There are three major airlines that offer bereavement fares to travelers. Those that do offer discounts typically limit them to the airfares only; baggage handling and other costs remain the same for all passengers.

Airlines That Offer Bereavement Fares

Airlines that offer discounted fares for medical emergencies and deaths require travelers to book directly through them over the phone. Compare the quoted fare with other specials. Sometimes you can find better deals through online travel portals like Expedia and Travelocity.

  • American Airlines has a compassion/bereavement fare that is not limited to immediate family and extends to domestic partners. It also applies to medical emergencies. The fares are subject to reasonable restrictions (i.e. must be used within seven days of purchase). Tickets may be purchased only by calling American Airlines at 800-433-7300. 5
  • Delta offers discounted fares for immediate family, which includes step-relatives, in-laws, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews. You’ll need to provide the name and phone number of the funeral home, hospital or hospice. Delta also has a Delta Cares program that helps families who need to transport the remains of a deceased family member. Arrangements may be made only by calling Delta at 800-221-1212.
  • United offers a five percent discount to people who must travel for medical emergencies or death of a loved one. It also has a liberal definition of immediate family, which extends to foster families, half-siblings and legal guardians as well as step-relatives and in-laws. United also allows a 5 percent refund if the traveler is not able to provide required documentation prior to travel. The discount is applicable to first-class tickets as well. Tickets may be booked through United’s website.

Required Documentation for Bereavement

The airline will ask for information so it can verify that you are, indeed, asking for a discount because of a death or medical emergency in the family. You’ll need to provide the deceased person’s name, relationship to you, contact information for the funeral home or hospital/hospice, and the name of the doctor, if he or she had one.

If the discounted fare is still a strain on your bank account, and borrowing from relatives isn’t an option, visit CashNetUSA to apply for a short-term cash advances. You might also be able to cash in frequent flier miles, depending on the terms of use from your airline.