Bereavement Fare Update

By | October 29, 2008

A while back, we commented on bereavement fares. Despite the popularity of this subject, as it comes upon people urgently, we haven’t revisited it since. USA Today‘s Bill McGee recently did, and we decided it was good to update our rundown.

Many airlines are not forthcoming about their policies, and require a call and specifics before they’ll disclose anything. With the airlines, bereavement discounts, if available, are usually taken off the highest fare. Shopping around, hard as it is in time of crisis, may net you something lower without special discount.

The airline point of view, which we can understand on some level, is that giving you a special discount in an emergency is just that…special. The funeral home does not discount the coffin because you are grieving. The only benefit the airline gets from discounting your ticket is goodwill. Of course, nowadays, that is exactly what the airlines need. The airlines would say that what they need is more money, which they are losing a lot of, and your goodwill is worth nothing to them.

  • American Airlines – Compassionate fares available through Reservations
  • Continental – Very forthcoming about its policy. It even allows bookings to be made through the web. 5% off round-trips up to $499, 10% off trips to $999, 20% off trips above $1000. All fees to apply, some fares allow waiver due to illness/death.
  • Delta Air Lines– No bereavement fares on domestic flights, no published international discounts. International bereavement fares must be inquired about by phone.
  • Northwest Airlines – Northwest’s website claims no bereavement fares, but their call center says otherwise. However, you must be a Worldperks member.
  • Southwest Airlines – Does not offer bereavement.
  • United Airlines – You must call to inquire about these.
  • US Airways – No bereavement fares

Some other travel organizations such as car rental and hotels, may offer such things. The lesson is: It never hurts to ask, even if you think they’ll say no.

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