The 6 Best Websites For Cheap, Discount Student Flights

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Knowing the best website to use when booking a flight can save you a bundle of money. And if you are a student, there are a bunch more places to look in addition to the sites that offer discounts to the rest of us.

With so many options, it can be a bit overwhelming to know where to find the best price for a student flight. Lucky for you, I’ve done all the research and compiled everything here — in one ultimate list of where to find the best student discounts on flights.

STA Travel

STA Travel is the world’s largest student and youth travel agency and has been around for nearly 40 years. They offer lots of services and products including flight deals, bus and rail passes, hotels and hostels, and travel insurance.

These STA deals are available to students, teachers, and travelers under 31 (although some deals are only available to those under 26).

STA Travel
STA Travel has been helping students travel since 1979. Image courtesy of STA Travel.

Best Price Guarantee

STA Travel is so confident in their prices that they offer a Price Beat Guarantee that applies to economy class international travel originating in the U.S.

Unlike most other online travel agencies’ price guarantees, the lower-priced fare must be presented to STA Travel before you purchase your flight. The great news is that if you do find a qualifying lower quote, STA will give you a $1,000 credit to use toward your trip.

Book Now Pay Later

Another great program offered by STA is the Book Now, Pay Later option. With this benefit, you can secure your flight with just a deposit — then pay the balance closer to your departure without any interest or fees.

Unfortunately this service is not available on domestic flights. The deposit is nonrefundable and can’t be transferred to another ticket if you choose not to fly.

Most deposits are $299, although they can sometimes be as low as $49. To book a flight with just a deposit, you will need to call an STA Travel Expert at 800-781-4040.

Blue Tickets

BlueTickets are flexible fares offering things like multiple stopovers and cheap date changes. These fares are only available for international fares (not including Canada).

STA Travel BlueTickets
Image courtesy of STA Travel.

Pros and Cons of STA Travel

Pros

  • Price Beat Guarantee offers generous compensation in the form of a $1,000 credit if you find a qualifying lower quote before you book your ticket
  • Book Now, Pay Later allows you to book your flight with only a deposit
  • BlueTickets offer flexibility and multi-city routes

Cons

Bottom Line: STA is the leader in student travel and has been around for almost 40 years. They offer students access to flights, hotels, bus and rail passes, and even insurance. When booking, look for perks like BlueTickets, Book Now Pay Later, and Price Beat Guarantee.

Student Universe

Student Universe offers flights, hotels, and tours to students and those under 26 years old. They offer flights from over 220 airlines worldwide.

Student Universe
Image courtesy of Student Universe.

You have to become a member to access exclusive discounts, but thankfully, it’s a free membership! However, if you don’t want to join as a member, you can still complete a booking as a guest.

Student Universe offers a referral program and is generous with promo codes — be sure to check out their promo code page to see everything that’s currently being offered.

Hot Tip: It’s always a good idea to check prices against other websites. I searched for a flight on Student Universe and found the same itinerary on Expedia for only $8 more. So, while this ticket was cheaper on Student Universe, the savings isn’t as drastic as you might expect.

Pros and Cons of Student Universe

Pros

  • Referral program earns you $20 toward your next flight when a friend books a flight
  • Plentiful promo codes are available right on the website

Cons

  • Booking fees
  • Savings over other websites can be minimal

Bottom Line: Student Universe offers discounted flights to students and young adults under 26. Keep an eye out for their promo codes to save some extra money.

CheapOair Student Fares

Did you know that CheapOair offers student fares? To access the student section of the website, select More in the top menu bar, then select Student Travel.

CheapOair Student Travel
Image courtesy of CheapOair.

Prices tend to be all over the map here. For example, I found a round-trip fare through CheapOair on Air Canada for $749.81. The same flights booked through Air Canada cost $1,380.82!

However, I found a similar itinerary on Expedia for $733. So, while the apples-to-apples comparison saves big bucks through CheapOair, in reality you could buy a similar ticket for less elsewhere.

CheapOair does have a Price Match Promise. If you find the exact same itinerary on another major online travel agency (Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline, or Travelocity) within 24 hours of booking, they will refund your money and cancel your reservation or offer you the difference in price.

Hot Tip: If you have to cancel your flight, CheapOair will charge a fee in addition to any airline fee you may be charged. You can avoid this fee if you purchase a “support package.”

Pros and Cons of CheapOair Student Fares

Pros

  • Available promo codes include discounts on the cost of a flight or service fees

Cons

  • Service fees of up to $35 on economy tickets, and up to $100 on business, first class, or multi-city trips
  • Cancellation fees will be charged unless you purchase a support package

Generation Fly

Generation Fly is an exclusive program for students through Lufthansa that guarantees the lowest prices on Lufthansa flights. In addition, they also host a social network that connects you with thousands of other student travelers.

Generation Fly
Image courtesy of Generation Fly.

To be eligible for Generation Fly fares, you need to meet 1 of the following requirements:

  • Be a student enrolled in college or university with a valid .edu email address
  • Be a youth traveler aged 12-25 with a valid .edu or K12.[State].US email address
    • If you are a student without a K12 email address, the site encourages you to “borrow” one from your teachers for registration purposes

You will need to also present a valid college or school ID when checking in for your flight.

The student fares offered by Generation Fly are guaranteed to be the lowest around, but they are only available on select routes. If a student fare is not available, a regular Lufthansa fare will be displayed.

Pros and Cons of Generation Fly

Pros:

  • Student fares can offer flexibility, including up to 1 year abroad plus 1 free date change

Cons:

  • Strict membership requirements to search for and book flights

Hot Tip: Not a student? No worries, we have you covered too. For a breakdown of all the pros and cons of the major online travel agencies out there check out our guide to The Best Websites for Booking Flights at the Cheapest Prices.

One Travel Student Fares

One Travel is a fairly typical OTA offering flights, hotels, and vacation packages.

They offer a Price Match Promise that is also typical of many OTAs — the lower fare ticket needs to be identical in every way and available to the public via a major online travel agency.

One Travel also offers student deals, but I found that going through their student section doesn’t actually offer any better deals than going through their main search box. That being said, there is the potential to save some serious money with this site.

I searched for a round-trip flight from the U.S to Paris, and One Travel offered a Value Deal for $692. (Value Deals are similar to Kayak’s Hacker Fares where your ticket will be comprised of multiple one-way tickets instead of 1 round-trip.)

Booking this way can save money, but these types of tickets can get complicated if you need to change your flights. Plus they often have less-than-stellar itineraries.

WebsitePrice For U.S to Paris Round-Trip Itinerary
One Travel$692
Priceline (Express Deal Opaque Booking)$711
Kayak$836
Orbitz$1,145
Expedia$1,169

As you can see in this search, One Travel offered the cheapest fare. It should be noted that the itinerary on this particular fare was pretty bad and consisted of 2 days of travel to get to Europe!

For many of us, that might be a deal breaker — but for a poor college kid just looking to travel as cheaply as possible, the savings could be worth it.

One Travel Credit Card

One Travel also offers their own credit card. Students might be tempted to apply to earn points on their purchases, but there are better options out there.

If you have some established credit, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which is a solid card that will work well for most people. This card usually offers a valuable sign-up bonus worth several hundred dollars.

Looking for more of a first-time rewards card?

Consider the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. This card earns 1.5% cash-back on all purchases and also offers a sign-up bonus, though it’s somewhat smaller (but with a lesser spending requirement).

Either of these cards will offer benefits above and beyond what the One Travel card can offer.

Hot Tip: If you are looking for a credit card geared specifically toward students, check out our guide to the Best Student Credit Cards (and How to Find Special Offers).

Pros and Cons of One Travel

Pros:

  • Value Deals — a bundle of one-way tickets that can save money over a round-trip fare
  • No requirements for using the student section of the website
  • Promo codes offered on website

Cons:

  • One Travel charges hefty booking fees ranging from $35-$150 per ticket
  • Student section doesn’t really offer discounts above and beyond the rest of the website

SmartFares

SmartFares is a little known online travel agency that, like One Travel, claims to offers student fares — but in reality they are the same as those offered on the non-student section of the website.

SmartFares
Image courtesy of SmartFares.

To test this site, I searched for a weeklong trip to London and came up with a price of $663. The next lowest price I found was found on Kayak for $687. So, there is definitely some potential to save money here.

The site claims to offer even lower pricing if you call customer support at 877-245-3755.

Pros and Cons of SmartFares

Pros

  • Free cancellation within 24 hours
  • Low fares

Cons

  • There are service fees on every ticket ranging from $30-$100
  • They charge for seat assignments on tickets that should include this cost (even business class tickets!)

    SmartFares seat assignment charge
    Be an informed consumer — SmartFares will charge you for a seat assignment on tickets that should include this at no extra cost! Image courtesy of SmartFares.

Final Thoughts

With so many online travel agencies out there, it can be overwhelming to know where to look for the best prices on student flights.

Unfortunately, there is no single right answer for every situation — it’s always smart to shop around for the best prices.

When looking for student discounts, start with websites that offer special student fares and coupon codes. You might be able to find a great deal that will get you traveling — even on a student budget!

 

P.S. If you liked this post, don’t miss our article — The Best Websites for Student Discounts on Hostels & Hotels.


Featured Image Credit: nd3000/Shutterstock

FAQ

Do airlines offer student discounts on flights?

Most airlines don’t directly offer student discounts on flights anymore. Lufthansa is one exception — they offer student flights through Generation Fly. The requirements to book through Generation Fly include having a valid .edu or K12.[State].US email address.

Do I have to be a student to book a student fare?

It depends on the website. Some sites like STA Travel offer deals to teachers and any travelers under 31 in addition to students. Other sites like Generation Fly require you to be a student with a valid email address, while sites like SmartFares and One Travel don’t require you to be a student at all.

Can you use Student Universe if you aren't a student?

Yes, Student Universe offers their services to students and any travelers under the age of 26. You need to register on their site to access discounted pricing.

Katie Seemann

About Katie Seemann

Katie is an Ohio native who caught the travel bug after spending a semester in college in Nottingham, England. In addition to exploring England, she visited Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands during that time and loved every minute of it (everything except the hostel in Scotland - that's an experience she doesn't intend on repeating!). In late 2015, Katie discovered the world of points and miles, and it literally changed her life.

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