When you get the word that someone you know has passed away, you'll immediately begin making plans to attend the funeral. If you live a considerable distance from where the funeral will be held, flying might be your only option. It's natural to feel a little bit of panic about the cost of last-minute airfare, but you can often get around having to pay excessively by booking a bereavement fare. Many airlines offer this type of fare, space permitting, to people who will be traveling to attend funerals. Here are some things to know about bereavement fares.
You Need To Call The Airline Directly
Although it's often more convenient and quicker to book your flights online, you'll need to call your airline directly if you wish to book a bereavement fare. When you call the airline, do your best to speak to a human right away — in many cases, you'll spend several minutes dealing with an automated system, so look for your first opportunity to be connected to a booking representative. As soon as you reach this person, make sure to ask about bereavement fares right away, rather than simply inquire about the cost of flying to your destination.
Be Prepared To Offer Proof
Airlines will often ask for specifics about the funeral so that scammers don't buy bereavement fares every time they need to travel. Have a copy of the person's obituary handy, which you can typically find on the funeral home's website. Depending on the specific airline's policies, you may be asked for the name of the recently deceased person, the date of the funeral, the city in which the funeral is being held, and the name and address of the funeral home. In some cases, you'll also be eligible for a discounted rate if a loved one is still alive but his or her death appears imminent. In this scenario, you may be asked to provide contact information for the person's doctor.
You May Be Able To Buy A Cheap Last-Minute Flight Online
Some airlines don't offer bereavement fares, and some may not have any availability from your departure city to your destination. If this is the case, go online and browse any travel sites that offer inexpensive airfare. If a flight has seats available, they'll often be offered for lower rates as the flight date approaches. This means that you may be able to buy a cheap ticket to your destination to attend the funeral, even if it's not technically a discounted bereavement fare.
Talk with the funeral home in your deceased loved one's area about other options to save on the cost of your flight.