I remember it playing a part in a seinfeld episode, but that’s hardly a cite.
I believe the airline lingo for this is “bereavement fares”
Delta has some text about it:
American Airlines has none:
USA Today had an article stating “bereavement fares” often cost more than the everyday discount fare.
A few years ago, I called up Virgin Airlines to ask about fares (now and then you can still get a good deal by calling airlines directly.) They quoted me a price and I had them hold the ticket for me- it was about half the price of the other tickets that I was looking at. When I called back to reserve the ticket, it turned out that there had been some misunderstanding and they thought I had asked for a bereavement fair.
Luckily, I was able to keep the fare. It was awesome.
My wife got one in 2001 from El Al when her grandfather died (we were living in NY at the time).
I had to find one this week, unfortunately. It was through WestJet. The bereavement fare was significantly lower than the regular fare and slightly higher than the seat sale fare but had extremely flexible cancellation and change policies.
Looks like you can only get bereavement fares on Air Canada for international flights and even in that case there are exceptions.
this past summer I had to fly the family out for my father in law’s funeral via Southwest. They do not offer bereavement fares any more.
I was in Seattle visiting some relatives (whom I never had seen before) when my dad died. I tried to use the bereavment thing to get my return ticket changed to the town where he died (and not my home town), but Northwest was not to be moved by my plight.
My mother tried to get something out of the airlines when my sister died, and she said they offered peanuts and wrapped it in so many conditions that it was essentially useless.
How do they verify bereavement fares? It doesn’t sound to me like a very good idea - it sounds like a nice one, but surely it ends up either with people abusing it, or with the airline having to go through the unenviable process of asking the bereaved to prove one of their loved ones really has died?
Not a bereavement fare specifically, but when my father died, it was in June in Ohio. He had planned to return to Florida in the fall (doctor’s orders) and I needed every penny for the arrangements, so I called the airline to ask if I could cash in the ticket. I had to drive to the airport with a copy of the death certificate, a copy of the court order confirming me as executor, and photo ID before they would redeem it.
The Delta link above says you need to provide the contact info of the funeral home or hospital.
I’ve needed to look into this a couple of times, and in every case I was able to get a cheaper fare through regular channels. (The bereavement fare was half-off full coach fare.) But in one case, the funeral was delayed because of a blizzard, so I had to push back my return flight. The airline (I think it was United) was quite flexible and didn’t ask any questions or charge me any ticket change fees.
When my aunt died, the funeral home offered certified copies of the Death certificate specifically for family flying in…
About ten years ago, I was able to get a clearly discount price; I just had to give the airline the funeral director’s phone number.
In October, the bereavement fare via United was 10% off the standard price. Both of these were ORD -> ALB. For my brother in North Carolina, it was $360 via Expedia and $750 with Delta’s emergency rate.
When my mom died I called up Continental and politely explained the situation to them. I needed to book 5 tickets and the cost was well over $4k for the tickets since they were pretty much last minute. The very nice agent bent over backwards to help me and called in a couple of supervisors to get me the tickets at over half off.
My sister, on the other hand, was also trying to fly Continental and they wouldn’t do a thing to help her.
We were flying from two different cities and maybe that was the difference.
Oh, Og, I am slow in the pickup.
I read the Thread Title, and couldn’t figure it out. What the heck is a Family Discount? And how is it that the Airlines are empowered to Give Death in such cases? What’s so awful about a Family Discount that they have to kill people?
The past few times that I have needed a bereavement fare I was able to find discount fares cheaper than the bereavement fare of 50% off.
When my Dad died I had to drive to the family home with my uncles and fly home.
I was not eligible for the bereavement fare for a one way ticket BACK…they are sympathetic about getting you there but not about getting you home.
A round trip fare would’ve fully qualified as would a one way ticket TO the funeral.
Continental quoted me a decent bereavement discount six years ago, but I was able to beat it with a few minutes of online searching. Back in the days of travel agents, paper tickets, and regulated fares, it was a lot harder to find last-minute deals on airfares, so the bereavement discount was significant. Not so much today.