Panama Discounts for Seniors
Panama law provides a broad range of discounts for seniors. These include restaurants, entertainment, transportation, etc. Seniors are residents or citizens of Panama who are older than 60 (men) or 55 (women). Tourists are not eligible. This post shows how to get airline discounts for seniors in Panama. We use Copa Airlines as an example.
To begin with, offering a senior discount of 30% is mandatory for all airlines flying in and out of the country, not just Panamanian ones. Airlines do not do you any favors by extending it. However, they make the process of getting the discount as complicated as they can. You will see it shortly. Secondly, the discount applies to the ticket price only. It excludes taxes. Therefore, the effective discount is lower, about 25%.
Prerequisites for the Discount
For convenience, we list here all the prerequisites for applying for the discounted ticket.
1) Be older than 60 (men) or 55 (women)
2) Have Panamanian ID (Cédula) or
3) Permanent residence visa and foreign passport
4) Have to be in Panama to apply the discount
5) Be a member of Copa’s ConnectMiles program (this is not necessary, but helpful)
6) A lot of patience
Booking Online at Copa Airlines Website
Let’s start with a note on the web page:
To apply the discounts established by law, you must use the ‘reserve and save my itinerary’ option. Then, go to one of our Sales Offices or contact our Reservation Center to complete the payment.
Unfortunately, the option ‘reserve and save my itinerary’ does not exist. There’s only ‘payment’ option. This precludes booking a discounted ticket online. You have to call (or visit an office). I usually use the Internet to find my flight, then call and make the reservation.
Validating your documents
Before calling the reservation line, you have to prove your eligibility for the senior discount. You need to send a scanned copy of your Panamanian ID (Cédula) – or residence card and passport – to firstname.lastname@example.org for validating. Once you get a reply (it could take 24-48 hours), you are good to go. You have to it only once (so they put you on a list of eligible seniors).
Note: You may be misinformed that you have to provide your flight reservation code to validate the documents. (That would necessitate making the reservation first, then validating, and finally calling again to pay.) That is not the case: the reservation code is not needed for validation.
Reserving your Ticket via Phone
- Call the Copa Reservation Center at +507 217 2672 (Panama City).
- Press 2 for English
- Press 3 for ConnectMiles members (you should be one)
Also, we recommend you become a member of Copa’s ConnectMiles program. It earns free tickets and simplifies phone reservations. Give the agent your number and avoid laborious spelling of your data!
Make your reservation of the flight you found online. Request the senior discount. Hopefully, the agent will find your name on the list of eligible persons. This is it! You just got your first discount!
Use the Travel Agent
Finally, if all else fails, use a Panamanian travel agent 🙂. Not only the agent will make the red tape disappear, but there is an additional benefit. You can claim the discount even if you are not in Panama (but your agent is). That is important to me as I often travel on one-way tickets. Remember, you can get airline discounts for seniors even for flights that do not originate from Panama, as long as the reservation is made from within the country.