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When you book your airfare through Road Scholar, we are available to assist when an emergency arises.    

Purchasing Airfare through Road Scholar

We can take care of your flights on nearly all of our international programs and select programs in the United States, making your experience hassle free. We’ve negotiated special rates with most major airlines.

  • When you purchase your airfare through us and travel on the program start and end dates, we also include free ground transportation to the starting location of your program, which is a great value and makes travelling less complicated.
  • Road Scholar is available 24 hours a day to offer guidance with air travel emergencies, which include unanticipated flight delays or cancellations.
  • If you need to make changes to your itinerary, fees may apply. However, in the rare case we must cancel your program, you’ll receive a full refund for the airfare (exceptions may apply).
  • We’ll keep on top of pre-departure airline schedule changes and cancellations and if necessary proactively rebook your flights to ensure that you arrive at your program on time.

We sure can. We can arrange business class and premium economy seating at competitive prices. If you’d like upgraded seats, select the ‘Custom Flight Arrangements’ option and then the airport you want from the full list of airports in the U.S. If you choose the custom flight option, we won’t include the cost of your airfare in your initial purchase. Please be sure to note your cabin preference in your Personal Information Form. Many of our negotiated airfares require payment at the time of booking. If this is the case, when it is time to start the booking process, we will contact you via phone or email to finalize arrangements and collect payment. If payment is not needed at the time of booking we will send you the preliminary air itinerary via email for approval and the air costs will be added to your program cost.

Not all airlines allow preassigned seats. However, we’ll do our best to confirm seats according to the seating preference you indicated on your Personal Information Form.

Policies and time frames for assigning seats vary by carrier and the airlines reserve the right to change any seat assignments up to and including your day of travel. Depending on the carrier, preassigned seating may be available at an additional cost. 

Accruing air miles in a frequent-flyer plan depends on the itinerary and your type of ticket. We can always apply your mileage numbers, but whether your reservation qualifies for accrual is up to the airline.

We have negotiated airfare from select airports throughout the United States. Select gateway air if:

    • Your preferred airport is listed among the available gateway options, and
    • You plan on arriving to and departing from your program on the scheduled start and end dates.

Select custom air if:

    • Your preferred airport is not listed among the available gateway options, or
    • You want to travel on different dates than your program’s scheduled dates, or
    • You wish to fly with a traveling companion with whom you do not reside, or
    • You wish to be booked in a premium economy or business class cabin.

Once you have selected the ‘Custom Flight Arrangements’ option, please select your preferred airport from the comprehensive list of airports in the U.S. If you choose the Custom Flight Arrangements option, we will not include the cost of your airfare in your initial purchase price. One of the two scenarios will apply.


1. When it’s time to begin booking your airfare, we will confirm a preliminary flight schedule based on your preferences. Once this is done, the cost of your airfare will be added to your order and you will receive an email alerting you to review your flights through your Road Scholar account for approval.


2. Several of our negotiated airfares require payment upon booking. If that is the case, when it’s time to begin booking airfare, we will contact you via phone or email to finalize arrangements and collect payment.

Once we have confirmed your flights you will receive an email directing you to view your itinerary in your Road Scholar account. We can generally begin booking air approximately six months before departure.

When it’s time to begin booking your airfare we will contact you by email or phone. We can generally begin booking air approximately six months before departure, and will book your flights based on your program schedule, best routing, and personal flight preferences. Remember: Flight preferences, like cabin upgrades, for participants who booked custom air should be listed in the Participant Information Form within your Road Scholar Account. Once your flight is confirmed, the air costs will be added to your order or since some destinations require payment at the time of booking, you will be contacted via email or phone to finalize arrangements and make payment. We will monitor your reservation and notify you if there are any airline schedule changes.

To make any changes, just give our Travel Team a call at 1-800-241-1404. We try to keep fees to a minimum, but there are certain reservations where an airline fee may be charged for itinerary changes. Change penalties, baggage fees, and preferred seat charges are all dictated by the airlines. We’ll be able to help you navigate these, so you know what fees you may be facing. Please note that there may be additional costs incurred beyond fees when you change your flights.

Once we notify you that your air itinerary is ready for review, you can find all the information in the “Upcoming Trips” section of your Road Scholar online account. Just select the relevant program that you’re enrolled in under “Upcoming Trips” and click on “Itinerary” to view your air itinerary.

For some Road Scholar programs, we offer free or discounted airfare as a special promotion. With such promotions, Road Scholar reserves the right to choose the airline carrier and routing. For these programs, the airfare is typically economy class and free from select cities for travel on the specific program start and end dates. For an added cost, you may travel from a different city, in an upgraded class of service, travel outside the program start and end dates, and/or select a specific routing or airline carrier (Exceptions will apply to some programs). If you’re interested in altering your air beyond the standard free air we offer on some programs, you should select the “Custom Flight Arrangements” in checkout on our website, or ask over the phone, and our Travel Department will work to customize your arrangements.

If you plan on arranging your own flights, just select the ‘No airfare’ option when you enroll in your trip.

We priced free air programs with all components included; hotels, meals, all museum/event and airline flights, etc. This allows us to secure reduced rates which are passed on to you. Our free air programs are always sold as a package, so there is no reimbursement for unused components, such as air.

Many factors influence the itineraries we book. Working within the airline availability and the terms of our negotiated pricing, we endeavor to provide the most direct, cost effective flights available that work within your program parameters. 

Yes, an incomplete name or inaccurate spelling will cause significate issues and could prevent your flights from being booked when the time comes.  It is important that the name in your online account matches your legal identification, without exception.  You can confirm your passport name by logging into your Road Scholar account. Once you are logged in, click on “Personal Information” and select the “Identification” tab.  From here, you can review the legal identification information for each person on your household.  Verify that the passport name listed is accurate. If you have difficulty, please contact the general Road Scholar phone line at (877) 426-8056 or email



Airfare Special Offers



Arranging Your Own Airfare

For our programs in the U.S., you’ll need to make your own travel arrangements. However, for international programs, we highly recommend you purchase your airfare through us. If you prefer, in most cases, you can make your own airfare arrangements. If you do, you’ll be responsible for getting yourself from the airport to the starting location of your program and returning to the airport at the end. Additionally, if we need to alter your program in a way that affects flights schedules, you will be responsible for changing your flight plans and paying any change fees.  For the greatest protection, we recommend waiting until 90 days prior to your International program to purchase airfare.

Before your program begins, we will send you detailed information that includes instructions on how to get to the starting location of your program. You can also find lots of transportation details in the “Travel Information” section on every trip on our website.

We will send you final itinerary approximately three to four weeks prior to your departure.



General FAQs

Be sure to share a copy of your itinerary, passport and visas with family or friends, so you can be contacted in case of an emergency. When you enroll in a program, Road Scholar provides an emergency contact information page that you can share. 

If traveling abroad, make sure your passport is valid at least six months from your return date. For passport information for United States citizens, visit

We strongly recommend you check in through your airline’s website prior to travel. Many airlines offer e-boarding using a smart phone. At the airport, check in should be done two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international flights.

Many airlines now provide special seating with additional legroom, for a fee, either during booking or at check-in. If a medical condition makes additional legroom necessary, it is helpful to have a medical note to present at check-in, which may allow the gate agent to assign you bulkhead seating or expedited boarding. 

Road Scholar Travel has specially negotiated business and premium-class fares in many cases. Using Road Scholar for your air travel will insure that your upgraded seat is booked in advance and secured. However, many airlines now provide upgraded seating to higher-class cabins within 24 hours of travel and/or at check-in, for a fee. The fee varies widely by carrier, but may be an affordable option for seating in premium or business class especially on an international flight. While not guaranteed that any space would be available, it is something to consider and can be done generally within 24 hours by visiting an airline's website or when checking in at the airport



What help can I get if I have special needs?

At the time you are making your airline reservations, you can make an advance reservation for wheelchair assistance at the airport. Our Road Scholar Travel Advisor can make this request on your behalf with the airline when you are booking your Coordinator. You may also call the airline directly 72 hours prior to your travel date and make this request directly yourself. 

For travelers who need extra assistance, airlines may allow one caretaker through security and to the gate as long as the escort provides their full name, birth date and government-issued ID. It helps to request this at least a day ahead with the airline.

Travelers may call TSA Cares toll free at (855) 787-2227 prior to traveling with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint. TSA Cares is an additional resource dedicated specifically to passengers with disabilities or medical conditions. It is also an excellent resource for travelers and their families who have concerns about the airport screening process.

The Transportation Security Administration web page for passengers with disabilities and medical conditions addresses materials allowed aboard the aircraft and advises you of your rights and what to expect for security procedures:



TSA, Global Entry & Airport Security

With TSA Pre-Check you can avoid security lines at airport by pre-registering with the Transportation Security Administration.  Learn more at

Global Entry is a very similar program to TSA Pre-Check and allows passengers to be “pre-screened”  for travel, expediting the airport security process. You can learn more about Global Entry at:

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to a foreign county enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This is a free service provided by the U.S. Government. STEP allows you to enter information about your upcoming trip abroad so that the Department of State can better assist you in an emergency. Enrollment is voluntary and costs nothing. Enroll here.

All travelers can contact the Transportation Security Administration using Talk To TSA, a web-based tool that allows passengers to reach out to an airport Customer Service Manager directly, and the TSA Contact Center, (866) 289-9673 and, where travelers can ask questions, provide suggestions and file complaints. TSA requires you to contact them at least 72 hours prior to travel.

If you are 75 or older you may qualify for a simpler security process at the airport including:

• Leaving your shoes on.
• Leaving on your light outerwear such as a sweater.
• If the metal detector is triggered, you will be allowed to pass through the detector a second time before undergoing a pat down.

You can learn more here:

When packing your carry-on baggage, keep in mind this will be all you have for a day or two, if your luggage is lost. Therefore, you should take essential and valuable items. We recommend packing the following items in your carry-on luggage:

  • Your Road Scholar program materials, any visas you may need, and any other tickets or vouchers you will need for further travel after your program is over.
  • Your passport and a photocopy for added security. (Carry your photocopy separately from original)
  • Your personal health insurance information.
  • Your prescription medicine(s) with copies of prescription(s).
  • Extra eyeglasses/lenses and a copy of your prescription.
  • A change of clothing.
  • Your camera.
  • Something to snack on, if it helps you during travel.