly so don’t make this a last-minute decision. 

Below are some considerations that you want to think about when choosing a program.

Exploring ruins in Oaxaca, Mexico. Study abroad 2008.

Picking a subject

When choosing a study abroad program, it is a good idea to have a narrow focus on the subject (or subjects) that you want to focus on. 

It is very common for study abroad programs to be focused on foreign languages. Obviously, the language focus will usually be on whatever is predominantly spoken in that country. So for example if you go to study abroad in Spain chances are you will be trying to pick up Spanish. There is also usually a historical or cultural component to these language based programs, too.

Tip: If you don’t know exactly how your study abroad experience will fit into your future career goals, then I would suggest to just go with the language that you’re interested in learning about.

In addition to language programs, there can be a focused curriculum that is based on your major or concentration. So for example you might get a focus on history, art, philosophy, or perhaps even something technical. This can be a fantastic way to catapult your learning or understanding of the subject especially if you can work with a renowned professor/faculty in that field. 

I’ve done both types of study abroad programs. I did a program focused on learning Spanish in Mexico and I also did a program focused on human rights and refugee law in Australia.

If you are doing a language-based program I would highly suggest that you look into staying with a host family. And if you are doing a program focused on a particular subject, I would advise you to go out of your way to connect with the faculty and to network. Also, you might put more weight on the institution/faculty versus the location if you’re focusing on a particular subject or topic. 


A lot of study abroad programs are linked with internship programs. In a lot of these cases you will get credit for your internship instead of getting paid. That might rub some people the wrong way but it’s not a bad way to get real-world work experience.

I was once able to work with real life refugees in Australia and receive an elective credit for my law school degree. I didn’t get paid a dime but I got great experience that was not only good for the legal world but also for myself in general. 

Here are some tips for getting the most out of an internship while studying abroad:

  • Do plenty of research
  • Take the job seriously
  • Take initiative

Do plenty of research

Before you ever accept or enroll in an internship program, make sure that you are aware of what type of duties you might be asked to do. I’ve seen students enroll in internship programs where they were just asked to make copies and hole punch all day — a pretty demoralizing experience.

Sometimes you just have to pay your dues with an internship but that is not the type of experience that I would want to have when doing an internship abroad. So be sure to verify that you can get meaningful experience with the type of internship that you will get.

Take the job seriously

While it is good to have fun while studying abroad don’t blow off your job. If you take your job seriously, this can be a great way to get some good experience and to also create a relationship with people in your desired field. You can then leverage those relationships for things like letters of recommendations and for other networking opportunities.

If you are a hard-working student, you will be surprised how easy it is to impress some people when they know you are not getting paid for your work. 

Take initiative

Sometimes internship programs are not organized very tightly. This leads to interns not having clear duties or tasks to take up on a daily basis. Don’t be afraid to ask to contribute to projects and if you ever have downtime be sure to request for them to give you some work to do. Again, the goal is to get experience and create relationships that can benefit you down the road. 

Also, if you’re going through another university for your internship, double check with your main university to make sure that the course credits for your work will transfer. Universities can be very specific about what types of work can count for course credits towards a degree.

Academic work

If you are going the internship + study abroad route, there may also be an academic component to the internship. For example, you may have to keep a daily log of all of your job activities. Some schools may even require you to write a paper summarizing your experience. 

Program reputation

This is a huge factor. You want to know how long the study abroad program has been in existence for. If it is the program’s inaugural year, that means that you are getting sent out to a foreign country via a program that may not have ever sent out students before. 

There could be hiccups with housing, classes, internship placement, etc. That could make a lot of people understandably very uncomfortable and could involve a level of risk that you don’t want to take. Meanwhile, a program that’s been around for a while will already have a lot of this figured out. 

In addition to smoother logistics, the more experienced and establish programs also have a lot of connections with businesses and with organizations. This will make it a lot easier to networking to find internships and jobs while you complete the program. 

Who is in charge?

Some study abroad programs will designate one person to be in charge of the study abroad group depending on the size. This is usually someone associated with the university who travels along with your group to reside in the foreign country. In many cases, this person may have been the designated person over the study abroad group for several years and therefore might be able to answer all of your questions.

Consider trying to reach out to them via phone/Skype to find out everything you can about them and how they manage the program. You really want to figure out who this person is and what they are all about. If you don’t think that you will vibe with them then that could be a problem. 

Also, if they are in a department that has nothing to do with what you were trying to focus on they may not be as helpful. However, if this is an established person in the department that you are interested in than you could possibly use the study abroad experience to create a meaningful relationship with that person. 

Photo from my study abroad in Oaxaca, Mexico (2008).

The schedule

Study abroad programs typically stick to a pretty rigid schedule. Try to find out everything you possibly can about the schedule such as:

  • How long is the program?
  • How many days a week you’re going to class or to work?
  • How long those classes are?
  • How heavy the workload will be?

How long is the program?

Study abroad programs can vary from a couple of weeks to up to a year or longer. In many cases though a typical study abroad program will last you a semester (or two summer semesters). If you have never been outside the country you might consider one of the shorter sessions which are only a summer semester or two. 

However, if you truly want to get the most out of a study abroad experience I would advise to go for at least one long semester. You’ll just be able to see and do a lot more and get way more out of the experience. This is especially true if you’re trying to pick up a language. 

Weekly schedule

The weekly schedule for study abroad programs can vary dramatically. The schedule might mirror what you would do in a lot of universities with the schedule going from Monday through Thursday or Monday through Friday.

Or it could be like the time when I did a study abroad in London and I only had class on Wednesdays. In many cases, you should be able to customize your schedule to a degree and you can do whatever you feel is most comfortable.

When choosing your weekly schedule you’ll need to know a lot about the transportation options and also the costs associated with those so that you can minimize your transportation costs. Also, consider how often you plan to travel. If you plan on getting out and doing a lot of traveling then you may want to double up your classes so that you only go to class a couple of days a week. 

How long are the classes

If you’re an experienced college student you probably have experience with different types of classes that range from one hour to a couple of hours. Sometimes study abroad classes can have some long courses that you may not be accustomed to so just check to see how long you are expected to remain in class. 

Also, many study abroad programs involve independent study work. So in some cases you may have to have good time management to complete a thesis or similar project.

The workload

You definitely need to know what you’re getting yourself into when it comes to the workload when studying abroad. Some students seek out study abroad program so that they can travel and explore a country or region as much as possible (guilty). In those cases, those students obviously are going to want lighter workloads (guilty, again).

But in some cases you might be headed to a country to do some serious work and you might prefer a workload that is more substantive. It might be difficult to get a straight answer on this from the study abroad program since a lot of programs don’t really want to admit that their program is kind of a joke (academically speaking).

So the best way to do this research is to reach out to former students who have gone through the program before and really ask them about the course workload. Many times there are Facebook groups or similar groups that you can find full of people that were doing the program in the years before. 

Great Ocean Road — Study Abroad in Australia 2011.

Program size

Another big consideration is how big is the program? Basically, you want to have an idea of how many other students from the program that you are going to be accompanied with during your study abroad experience.

Some programs can be very small and consist of only one or two people while others can be much larger groups with students from all over. I like study abroad groups that consist of around 7 to 10 people because it gives you a good mix of people to bond with and it’s not so large that it becomes a logistical nightmare. 

If you find yourself in a very small group then you can also look into reaching out to other study abroad groups and perhaps linking up. You might not be sharing classes with them but you still might be able to go with them on certain excursions and trips on the weekends, etc.

Traveling with a group is the way to go.

Choosing a location

Many colleges and universities will offer different locations for their study abroad programs. Trust me on this, you want to make sure that you are going to a destination where you will feel comfortable. 

Here are some considerations about choosing a location:

  • Will you be comfortable in the climate?
  • Is the country and city you will be based and safe?
  • Does the area have any special connection to the type of work you want to do?
  • Will it be easy to get out and explore other destinations?
  • How expensive is the cost-of-living?


If you are going to be venturing to a climate that you are not experienced with you should be prepared for a major adjustment. For example, moving to somewhere where it is going to be very cold can be quite a shock and make your life miserable if you don’t have any experience in a truly cold climate.

Not only that, but you will have the added expense of having to purchase things that you will need to wear such as thicker jackets, boots, gloves, beanies, etc. And then you will have less room in your suitcase which means you may be paying more in baggage fees. 

Other situations you might want to avoid are going somewhere during the rainy season, hurricane season, etc. If you do decide to challenge the elements, just make sure you’re prepared.   

Is it safe

You should always read what the latest warnings are by the US Department of State. You can read about how to interpret those ratings here. Basically, you don’t want to just look at whether or not a country is safe but you want to look at whether or not the specific city that you are going to be living in is safe and where the local Consulate is. 

And beyond recommendations from the government, you want to also do some personal investigation for websites like Reddit, forums, and as as many blogs as possible. The program you are signing up with should be able to provide you with a lot of guidance on safety recommendations as well. 

Almost every major city is going to have its sketchy parts so always be informed about were not to go. And of course, common sense goes a long way when it comes to avoiding getting mugged and robbed.

Special connection

In some cases the city that you will be living in may have a special connection to the type of work you want to do. For example, if you were trying to get into the international financial sector, places like London, Singapore, and Hong Kong would be a fantastic.

Other cities are known for being hubs for industries like energy or medicine, science, etc. And then of course there are the party hubs…. Study abroad in Ibiza anyone? 

At locations with known industry hubs, you might be able to attend certain events or network with people that are leaders in the industry and those experiences and relationships might be able to take you very far in your career. You might even be able to pick up an internship or real job, so this should be a very important factor in the decision for those trying to get an edge with their career. 

Exploring other destinations

One of my favorite things to do when studying abroad was to take breaks and explore other countries and cities. This is very easy to do in regions like Europe but much more difficult and expensive whenever staying in a place like Australia.

So you really want to consider how much exploring do you want to do and do you want to venture to other countries or will you be content with going in depth in the city or in a smaller region. Both approaches can be equally rewarding.

The cost-of-living

The cost of living is going to be a major consideration whenever you choose to go somewhere. This will likely most impact you when it comes to housing and for food. If you want to compare your cost of living where you currently live to where you are going to be you can use a tool like this. 

Cost of living can vary dramatically for study aboard locations.


You absolutely need to have your housing situation figured out before you ever depart on your study abroad trip. If you are going through a legitimate study abroad program they should help you to figure out your housing situation before you ever depart.

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

Host family/home stay

Staying with a host family can be a fantastic way to actually learn a language when studying abroad. In fact, I would argue that if you are trying to pick up another language and you are not staying with a host family you are missing out on a lot. 

The drawback to doing this is that you will be living with a family that you have no idea who they are. You might have limited privacy and it’s possible that the house that they offer might not be ideally suited to you. If you are committed to staying abroad for a very long time and that could be a major issue/borderline disaster.

But on the plus side, you will be able to create a close relationship with complete strangers. By the end of your study abroad, you will probably feel like a member of their family (if all things went well). And that is a really cool feeling.

Also, a lot of host families may even take care of most of your meals. When I did a study abroad in Oaxaca I stayed with a host family and my host family cooked breakfast and dinner every single day for me and I was able to enjoy local cuisine. They also took care of me when I wasn’t feeling too great. It truly was a fantastic experience. 

Designated dormitories

Sometimes they may have designated dormitories or other facilities for you to use. This can be a fun way to interact and connect with other students. This could include students that are part of your program and also students with the local college or university. Food might even be included with some. 

The drawback here would of course be the same potential drawback of staying in a dormitory in the US. For example, it is possible that the dorm may be small, you may have to share showers, bathrooms etc. So once again research is key. 

Finding your own housing

Other times they may leave it up to you to choose where you would like to stay. This is great for people who are able to put the time in to find a good place. If you get lucky you might be able to find a great deal and you also might be able to find a prime location like a place right next to the beach or right next to your school or work.

The drawback here is that it could get quite expensive if you don’t find a bargain and also there is the risk of you getting scammed. 

My advice would be to see where other members of your group are staying and try to stay with them or as close to them as possible. It’s also a good idea to get a roommate or two to cut down on costs.

You obviously want to factor in how close or far you will be from your school or from your job site. And then you want to figure out how the local transportation will work especially if you will be using public transportation. Remember each trip on the commute can add up. 

One thing to think about when it comes to housing is what type of options you will have to cook your own food. Food can quickly add up as one of your most expensive purchases when studying abroad so if you are able to go and buy groceries and bring them back to your place and cook them you can start saving a lot of money. It is also just a fun experience to go out and explore grocery stores and other countries.

Tip: Don’t be opposed to staying in a hostel for your study abroad experience. They can be extremely economical and some can be pretty nice.

View from our hostel in Bondi Beach, Australia.

Financial aid

Financial aid for study abroad programs can come in many different forms. Many times, a program will offer a couple of grants or scholarships so you definitely want to apply for those even if you don’t think you have a great chance.

And then there are other scholarships that are specifically for study abroad so you want to look into those as well.

List courtesy NAFSA.

If you are not able to get any scholarships or grants then you might go to student loan route. This is not a bad route to go in the process for getting financial aid can be very similar to the process for getting it for your typical university. Just remember that you don’t have to accept all of the financial aid offered to you.  

Student Discounts

When you are studying abroad there will be a lot of opportunities for you to save money based on your student status. At many establishments, you can get a discount just by showing your student ID. You might also think about getting the ISIC Card (International Student Identification Card) which allows you to get discounts and benefits in over 125,000 locations.

Here are some other discounts to consider:



  • Many places like the UK may offer you a discount on train tickets or train passes if you are a student. 


  • With cards like the ISIC card, you can get discounts at many restaurants. 


  • With cards like the ISIC card, you can also get discounts on many activities like tours, museums, etc. 

Travel insurance

When you are traveling abroad you want to consider getting good travel insurance. There are basically two different types of insurance you want to get.

The first and most important is medical insurance so that if you ever need to visit a doctor or emergency room you can have coverage. Many study abroad programs will require you to have this and a lot of colleges or universities may already have an insurance program that you can simply enroll in. 

Here are some other programs to look into:

The second is travel insurance that allows you to get refunded whenever the unexpected happens such as whenever you have tickets canceled, baggage lost, etc. Sometimes you can get both of these different types of insurance coverages in one single package, but a great way to get these type of protections is to go with a good travel credit card.

Cell phones

It’s a very good idea to make sure that you will have cell phone service at all times when you are traveling abroad. You simply never know what type of unexpected situations that arise and having cell phone service at all times we’ll make you feel less stressed and your family will thank you for this well.

Check with your cell phone provider to see what your international data plan is. Some providers may allow you to go about using your phone as you normally would while abroad with some pretty reasonable pricing. Others will charge you an arm and a leg. 

In some cases you may just go ahead and purchase a phone abroad and that might be the easier way to go. You can buy a cheap phone just to accomplish simple tasks like text and calling. Or you could get a smart phone that can do everything your normal smartphone can do. Personally, I would go for a phone that has maps and GPS because that will make your life so much easier.

In other cases, you may just want to purchase an international Sim card and then insert that into your phone while you are abroad. Your phone may need to be unlocked before this works so always look into that. 

Studying abroad as an LGBT person 

Studying abroad as an LGBT person or minority can present some challenges but also advantages. As a gay person, I found being in a foreign country to be the perfect time to begin the coming out process. The world is evolving fast on LGBT rights and many places will be more welcoming than you might expect.

At the same time, you should definitely do your research to make sure your destination has a good reputation for treating gay people right. A few Google searches can help you find LGBT friendly places but it never hurts to dig a little deeper on Reddit and other websites. 

Here are some questions you might want to ask: 

  • What is the tolerance level in the host country? 
  • What laws govern the LGBTIQ community?
  • Are there norms and behavioral expectations?
  • What resources and support are available in my host country? In my host institution? With the program Study Center?
  • Are there tolerant establishments?
  • Are there any LGBTIQ newspapers, magazines, or local online resources available?
  • Is it safe for me to be “out” when I am abroad?
  • How open do I want to express my sexuality and gender identity while abroad? 
  • Do I want to be open about my sexuality and/or gender identity with my host family, professors, local friends, or others that I meet?
  • Are topics related to sexual orientation and gender identity openly discussed or more taboo in my host country?
  • Will I be staying with a host family who may or may not be accepting of my gender or sexual identity?

Questions via UCEAP.

Getting the most out of your experience

There are several things you can do to make sure you get the most out of your study abroad experience.

  • Stay on top of your finances
  • Try to learn the language
  • Continuously step out of your comfort zone
  • Embrace the relationships
  • Don’t be stupid
  • Soak up every second

Stay on top of your money

It can be really easy to lose track of your expenses when you’re studying abroad. Sometimes it has to do with the conversion rates, or just being out of your element but make sure that you stay on top of your money situation. If possible, try to work out the situation with your University where you can pay for your expenses like housing upfront so that you don’t have that money to potentially squander down the road. 

Be strategic about pulling out money from banks and ATMs since you might be getting hit with the additional fees and conversion rate fees. Also, it is a very good idea to have a credit card with you just in case you needed for emergencies.

Learn the language

If you are traveling to another country that speaks a different language then even if you are not focused on learning that language you absolutely should try to learn a lot about the language. Being immersed in a culture is by far the easiest method for picking up the language and you will seriously regret it if you don’t at least try to give it a shot.

Comfort zone

When I did a study abroad in Australia I really made a lot of breakthroughs in life. It had to do with a lot of factors but mostly it had to do with me choosing to step out of my comfort zone on a daily basis. In the end, it culminated with me doing things that I never thought I would ever do like scuba diving and even skydiving.

Doing those things showed me that I was capable of pushing past my fears and worries and capable of accomplishing things that I never envisioned for myself. It’s absolutely was a life lesson as cliché as it sounds. 


If you are doing a study abroad program with a group, there is a great chance for you to create relationships. This could be relationships with friends or who knows you may even create a romantic relationship (I’ve seen it happen myself). 

At the same time, you need to be careful about your existing relationships and how studying abroad might affect them. I’ve seen study abroad experiences become the catalyst for a break up. So it’s a good idea to make sure that you and your partner at the time are on the same terms before you depart for your study abroad.

Don’t be stupid

I’ve seen a lot of things happen while studying abroad. Some of the events are on the crazier side of things like bribing cops so that they don’t get locked up abroad and other times it was a little bit less dramatic. Make sure that you don’t do anything that you are going to regret, especially if you’re traveling to a destination that has a zero tolerance policy.

Soak up every second

Depending on where life takes you, it’s possible that your study abroad experience can be one of the only times that you are able to get out and travel in that fashion. Many people get tied up in their careers or their family and are just not able to ever get back out and explore a country for weeks or months at a time.

Maybe you’ll end up becoming a travel blogger or some other career focused with travel but chances are that it may not happen and so you absolutely need to soak up every second of your experience. 

Final word

Doing a study abroad is absolutely a way to change your life. The experiences, relationships, and just the general feeling of accomplishment that studying abroad allows you to experience is something invaluable. Hopefully, this guide will help you to make the most out of your experience and you will have an unforgettable time. 


Guide to Visiting Airports & Flying with Vision Impairments

Traveling with a disability can be extremely stressful and when you’re dealing with vision impairments, navigating through a bustling airport can be a true challenge. But there are a number of laws and procedures in place that can make this experience much less stressful and daunting.

In this article, I’m going to provide some helpful information and tips for traveling through airports and taking flights while visually impaired. I’ll explain how to notify the airlines regarding your limitations and what type of assistance you can expect to receive for yourself or for someone you’re helping to assist.

Disclosure: This article contains NO sponsorships or affiliate related products in any way.

In the case of flying with a disability, the law is definitely on your side. In fact, the Air Carrier Access Act (Title 14 CFR § 382) has you covered in many different areas and I’ll highlight a few of these key summary points taken from the DOT.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Can’t be refused transportation

  • Airlines may not refuse transportation to people on the basis of disability.
  • Airlines may exclude anyone from a flight if carrying the person would be “inimical” (detrimental) to the safety of the flight.
  • If a carrier excludes a person with a disability on safety grounds, the carrier must provide a written explanation of the decision.

Notification not required

  • Airlines may not require advance notice that a person with a disability is traveling. Air carriers may require up to 48 hours’ advance notice for certain accommodations that require preparation time (like a respirator hook-up).

No limitations on disabled persons

  • Airlines may not limit the number of persons with disabilities on a flight.

Solo travel allowed

  • Airlines may not require a person with a disability to travel with another person, except in certain limited circumstances where the rule permits the airline to require a safety assistant.

Seat selection

  • Airlines may not keep anyone out of a specific seat on the basis of disability, or require anyone to sit in a particular seat on the basis of disability, except to comply with FAA safety requirements (like exit rows).

There are also special protections for service animals but I’ll talk about those in-depth below.

Know your legal rights and protections under Title 14 CFR § 382.

Notify the airlines

While advanced notice to the airlines is not required, if you need any level of assistance it helps if you notify agents regarding your needs at the various stages through the airport, such as ticketing, baggage, security, and boarding. In fact, many airlines insist on you doing this.

For example, Southwest states:

Customers who are blind or have low vision and require assistance must identify themselves and the type of assistance they require upon arrival at the airport, at the gate, onboard the aircraft, at any connection points, and at the destination.

But before you ever arrive at the airport, you also should indicate on your flight reservation that you’ll be in need of assistance for vision impairment.

Most airlines allow you to do this at the time of making your reservation. Typically, you’ll need to do this by finding a special tab to click on on the page where you will input your personal details, such as your name and contact information.

To give you a sense of what to expect, I’ll show you how to do this for each major domestic airline below.

Alaska Airlines

After selecting your travel dates and your fare, continue through the booking process until you get to the page requesting passenger details. There will be a tab that says “Request Services.”

Click on that and then there will be a pop-window with more options. You’ll need to select “Blind / low vision.”

American Airlines

After selecting your travel dates and your fare, continue through the booking process until you get to the page requesting passenger details. There will be a tab that says “Add special assistance.”

Click on that and then there will be a pop-window with more options. You’ll need to select “Special assistance needed at the airport” and then “Blind / low vision assistance.”


Delta does things different from the other US airlines. For sighted assistance, fill out the Accessibility Service Request form in “My Trips” after you have made your reservation. Once you access that request form, you’ll se the fields that you need to select as shown below. With Delta, you can request the specific type of assistance needed.

Also, though not required, Delta does request that customers notify them if they are traveling with a service animal.


After selecting your flight and the fare, you’ll be taken to a page to enter in your personal details. This is also the page where you can indicate that you’ll need special assistance. Check the box for “I’d like to add a special request for this traveler” and then select the drop down menu for “Special Service Request” where you can select “Visually Impaired.”


After selecting your flight and the fare, you’ll be taken to a page to enter in your personal details. This is also the page where you can use the “Special Assistance” link to indicate that you require assistance. If you’re making a booking you’ll find this option on the “Passenger & Payment Info” page as shown below.


After selecting your flight and the fare, you’ll be taken to a page to enter in your personal details. This is also the page where you can indicate that you’ll need special assistance. Simply click on the field to enter the passenger information and then you’ll see a drop-down menu near the bottom for “Special travel needs (Optional).”

If you have a disability and require special seating to accommodate your disability, you will have an opportunity to request special seating through Manage Reservations or by going to United’s seating accommodations webpage after you have completed your reservation.

Getting through the airport on your own

If you’re planning on traveling through the airport solo, you might want to do some research on the layout of the airport to the extent possible.

It will be a good idea to get familiar with:

  • The airport terminals
  • Different levels of the terminals 
  • Check-in areas 
  • Help desks 
  • Security
  • Bathrooms
  • Food courts and restaurants 
  • Shops

Start by locating the terminal for the airport that you’re flying in and then mentally map out where you might need to go. Once you’re checked in, you should be able to see your gate but note that the gate locations are subject to change.

Also, get a sense of what type of transportation exists between terminals. Sometimes you can walk between terminals without an issue but other times you’ll have to exit the airport and then re-enter through security. Also, some airports will have automated people movers so you won’t have to do as much walking.

You might also want to look into the Nearby Explorer App with its “Indoor Explorer” feature that acts like an audio guide that can tell you exactly where you are in an airport, step by step. 

Another program is Aira, which allows you to get real-time assistance via smart glasses and smartphone software that connects to remote live agents.

Getting assistance through the airport

There are two main ways you might get assistance through the airport when flying. The first is with a non-passenger escort which is likely someone that you know and can trust that can assist you and the second is by requesting special assistance from an airline agent.

I’ll go over both of these below.

Non-passenger escort

A non-passenger escort pass (NPE) is a special pass that allows someone to accompany you through TSA security who is not flying. This is offered not only to the disabled but also to minors and even to military personnel heading out to war zones.

With an NPE, a companion can accompany you all the way up to boarding and they also can accompany you from the point of arrival at the gate. They will need to show a government-issued ID at the ticket counter and it’s best if the two of you are together and they have your itinerary details.

Two important things you need to note about NPEs:

  • If the flight arrival occurs after security checkpoint has closed for the evening, then the airline will not be able to provide a NPE pass. So always consider the timing of flights and try to schedule flight arrivals for normal business hours if possible if you think you’ll be in need of an NPE pass.
  • Also, NPEs are NOT issued for people meeting passengers on incoming international flights back into the US, due to customs and immigration rules and regulations.
Anon-passenger escort can help you navigate through the terminals all the way to the boarding gate.

Assistance from an airline agent

Airlines allow you to receive assistance during every step of your travel including:

  • From the point of arrival at the airport’s curb
  • Check-in
  • Security
  • Traveling through the terminal
  • Locating connections 
  • Boarding
  • Arrival 
  • Luggage 
  • Getting to pick-up

You just need to make sure you that you put the airline on notice that you will be traveling with a vision impairment with the steps described above. In addition to putting the airlines on notice via your reservation, you should feel free to call them at any time to clear up any questions that you might have.

You can also contract TSA Cares for disability-related questions:

  • Email TSA Cares
  • Call them at: (855) 787-2227 (Call 72 hours prior to traveling)
Assistance from the airlines can begin at the point of arriving at the airport.

Traveling with your mobility cane

If you depend on a mobility cane to any degree, you’ll want to think about a few things when making your way through the airport.

Getting through security

Your mobility cane may have to be put through the x-ray machine when making your way through security. However, TSA should give you your cane back before you have to proceed through the metal detector.

This means you can use your cane to get through the metal detector, but if you set off the detector you’ll likely be subject to a body scan with a hand metal detector/wand along with a pat down and your cane might be inspected/swabbed.

If you want to avoid this you can request a TSA agent to guide you through the metal detector without your cane and you won’t be subject to additional screening unless you trigger the alarm. Your cane will likely still be inspected or x-rayed, though.

Storing your cane onboard

Once you’ve boarded, you may not be able to store your cane in the overhead bin if it’s too long. In those cases, you’ll want to store it under the seat in front of you.

If you take a window seat you can utilize the wall of the plane (fuselage) and store your cane along the wall. This will help it to not interfere with other passengers — just try to keep a foot on it to keep it from sliding up and down the cabin during take-off and landing.

Another option could be the closet found in some cabins for coats. Simply ask the flight attendant if that’s a possibility and they should be able to bring it back to you just before arrival.

When in doubt

If you’re not fully dependent on your cane, you might still consider bringing it with you because many report that traveling with a white cane make life easier because it puts others on notice of your potential sight limitations.

Some find that it also adds “legitimacy” for those who only have limited eyesight impairments since some people can unfortunately be reluctant to acknowledge your disability without “proof.”

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

Service animals/guide dogs

Airlines will allow your guide dogs to fly with you for no additional cost.

Most airlines classify service animals as those who have been trained to perform a specific task to assist the customer traveling such as pathfinding, providing stability, alerting to sounds, etc. So animals trained to assist with vision impairments certainly fall into this category.

According to 14 CFR § 382.117, the airlines are required to accept the following types of identifications for service animals:

  • Identification cards
  • Other written documentation
  • Presence of harnesses
  • Tags
  • Credible verbal assurances of a qualified individual with a disability using the animal

However, if they refuse to accept your guide dog, the airline must explain the reason for the decision to the passenger and document it in writing. A copy of the explanation must be provided to you either at the airport, or within 10 calendar days of the incident.

There are also a couple of additional protections that you have:

  • Airlines can’t deny a service animal on the basis that it may offend or annoy passengers
  • Airlines must permit the service animal to accompany you at any seat, unless exceptions apply
  • If a service animal cannot be accommodated at your seat, the airlines must offer you the opportunity to move with the animal to another seat location, if present on the aircraft, where the animal can be accommodated.

Read more about laws governing service animals here

Typically, the restrictions for service animals are lower than those for emotional support animals. For example, you typically have to submit paperwork 48 hours prior to departure for emotional support animals and are limited to a single animal.

The restrictions for service animals are pretty similar across the board but below are some of the key points for the service animal policies for the different airlines. Also, if you want to look more in-depth at each airline you can follow the link at the bottom of each section to the webpage dedicated to service animals. 

Alaska Airlines

  • Trained service animals or emotional support animals travel for free.
  • The size of the animal must not exceed the footprint or personal space of the guest’s seat or foot area during the entire flight.
  • Service animals or emotional support animals must be under the control of the owner at all times in the airport and onboard the aircraft.
  • If your dog or cat is in an approved carrier, it must be stowed under the seat in front of you for taxi, take off, and landing, in accordance with FAA regulations.
  • Service animals or emotional support animals are expected to be seated on the floor space below a guest’s seat or, if no larger than an infant, seated in the guest’s lap, if needed to accommodate your disability.

Read more about the Alaska Airlines requirements for service animals here.

American Airlines

  • Animals must be able to fit at your feet, under your seat or in your lap (animals to be seated on lap must be smaller than a 2-year old child).
  • For safety reasons, you won’t be able to sit in an exit row when traveling with your service or emotional / psychiatric support animal.
  • On flights over 8 hours, documentation is required stating your animal won’t need to relieve itself or can do so in a way that doesn’t create a health or sanitation issue.

Read more about the American requirements for service animals here.


Delta has the following recommendations when it comes to service animals:

  1. Travel with the animal’s Veterinary Health Form or Immunization Record on your person
  2. While not required, we request passengers fill out the  Trained Service Animal PDF (submit at least 48 hours before your flight)
  3. Upload it to My Trips through the Accessibility Service Request Form
  • On Delta flights, service and support animals are expected to be seated in the floor space below a passenger’s seat or seated in a passenger’s lap.
  • The size of the animal must not exceed the “footprint” of the passenger’s seat.
  • Service and support animals under four months of age are not allowed on any flight due to rabies vaccination requirements.

Read more about the Delta requirements for service animals here.


Here’s what JetBlue has for its service animal requirements:

  • Please add the animal to your reservation when booking online or notify JetBlue at 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583) of the animal’s travel.
  • If you are traveling with more than one service animal, JetBlue will make every reasonable effort to accommodate the space needed.
  • Your animal(s) must fit within the footprint of your seat(s).
  • All animals must remain on the floor; however, if the animal is no larger than a lap infant and is well-behaved, circumstances may permit the animal to remain in your lap.
  • Service animals in training are not accepted for travel on JetBlue.

Read more about the JetBlue requirements for service animals here.


Southwest Airlines welcomes trained dogs, cats, and miniature horses as service animals onboard our flights as long as the Customer is able to provide credible verbal assurance that the animal is a trained service animal. Southwest Airlines does not accept unusual or exotic species of animals.

Read more about the Southwest requirements for service animals here.


  • The animal is expected to be seated in the floor space below your seat
  • The animal should not extend into the aisles
  • The animal must behave properly in public and should follow directions from its owner
  • Contact the United Accessibility Desk at 1-800-228-2744 if you have any questions or special requirements

Read more about the United requirements for service animals here.

International travel with service animals

NOTE: If you are traveling out of the country or to Hawaii you need to be careful about special requirements regarding quarantine of your animals.

You should contact the appropriate consulate or embassy at least four weeks before departure to make sure that all necessary procedures are followed. You might need to abide by these regulations even if you are just passing through an airport.

To check on the requirements for visiting foreign countries with animals you can check the USDA website here.

Getting through security with your service animal

Once you approach the TSA screening area, be sure to notify them that your animal is a service animal so that there is no confusion (even if it should be obvious).

You can choose which way you think it best for getting through TSA security with your service animal. You basically have three options:

  • Allow your dog to go through first (preferably while on a leash)
  • Allow your dog to go through after your (preferably while on a leash)
  • Go through security together (holding your animal or with it on a leash)

Try to suggest your preferred method to the TSA agents if they don’t recommend it.

If you walk through together and the metal detector goes off you and your service animal will be subject to additional screening, including pat downs and the animal will be subject to the inspection described below.

If the animal sets the alarm off by itself, it will be subject to a closer inspection. The TSA agent should request your permission to inspect your animal and then proceed to take a close look at it, including items like its leash, collar, harness, backpacks, vest, etc.

You should not have to remove any of those items from the animal but if there are screening issues, they might (in rare circumstances) request for you to remove some of those items. 

When dealing with TSA, try to be as patient and polite as possible but if you run into issues with security consider the section below for resolving those.

Also, you might want to consider programs like TSA Pre-Check and CLEAR which will generally allow you to avoid longer lines and get through security much quicker for a much less painful experience.

Tip: There is a  “Where to Go” app for Apple or Android that can help you find airport dog relief areas.

Complaint Resolutions Official (CRO)

Each air carrier is required to have one or more designated Complaint Resolutions Official (CRO) on site or available by phone. The officer should have a thorough understanding of the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) and the carrier’s policies and procedures related to 14 CFR Part 382, which can cover things like: services, facilities, and accommodations for passengers with disabilities.

So this is someone who is there to help to resolve any issues you might encounter when navigating through the airport related to your disability. For example, if you are given trouble regarding a guide dog or because you’re traveling with some type of medical equipment, you may want to request to see a CRO.

You’ll first want to try to resolve the issue with a TSA agent/airline’s agent or a “passenger support specialist”/supervisor but if you’re not able to do that and you don’t feel like the conversation is going to go anywhere then request to contact a CRO.


Airlines should allow you to board first before any other passenger boarding groups. However, you need to make sure to notify the airlines prior to your flight so that they will be on notice to provide you with this privilege.

You might also request for the airline to give you time to become acquainted with the plane so that you can get a feel for your proximity to the lavatory and the emergency exit. (As someone with a pre-boarding disability, you won’t be allowed to sit in the emergency exit rows to prevent any potential issues).

Before your flight, it’s also a good idea to check Google Flights or your itinerary to see what type of aircraft you’ll be flying on. You can then check a website like SeatGuru to view the layout of the airplane cabin. You can memorize exactly how many seats you’ll be from the lavatory and emergency exit row and that should help you make your way through the cabin easier.

You can also request for assistance with things like snack and drink menus and request an emergency card in braille if needed.


Before embarking on your flight, there are a few things that you can do to make things easier for retrieving your luggage.

Obviously, the first thing you might want to consider is only taking a carry-on with you to avoid the hassle of picking up luggage in the first place.

Many airlines don’t impose a strict limit on the weight of your carry-on so as long as you fit your belongings in your carry-on bag and/or personal items bag (such as a small backpack) and the weight isn’t ridiculous, you won’t have to worry about checking bags.

Be on the lookout for basic economy fares though since those make you pay for carry-ons, as do some low-cost carriers, such as Frontier and Spirit.

I would suggest going with luggage that sticks out in color and that you could easily describe to someone (e.g., “the large orange bag with white stripes” or something along those lines). Or perhaps you have a special luggage tag that you know the feel of.

Another tip is to look into a “luggage locator” which allows you to set up a transmitter in your bag that beeps when you get in close proximity.

And don’t forget, the airlines will assist you with getting your luggage if needed.

Final word

As you can see, traveling through the airport and flying with a vision impairment doesn’t have to be as daunting of a task as you might think it could be. But you need to take the necessary steps to make sure things will go smoothly like seeking out assistance if needed and notating your disability on your boarding pass if needed.


Comprehensive Military Airline Benefits and Discount Guide [2020]

US airlines offer a range of benefits for military members who are currently serving our country and for those military members who helped to protect and serve our nation in the past. You might be surprised by some of the benefits these airlines offer that can go well beyond a couple of free checked bags.

In this article, I will go over military airfare discounts and benefits given out by each of the major US airlines in detail and highlight all of the different types of savings available to you. 

Military airfare discounts

Most US airlines will have a small discount when it comes to flying with that airline. Each airline has a different program to get the discount, but I will go over what type of discounts one can receive if they are active military or a veteran.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Alaska Airlines

Special military fares are available in certain markets for active duty military personnel.

The special military fares are available to military personnel that is on official excused absence, discharged from active duty (travel must be completed within 7 days of discharge), and military reserves on active duty. Immediate family members (spouse, children, parents) are eligible for the special military fares.

The only way to book special military fares is by calling Alaska.

  • Reservations 1-800-252-7522
  • Hearing and speech impaired (TTY) dial 711
  • Accessible services 1-800-503-0101

The military passenger must present a valid active ID card or separation papers for travel within 7 days of discharge.

Family members must be a legal relative, present proper ID and docs at check-in. Dependents 10 or older must present a tan Uniform Services Dependent Identification and Privilege Card marked “active” at check-in. If the name is different, more docs are required.

Veterans and active duty military personnel are able to receive a 3% discount through Veterans Advantage. The discount is available on all routes (except routes to SCC), no blackout dates, no limit to how many tickets, works with one-way or roundtrip tickets, and up to 5 companions on the same itinerary. You will have to provide your VetRewards number during booking.

Did you know? While you’re in the air, show your military ID to a flight attendant for a 15% discount on snacks from the menu.

Allegiant Air

Allegiant doesn’t give military discounts on airfare. However, Allegiant does have a bunch of benefits for active duty, reserve, and National Guard passengers that you can find under the benefits section of the article.

American Airlines

AA doesn’t have an official page for military discounts. However, AA does offer airfare discounts to active duty personnel and their dependents on select routes. You will have to call AA to receive the discount and have proper documentation ready.

  • Reservations 1-800-433-7300
  • Hearing and speech impaired (TTY) dial 711

Delta Airlines

Only available for active duty military personnel, Delta has special discounts on fares. The fares are subject to availability and you have to call the Military and Government Desk M-F 8:30 to 17:30 EST 1-800-325-1771.

If there is a war-injured immediate family member or domestic partner, aka medical emergency, then immediate family such as spouses, domestic partners, children, parents, siblings, step-siblings, stepchildren, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and laws are eligible for medical emergency fares by calling the Military and Government Desk.

Frontier Airlines

Sadly, Frontier doesn’t give military discounts on airfare. However, Frontier does have a bunch of benefits for active duty passengers flying with them that I wrote about under the benefits section of the article.

Hawaiian Airlines

For anyone enrolled in Veterans Advantage, you are eligible for a 5% discount on any Hawaiian flight. This means U.S. Active Duty Military, Retired Military, Veterans, National Guard and Reserve, and families are eligible for the discount.

One can book directly through the private link found on the Veterans Advantage website. Book any number of tickets without limitations, but mainland flights might be subject to blackout dates that changes each year. It’s best to check their terms and conditions on the link above for details regarding blackout dates.

JetBlue Airlines

Military Leisure Travel (MIL fares) is exclusively for active duty military personnel and their immediate family (spouse or children). The discount will give you 5% discount off the base fare. The fare is only available on regular JetBlue fares M, R, or V. Once those fares are gone, the MIL fare won’t exist anymore. Proof of name, branch of service, and military rank is needed to confirm the flight.

The MIL fare is only available if you call JetBlue.

  • Reservations 1-800-538-2583
  • Hearing and speech impaired (TTY) dial 711

U.S. Active Duty Military, Retired Military, Veterans, National Guard and Reserve, and family members enrolled in the Veterans Advantage can receive a 5% discount off any JetBlue flight. You will have to call the JetBlue number and provide them with your VetRewards number.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest doesn’t have an official page for their military discount. However, Southwest does have a military discount available if you call Southwest reservations. Their discount is subject to availability.

Eligible active duty military personnel and immediate family are able to receive the discount. Proof of military ID and papers will be needed. Southwest’s phone number for reservations is 1-800-435-9792.

Spirit Airlines

Similar to Allegiant and Frontier, Spirit is an ultra-low-cost carrier and does not offer military discounts on airfare. Spirit does provide other benefits if you’re in the military as described under benefits down below.

United Airlines

Similar to other full-service carriers, United offers a military leisure fare discount. It’s processed similarly to government fares and subject to availability. It can be done online and a valid ID will be needed. Active duty military personnel and immediate family are eligible for the discount.

United also offers a Veterans Advantage of up to a 5% discount. U.S. Active Duty Military, Retired Military, Veterans, National Guard and Reserve, and family members enrolled in the Veterans Advantage can receive the up to a 5% discount on airfare. You will have to provide your VetRewards number at booking. The routes are limited to US, Canada, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and Europe.

Military airline benefits

Not only does military personnel get discounts with some US carriers, but you’re also able to receive unique benefits from airlines.

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

Alaska Airlines

Alaska loves the military and they show their love by giving out benefits to the soldiers defending our country. Here are the benefits that are for active duty military personnel and their dependents while flying Alaska.

  • 5 free checked bags (up to 70 lbs each)
  • No charge for oversized baggage
  • 15% discount on food during the flight
  • Get onboard early
  • Discount for pet transfer

On top of the benefits listed above, a few lucky veterans will get complimentary travel on spacial planned tours of Washington DC.

With any of these benefits, one must show proof like an active military ID at check-in.

Allegiant Air

While Allegiant doesn’t provide any discounts to military personnel, they do offer substantial benefits that make the flying experience easier.

Benefits for active duty or reserve duty and the National Guard:

  • Up to 3 pieces of checked baggage (up to 100 lbs each)
  • 100 lbs weight limit for checked bags
  • No charge for oversized checked baggage
  • One carry-on bag
  • Free boarding pass printing at the airport
  • Free seat assignments
  • Up to one pet in cabin free
  • Active military may board with priority boarding at no charge
  • Active military will not be charged a change or cancelation fee due to a change in orders

With any of these benefits, one must show proof like an active military ID at check-in.

Benefits for U.S. military veterans and spouses or dependents of U.S. active duty or reserve military, and National Guard:

  • 3 pieces of checked baggage
  • 40 lbs weight limit for checked bags
  • No charge for oversized checked baggage
  • One carry-on bag
  • Free boarding pass printing at the airport
  • Free seat assignments
  • Up to one pet in cabin free

All these benefits will be added at check-in to get the fees waived.

For veterans and dependents, you must have an ID that shows proof of being a veteran or military dependent ID at check-in.

American Airlines

AA does have a unique benefit for military personnel besides waived baggage fees. Active duty military personnel and dependents (or up to 2 guests) can access Admirals Clubs for free and all you need is your military ID.

For active duty military personnel and dependents while traveling on orders, you get 5 checked bags for free. While traveling on leisure, you are able to check 3 bags for free. One must present a military ID at check-in.

Delta Airlines

Delta doesn’t go out of their way to offer benefits like Alaska, AA, or United does for military passengers. However, for active duty military personnel while traveling on orders get 5 checked bags for free up to 100 lbs and a total of 80 linear inches.

While traveling on leisure, you are able to check 2 bags for free up to 50 lbs and a total 62 linear inches.

On top of free bags, Delta offers preboarding to military personnel with a military ID at the gate.

You must present a military ID at check-in.

Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines provides free checked and carry-on baggage to active duty military personnel on an unlimited basis. You will not be able to get your baggage fees waived online and will instead have to get your baggage fees waived at the airport.

This benefit extends to spouses of military members so long as the active military member is traveling with them and the bags are under his or her name. One must present a military ID at check-in or be in uniform at check-in to add baggage to the itinerary.

Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian airlines benefits for active duty military personnel and dependents traveling on orders get 4 checked bags for free, up to 70 lbs and 80 linear inches. Dependents traveling without an active duty military family member must present the orders at check-in. While the military personnel must show a valid active duty military ID.

Traveling on leisure, you are able to check 2 bags for free, up to 50 lbs and 62 linear inches. For leisure travel, this benefit is only for the active military personnel and not for dependents. One must present an active duty military ID at check-in.

JetBlue Airlines

JetBlue offers two different military discounts, but they only provide free baggage for active duty military personnel. For active duty and their dependents traveling on orders get 5 checked bags for free. One must show travel orders and DoD Common Access Card at check-in.

Traveling for leisure you would receive 2 bags for free. You must show your DoD Common Access Card at check-in.

Southwest Airlines

Known to not charge for bags, Southwest is the only US carrier that doesn’t have a waiver for military personnel just because Southwest doesn’t charge for bags.

Southwest sometimes allows active duty military personnel to board early. Most of the time, Southwest will call out for military boarding and usually the only proof you need is the uniform or military ID.

However, this isn’t an official benefit and some gate agents won’t call out military boarding. Your mileage may vary.

Spirit Airlines

As an ultra-low-cost carrier, Spirit doesn’t provide a discount for military personnel. Spirit does waive baggage fees for active duty military personnel traveling on both orders and leisure. Spirit will provide 2 free checked bags and a free carry-on.

All you have to do is present your military ID at the check-in counter and the agent will add the bags to your reservation. Do, not add any bags to the reservation online during booking.

United Airlines

While flying on United flights, active duty military personnel and dependents in uniform or with present leave orders or rest and recuperation papers can access the United Club lounge. As always, make sure you have all the support documents that make you eligible for entry.

On top of that, United will waive 5 checked baggage fees for active duty military personnel and dependents on orders. Those bags can be up to 115 linear inches and 100 lbs each. Dependents traveling due to orders are still eligible.

For leisure travel, United will waive 3 checked baggage fees for active duty military personnel and depends. Those bags can be up to 62 linear inches and 70 lbs each. Dependents traveling alone are not eligible.

Free checked bags are a common benefit for military members.

USO Centers airport lounge

Also known as Freedom Center lounges, USO Centers are special lounges for military personnel and families to enter free of charge.

These airport lounges will usually have free snacks, beverages, TVs, and seating. Each USO lounge will have different amenities. Sometimes the lounge will have video games, sports tickets, theater-style rooms, and neck pillows all free of charge.

Some USO lounges will accept retirees while they will certainly always accept active duty military personnel. You can search for these lounge locations here. 

Image source USO

Other travel benefits

  • If you’re an active duty military personnel, some credit cards have lounge access. Credit cards like the popular Chase Sapphire Reserve and American Express Platinum Cards will waive your annual fee as long as you’re active duty within the military.
  • This can save you hundreds of dollars on premium cards. You’re also gaining lots of benefits and value out of these cards like gaining lounge access, travel credits, bonus points, hotel elite status, trip insurance, and many other unique benefits.
  • Free TSA-Check is available for active duty military personnel and immediate family members. All you need is a Department of Defense ID. Enter in your DOD ID in the Known Travel Number field on the airline’s website during booking.
  • If you want to receive benefits while flying, it’s only available on US airlines. For example, Lufthansa charges for bags even if you’re active duty. Chose your airline wisely.
  • If you are active duty, you can get a free annual national park pass.

Final word

It’s nice to see airlines offering discounts and other benefits for anyone in the military. Probably my favorite benefit would be the fact that United and American Airlines allow you to access the lounge. Having a lounge benefit adds a lot of value since you can have snacks, drink, take a shower, and relax before your flight.