What are bereavement fares?
Many airlines offer “bereavement fares” to immediate family members escorting a body on a plane and immediate family members attending a funeral with little advance notice. Generally, bereavement fares are a percentage off the normal ticket price, with discounts ranging from 5% to 25%, depending on the airline. In addition, if you're traveling with little advance notice and are unable to find a seat on a plane, the airline may be able help you find a seat or give you priority on a stand-by list.
Who qualifies for bereavement fares
Bereavement fares are usually only available to immediate family, and require information that will verify your situation. Most airlines define “immediate family” as:
- Spouse/domestic partner/fiancé
- Parent/step-parent/parent-in-law/foster parent/legal guardian
- Child/step-child/child-in-law/foster child
- Sibling/step- or half-sibling/sibling-in-law/foster sibling
Required information for bereavement fares
In order to qualify for a bereavement fare, you may have to provide the airline with information about the person who died, including:
- The name of the person who died
- The passenger’s relationship to the person who died
- The name, phone number, and address of the funeral home
- The name of the funeral director
Some airlines will also require the date of the funeral service and a copy of the death certificate. While some airlines will request this information up front, others will allow you to submit this information after the funeral has taken place. If you will be submitting this information after the flight for a refund in the amount of the discount, it’s a good idea to save all receipts, boarding passes, and other travel documents.
How to purchase a bereavement fare ticket
Most airlines require that the ticket be reserved over the phone with an airline representative, rather than online or though a third-party ticket seller. When you speak to the airline ticketing agent, be sure to tell them that you will be attending a funeral and are looking to purchase a bereavement fare ticket. Also, before you speak to the agent make sure you qualify for the bereavement fare, and that you have all the necessary information that the airline might require. Some airlines will discount the ticket at the time of purchase, while others will offer a refund for the value of the discount after the flight.
Bereavement fare costs
While bereavement rates may reduce the cost of last-minute emergency travel, many people find that there are less expensive tickets to be found on third-party ticket sales websites. If cost is a concern for you and you need help finding an affordable ticket, you might consider reaching out to a friend asking for help.