Travel tips: Arranging bereavement fares

Airlines usually offer special fares for those who must fly on short notice because of a family death or critical illness. The rate of discount each airline offers varies, and can range from 15-50 per cent off regular fares. While this is a compassionate service the airlines provide, be aware that the discount is taken off the regular fare, so you may be surprised to find yourself paying for a ticket that still costs a lot more than your usual advance booking fare.

Call the airline directly to book a bereavement fare, and they will give you a price immediately. In some cases providing the address of the funeral home and name of the director may be enough to book at the reduced fare. In others you may have to pay for the flight and then apply for a refund after you have proof of legitimacy of your request. In both cases it is likely that you will eventually need to provide the paperwork to the airline –  usually in the form of a certificate of death (available from the funeral director).

Discounts are usually only for members of the immediate family. Guidelines may vary, but these generally include the deceased’s: spouse, child, parent, brother, sisr, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew, and in some cases grandparent.