Bereavement Air Fare Information
by : Remember Always - 20-Mar-2018
Bereavement Fare Information
Prior to 2000, U.S. airlines offered cut-rate bereavement fares to people who needed to fly suddenly for a family funeral or to see a terminally ill relative.
However starting in 2001, due to record losses, airlines started looking into ways to cut costs and add to their bottom line, with things such as add-on fees for checked baggage, onboard meals, calls to reservations centers and fees for flight cancellations and changes. During this time, airlines also started transitioning away from offering bereavement fares.
With the advent of online travel booking websites such as: Hopper, Priceline, Hotwire, Hipmunk, Skyscanner, Kayak and Orbitz, to name a few, it has become easier to find cheap, last-minute fares, making official bereavement fares less attractive. Also, there are other companies like Cranky Concierge and other travel agents that can help you find rock-bottom fares during emergencies. CheapAir.com offers a program where travelers can fly immediately and pay for the flight over three, six or 12 months.
Some airlines and travel companies have also partnered with travel insurance companies to help protect passengers in case of emergency cancellation. The coverage offers a 100 percent refund for reasons including losing a job, illness or injury of a traveler or their traveling companions and flight cancellations for at least 24 hours due to natural disasters such as hurricanes, severe storms, or earthquakes.
Below are the bereavement fare policies for the top 15 North American airlines.
This carrier does not offer separate bereavement fares. Instead, it highlights its "Fare Families" enterprise, with three levels of Main Cabin and business Class Premier airfares. The three Main Cabin fares (economy, classic and flexible) offers rules and fees that can change the airfare prices, with economy being the most restrictive.
This airline does have bereavement fares that can be used on Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge, and Air Canada Express. Noting that lower fares may be available on its website.
The rules for bereavement fares are: travel must start within seven days of booking in the case of international travel and within 10 days of booking if traveling within North America. In the case of international you cannot stay more than 30 days. The fares are fixed discounts off of specific, unrestricted, full fares, or the waiving of specific terms and conditions on many Air Canada markets.
Based in Seattle, Alaska Airlines is one of the few to still offer bereavement fares for flexible date tickets for those traveling due to the death of an immediate family member. However, the airline warns that this special fare may be more expensive than other available last-minute tickets, and the fare is only available within seven days of travel. Customers must contact Alaska Air's Reservations Department at 1-800-252-7522 to book the fare.
Based in Las Vegas, Allegiant Air is an ultra low cost carrier. They claim that in order to maintain its low fares, it does not offer bereavement tickets. But if there's a death in your immediate family, the airline will give a full refund of a ticket, if the traveler notifies the change within 24 hours of purchase and if the scheduled time of departure is at least one week away at the time of booking. After 24 hours, tickets purchased are non-refundable.
American Airlines (Merged with US Airways)
This carrier stopped offering bereavement airline fares in February 2014. US Airways didn’t offer bereavement fares before the merger. Instead they offer air travelers flexible fare options when booking last-minute travel for a variety of reasons.
This Atlanta-based carrier still offers bereavement fares. Delta gives a traveler, who must be a SkyMiles frequent flyer member, flexibility on its best published fares for last-minute travel as required.
The following information is required so that you can purchase a ticket under the Bereavement Policy:
- Deceased person’s name
- Customer's relationship to the deceased
- Name and phone number of funeral home, hospital, or hospice
- Name of doctor (if applicable)
Children and Infants
Children will be ticketed at the same fare as an adult under the Bereavement policy or applicable child's fare, whichever is lower. The first infant without a seat under the age of two is at no charge, the second infant must purchase a seat. There is a two infant maximum per ticketed adult. The infant must be accompanied on all flights in the same compartment by an adult.
Bereavement fares can only be booked by calling Delta’s Reservation Sales department (800-221-1212 for domestic or 800-241-4141 for international), and is not available for purchase at delta.com. Tickets are subject to availability. The airline's bereavement policy provides flexibility to the outbound and/or on the return portion of a trip by waiving service fees. However, fare differences may still apply. Sometimes lower promotional fares may be available on delta.com or through Delta Reservation Sales.
This Denver-based airline will allow travelers to change travel dates, times, and/or destination for up to 90 days from the original date of purchase with no change fee. However, any fare difference will be applied. Travelers can also cancel the unused part of a ticket and receive a credit for 90 days from the original date of purchase. All requests must be made via the carrier's Reservations Department.
Hawaiian Airlines may qualify travelers who have to change a reservation because a family member passed away for either a waiver of change fees or a ticket refund if a reservation was canceled. It requires a copy of the death certificate, proof of relationship to the deceased, such as a birth certificate or marriage certificate and a copy of your ticket. It must be submitted with scanned copies of your documents at HawaiianAirlines.com/CAO, mailed to Hawaiian Airlines, Consumer Affairs Office, P.O. Box 30008, Honolulu, HI 96820 or faxed to 1-808-838-6777.
Hawaiian Airlines also offers what is called “Neighbor Island Emergency Travel”. It offers low interisland fares under the following terms: You must be an immediate family member to the hospitalized or deceased, have proof of that relationship, travel within 48 hours of ticketing, and is limited to travel within Hawaii.
Based in Mexico City this low-cost carrier does not offer bereavement fares based on its naturally low ticket prices. All tickets and related charges/fees are non-refundable. But if travel is affected by causes that are attributable to Interjet or for any other extraordinary circumstances, customers may request a refund under the following circumstances:
- Within a period of 15 days after the refund request has been approved for a purchase made with a credit or debit card; and
- Within a period of 20 days after the refund request has been approved for a purchase made with any other forms of payment.
The New York-based carrier officially does not offer bereavement fares. However, on its website, it says immediate family in need of bereavement travel may call 1-800-JETBLUE to speak to a representative who may be able to assist.
Southwest Airlines (And it’s Air Tran brand)
Southwest Airlines (and Air Tran) does not offer bereavement fares. The airline promotes its everyday affordable fares that are published on Southwest.com, noting that travelers' first two checked bags are free, and there is no charge when travel plans change, just the price difference between the current and new tickets.
Spirit Airlines is based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This ultra low-cost carrier states: "Our fares are already very low, and we are unable to offer additional discounts."
United Airlines ended its 5 percent discount bereavement fares on March 14, 2014. However, for a $50 charge, it will allow travelers to get a refund on even a nonrefundable ticket, and the airline will work with those whose travel has been affected by unplanned events.
This Mexico City-based low-cost carrier does not offer bereavement fares.
Similar to Air Canada, this low-cost Calgary-based carrier does offer bereavement fares for those who have had a death in their immediate family, also for those traveling to funerals for firefighters, police officers, military personnel and emergency services personnel who have died in the line of duty. Customers must call the airline at 1-888-937-8538 for booking and may be asked for additional general information.