The Essentials

Do Airlines Offer Bereavement Fares?


It remains one of the more confusing aspects of airline ticketing.


If a loved one or close friend dies, will the airlines offer you a discounted ticket to go to the memorial service or funeral?


For decades, airlines offered something called a bereavement or compassion fare, a substantially discounted ticket.


The airlines required proof to issue the ticket: a letter from a doctor or hospital or in some cases a copy of the death certificate. But the airlines discovered many passengers were scamming the system.


Miraculously, a lot of people were suddenly dying on the Wednesday before a holiday weekend, with the memorial service on that Friday, or right before Thanksgiving or Christmas.


After all, last-minute fares are usually the highest.


So, one by one, the airlines canceled the discounts. A few airlines, like Delta, still offer the bereavement fares but are requiring detailed documentation that can be verified.


Still, keep in mind that the bereavement fares usually only offer a discount from the airlines’ highest published fares, and you might die trying to find a real deal. So the discount may be meaningless. Often, finding a cheaper fare online is the better way to go.