Flying To Germany On VERY Short Notice

I have an uncle who is very ill. He is the last of my mother’s siblings, and I love him very much. I saw him last 3 months ago.

If and when he dies, I need to be there. Do y’all have any experience in travelling international on very short notice? Should I go ahead and alert the airline or just wait?

I have everything cleared with my job, so that isn’t a problem, but I am worried about flying on such short notice, especially since 9.11.



Do you have a valid passport? If so, I think you just need to find a flight, buy a ticket, and hop on.


Be sure to tell the ticket agent why you’re going. Most (US) airlines will sell you a “bereavement fare” ticket at their normal 14-day advance price, not the usual extortionate walkup fare intended to hose choiceless business travelers. You’ll have to provide some details they can confirm with the funeral home. The rules may be different for international flights, though, but it couldn’t hurt to check. This can only be done over the phone, not the Web, incidentally.

There are not really any legal restrictions as long as your passport is in order. Your type of situation happens all of time.

What you need to be concerned about is the cost of your ticket. Have you priced a last minute, transatlantic ticket lately? There are web sites and travel agents that can get you decent last-minute fares but you probably want to search them out now. BTW, the bereavement fare is largely non-existent so don’t even bother with that tactic.

I didn’t mean that bereavement fares do not exist anymore. Ijust meant that even they are horribly expensive compared to other, eaisly accessible sources.

… and I have contacted a travel agent. I do not have a lot of money, but whatever it takes to get there, I will do.

Thanks VERY MUCH for your very fast responses, y’all! Just one more reason why I love this MB!



I also talked to my uncle’s doctor, and he’s agreed to fax me a statement regarding my uncle’s condition. I should get it sometime today…


Might be an idea to buy a ticket now, at a lower fare, with only a small charge for changing the time of the flight? The charge may be smaller than waiting until the last minute to buy the ticket and paying the higher fare?

You might try calling one of the major airlines, telling them your situation, and asking for their suggestions. They tend to be very helpful with such predicaments.

By the way, why not fly over while he’s still alive, so that you can see him and he can see you to say goodbye? IMHO, that’s more important than being there for a funeral.

My wife has been in Germany for several months on a project (coming home for good this weekend! Hooray!) and given that both of us have hectic job schedules, we had to schedule those weekends where one of us would visit the other on pretty short notice. As long as your passport is in order, it isn’t really any different from booking a last-minute domestic flight.

I can’t give you advice on fares, though – since our flights were on the company nickel, we focused on flight times more than price.

Wow! One of my posts answered by an Administrator!! Thank you! Well, we said our goodbyes three months ago when I saw him last, so now I’d like to be there for his wife and kids and pay my final respects. I’m sorry I did not make that clearer in the OP.

I have spoken with Lufthansa and a very nice lady there told me they would do everything possible to expedite my trip when it becomes necessary. The fax from the doctor is here, and she told me this would be a big help in getting me on a flight out of Hartsfield.

Thanks again to all my Doper friends for caring! :slight_smile: