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Bereavement and Compassion Fares

My first cousin Sheryl passed away last week.  Fortunately my wife Lynn and I live in the Twin Cities so we were able to visit her a couple times a week and tell her we loved her before she passed.

Many in our family would have given anything to have been in our shoes but couldn’t because the cost of the airfare stood in the way.  You can’t plan 21 days in advance for the death of a loved one.

bereavement travelYears ago, there wasn’t an airline that didn’t offer a bereavement fare.  Each fare varied on rules and restrictions.  Generally, when a person died, immediate family members had to contact the airline with the name of the deceased, hospital or funeral home, date of funeral and relationship to the deceased.  While the airlines are not a social service agency, they provided this as a humane service.

Later, TWA extended the Bereavement Fares to Compassion fares meaning they allowed people to travel at a discount to visit a seriously ill patient.  Rules were pretty much the same; give TWA the name of doctor or hospital and patient.  The immediate family requirement was dropped as TWA realized you could love people even if you are not a member of the family.

Today, things have changed again and if you need to visit a seriously ill patient or attend a funeral, my suggestions is COMPARECOMPARECOMPARE.

Check with the larger airlines and see what they will offer. I have found that the agent on the phone often time has the authority to make specific discounted arrangements.

But, before you buy, contact a low fare airline.  While many of them do not offer bereavement or compassion fares, you can often times find their normal fare to be lower than the discount offered by a larger airline and with less travel restrictions.

As I continue to add rules to this site, I will add the specific requirements for each airline.  Until then as always do your homework and COMPARECOMPARECOMPARE.

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With 45 years of commercial travel experience, Terry is one of America's foremost authorities on airlines and the rules that govern their operation. Terry began his career in October of 1968 as a ticket and departure gate agent for Northwest Airlines and has since held several positions from which he perfected his trade.

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One Response to “Bereavement and Compassion Fares”

  1. ‘Compassion fares’ for emergency travel get scarce | Daniels College of Business Says:

    Aug 09, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    […] the website The Plane Rules notes, “while the airlines are not a social service agency, they provided this as a humane […]

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