Bereavement Airfares

As far as bereavement airfares go I wish I could give you an easy answer or magic bullet. But after doing some research on what is available I found that there is not one nice clear-cut answer. And if you are like me, the time around someone’s death and their funeral, you would like to keep it simple. Our minds just don’t want to focus on the mundane.

Some airlines offer bereavement fares, others do not.

The pros of bereavement flights are their flexibility. Sometimes they are referred to as compassionate fares. Not all airlines offer them anymore.

The flexibility includes:

  • Last minute ticket purchases
  • No minimum stay requirement - also stays up to 30 days are allowed
  • Free changes with no extra fees
  • They also can be offered in cases of a family member being gravely ill
  • Realize that usually the discount is off of full fare rates
  • And not all airlines offer the same percentage off (10 to 75%)

The cons are:

  • Must be purchased by phone or in person – cannot be purchased online
  • Providing all the documentation to prove a death occurred - at the time of purchase which can include:
  • Name of deceased
  • Your relationship to them
  • Name, address and phone number of the funeral home, hospice or hospital and doctor’s name possibly
Occasionally an airline will charge full price at the time of flying with the opportunity for a refund to discount price by providing a death certificate. Usually this must be done within 90 days.

Bereavement fares may not be offered to all destinations that the carrier serves.

Some of the travel websites can offer special discounted deals and rates that can beat a bereavement fare.

Once again there are pros and cons to deep-discount type airline deals.

Pros

  • Good prices
  • Booking online

Cons

  • Less flexibility on dates and times
  • More restrictions

As I see it part of making your decision will depend on whether

  • You want to have a travel agent or the specific airline assist you
  • The flexibility of a bereavement tickets
  • Or whether you want to book online
  • Possibly get a cheaper fare.

Trying to make these difficult travel decisions and preparing to pack is a demanding experience.

Airport

Consider engaging the help of a trusted friend who is less emotionally involved to help you. They can assist with the booking process and some of the other details included in leaving home for a time.

If you let them know your needs they can help you navigate this process. Remember you will not be burdening them. They will want to find ways to help you during this difficult time!



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