Some airlines offer bereavement airfare to people with immediate family members who have just died or whose passing is imminent. However, getting a bereavement flight is not as simple as doing an internet search to find a rate. Only a few airlines have bereavement policies, and you have to call them to find out what's available. Expect to be required to provide proof of death and kinship.
Airlines With Bereavement Policies
The airlines listed below have official bereavement policies, though rates and availability vary. You'll need to call the one(s) that service the area to which you need to travel to find out your options. Be prepared to provide the name of the person who died, their date of death, how you are related to them, and funeral home details. If the airline you are working with offers bereavement fares for imminent death, you may need to provide details for an involved hospital, hospice, or physician.
Air Canada's bereavement policy applies to people who need to travel due to the death or imminent passing of an immediate family member. Travel must start within 10 days of when the ticket is purchased and must conclude within 60 days. There isn't a pre-set discount. Call Air Canada at 888-247-2262 to see what options are available. You may also be able to qualify for a bereavement-related partial refund if you have already traveled due to qualifying circumstances.
Alaska Airlines' bereavement policy allows people who need to travel within seven days after the death of an immediate family member to purchase airfare at a ten percent discount. The discount is based on the published rate at the time the ticket is purchased. Travel must start within seven days after the date of death, but it doesn't have to conclude within that timeframe. To book a bereavement fare, you'll need to call 800-252-7522.
Delta Bereavement Policy
In order to qualify for Delta's bereavement policy, you need to be a member of their SkyMiles program, so be sure to enroll (it's free) before contacting them to request a bereavement fare. Their policy applies in situations where a family member has died or in which imminent death is expected. For information on flights within the U.S., call 800-221-1212. For details on international travel, call 800-241-4141.
Through their Neighbor Island Emergency Travel policy, Hawaiian Airlines offers special fares on travel between the Hawaiian Islands when an immediate family member is hospitalized or has died. You'll need to book directly with Hawaiian Airlines and travel within 48 hours of purchasing the ticket. After traveling, you'll need to submit documentation to request a refund between the price you paid and the applicable emergency fare. Call 800-367-5320 for details and availability.
WestJet offers bereavement airfare to individuals who are facing the imminent or recent death of an immediate family member. They also offer reduced airfare to individuals traveling to attend the funeral of a military servicemember or first responder who perished in the line of duty. Travel must begin and end within 14 days of ticket purchase. There is not a pre-set discount amount. Call this Canadian airline at 888-937-8538 to find out what options are available.
General Relationship Requirements
Most airlines that have bereavement policies will apply them when a traveler qualifies due to the loss of a relative listed below. Some may not include all of these relatives, while others may have a broader list of qualifying relationships.
- Spouse or domestic partner
- Child or stepchild
- Parent or stepparent
- Sibling or step-sibling
- Aunt or uncle
- Niece or nephew
- In-laws (mother- or father-in-law, son- or daughter-in-law, brother- or sister-in-law)
Tips for Securing the Best Flight Rates
Bereavement travel is always booked at the last minute, which is when it tends to be the most expensive time to purchase plane tickets. It can even be difficult to find last-minute seats available at any price. When faced with the need to travel quickly due to bereavement, consider all of your options.
- If you have a friend or relative who will pick you up, you may find cheaper airfare by flying into an airport an hour or two away from where you need to go.
- You may even find an ordinary fare on another airline or via a travel agent or third-party travel website that is lower than a bereavement ticket.
- You may want to travel to your destination by train or get there by bus, then buy a plane ticket to fly home (since the return trip won't be quite as last minute as your departure).
Do Additional Airlines Offer Bereavement Airfare?
Most airlines do not offer bereavement airfare. If you need to travel on an airline that is not listed here, it can't hurt to call their customer service line to see if they may be able to help. Even without an official policy, the person you speak with may be able to direct you to the most affordable flight option(s) that will help you get where you need to be within the timeframe you need. Whatever you do, be sure to read the fine print, and make sure you are fully informed of all applicable restrictions before purchasing a ticket.