Practical Information


When you book your airfare through Road Scholar, we’re there to help you in case of any emergencies.

Purchasing Airfare through Road Scholar

We can take care of your flights on nearly all of our international programs. Our airfare is a great value and makes your experience hassle free. We’ve negotiated special rates with most major airlines, and if you purchase your airfare through us, and you travel on the program start and end dates, we’ll also take care of getting you to the starting location on the date of your program (with just a few exceptions). As an extra benefit when you purchase our standard airfare, most of the time you’ll receive a full refund in the rare case we must cancel your program.

What’s included with Road Scholar airfare?

We offer airfare on nearly all of our international trips. Our airfare is a great value and makes your experience hassle free. We’ve negotiated special rates with most major airlines, and if you purchase your airfare through us, we’ll also take care of getting you to the starting location of your trip the day it is scheduled to begin (with just a few exceptions). 

Is Road Scholar airfare cheaper than booking a flight on my own?

Most of the time, it is. Our negotiated rates offer a discount and flexibility that are rarely available to the general public.

I purchased airfare through Road Scholar. Where can I find my tickets/air documents?

If you have an online account with us, you can print your airline confirmation from the 'Upcoming Trips' section of your account. When your airfare is ready, click on the 'Flight Details & Tickets' link. If you don't have an online account with us, we will send your airline confirmation via email or postal mail.

Can you upgrade me to business or first class?

We sure can. We can arrange business class and premium economy seating at competitive prices. If you’d like upgraded seats, then 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. Instead, we’ll call you over the phone to make all the arrangements.

Can I request seats in advance?

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.

Can I get credit for air miles if Road Scholar arranges my airfare?

Accruing air miles in a frequent-flyer plans 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. 

I don’t see the airport I want. What do I do?

If the airport you want isn’t on the list of our gateway cities, then 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. Instead, we’ll contact you when it is appropriate to begin your travel planning process.

I selected Road Scholar airfare from one of the available cities. What happens next?

Once you have given us your passport details in your Personal Information Form, we’ll email or mail you your flight details approximately nine months before your departure — or even sooner if you enrolled closer to your trip date.

I selected Custom Travel Arrangements. What happens next?

When it’s time to begin booking your airfare we will contact you by phone or email. We can generally begin booking air approximately nine months before departure for International programs and six months for programs in the United States and Canada. We’ll discuss options, itineraries and pricing with you and work with you to determine the best schedule to fit your needs. Once your flight is confirmed, you will be billed. We will monitor your reservation and notify you if there are any changes.

How do I make changes to my airfare or pre- or post-hotel reservation? Are there fees?

To make any changes, just give us a call. We try to keep fees to a minimum, but there are certain reservations where a fee may be charged. 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’ll be facing.

Are all flights free for your free airfare special offers?

For some Road Scholar programs, we are able to offer free and discounted airfare as a special promotion. For these programs, the airfare is typically free from select cities for travel on the program start and end date. If you deviate by traveling from a different city, wish to travel in an upgraded class of service, or wish to travel outside the program start and end dates, then we will apply a credit towards the total cost of the airfare and you will pay only the additional costs. For the majority of air bookings, this is a nominal fee, which will vary based on availability. If you’re interested in exploring the cost for a deviation as listed above, enroll as “Travel Custom Arrangements” and our Travel Department will work to customize your arrangements while trying to reduce costs.

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


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.

If I arrange my own airfare, how do I meet up with the group?

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.

You’ll receive a final itinerary approximately three to four weeks prior to your departure by e-mail, mail, or both, depending on your account preferences.


Helpful Travel Information

For Travel Advisories for Geopolitical Events visit

For information on health abroad, visit and

For visa information and applications, visit

For a helpful resource for general travel information, including tips for long-term parking, currency converters, airline contact information and more, visit


General FAQs

Should I share my travel plans with friends and family?

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. 

How long does my passport need to be valid?

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

What’s the best way to check in for my flight?

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.

Can I request specific seating?

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. 

Can I upgrade my seat at a later time?

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 travel. 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 his or her 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

What is TSA Pre-Check?

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

What is Global Entry?

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:

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

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.

Do you have any advice on getting through airport security?

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:

What am I allowed to bring in my carry-on bag?

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.


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