Being a university student is a curious paradox, in the sense that you have more time to explore the world, but less money with which to do so. With this in mind, several airlines offer students discounts and/or perks to help enable such youthful exploration. These are particularly useful for those studying abroad. Let’s look at some examples of such schemes.
Singapore Airlines offers student perks to KrisFlyer members. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying
Ryanair’s Erasmus partnership
The Erasmus Programme has made study abroad years possible for EU students since 1987. I am one of the millions of students lucky enough to have partaken in the scheme. Erasmus gives students the opportunity to study at a foreign partner university, while receiving financial assistance in the form of a grant to cover certain living costs.
Being a low-cost carrier with an extensive European network, Ryanair plays a key part in transporting participating students across the continent. As such, the Irish budget airline established a partnership with the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) in 2017.
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Thousands of Erasmus students take to the air across Europe every September. Photo: TimOve via Flickr
The ESN states that:
“The Erasmus Generation is a generation of Europeans that are perennially curious, open-minded and full of wanderlust. This is made possible not only through the success of the European project and initiatives such as Schengen and Erasmus+, but also thanks to companies like Ryanair, without which it would be much harder to travel around Europe.”
The partnership allows participating students to receive a 10% discount on up to four one-way flights (or two return trips) during their year abroad. Furthermore, they can check in a 20kg bag free of charge. These perks are only valid between September and June of the academic year in question, despite countries like Germany having terms that run until July.
Ryanair has helped Erasmus students since 2017. Photo: Getty Images.
Full-service carriers like Singapore Airlines also offer certain perks to student travelers. These are available to members of its KrisFlyer loyalty program who have verified their student status at an eligible university. Like Ryanair, Singapore Airlines also offers free baggage to students. Participating passengers get either 40kg, or three bags if traveling to the US.
In terms of savings, Singapore Airlines’ student offer sees such travelers receive a 10% discount. This is valid for a stay abroad up to 12 months in length. The discount applies to Lite, Value, or Standard economy fares, as well as tickets in the premium economy cabin.
The best discount of all?
Ryanair and Singapore Airlines are just a couple of examples of several carriers worldwide that work hard to make air travel more affordable for students. However, there are some instances in which students have been offered flights that are not just discounted, but free!
Frontier offered students free tickets last year. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.
As it happens, Denver-based ultra-low-cost operator Frontier Airlines implemented such an offer for students last year. Admittedly, these were only available for a limited period (March-May 2020), but it was still an admirable gesture from the all-Airbus carrier.
Frontier implemented the deal at a key travel time for students, in a period encompassing both Easter and spring break. The carrier made the offer available on routes to nearly 100 destinations, helping students all over the country to travel home for free.
Have you ever taken advantage of any of these offers? Perhaps you’ve flown with other carriers that have similar schemes in place for students? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.