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Compassionate Fares Still Offered?  
User currently offlineSmokescreen From Canada, joined Jul 2005, 230 posts, RR: 0
Posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 4938 times:

I am curious if any airlines in N. America still offer discounted fares for people travelling last minute as a result of death or serious illness in the family - I know they used to.

If so, which ones? What are the specific policies (eg. how close a family member does it need to be, does it apply to illness and/or death, what sort of "proof" is required, what discount is offered)?

Input is appreciated!

BTW I did a search on this topic but was unable to find anything.

14 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineSlider From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6787 posts, RR: 34
Reply 1, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 4922 times:

I believe most still offer bereavement fares or a waiver of full Y walk-up fare. Given that fares are so cheap anyhow, it's negligible in some instances really.

Senior citizen discounts went away a long time ago for the most part as well.


User currently onlineTonyBurr From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 1023 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 4847 times:

I think that most have done away with the Bereavement fare, which is a shame.

Slider, when you say that "fares are so cheap anyhow", I am not sure I understand. If you can plan a trip far in advance you might find a low fare, but never at the last minute, and that is what bereavement is all about. EVen Southwest lat minute fares can be very high. How do you see last minute fares (needed for bereavement) as so cheap?


User currently offlineTPAnx From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 1021 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 4844 times:

Quoting TonyBurr (Reply 2):
think that most have done away with the Bereavement fare, which is a shame.

 checkmark 
When in doubt, ask to speak with a supervisor....
TPAnx



I read the news today..oh boy
User currently onlineEA CO AS From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 13517 posts, RR: 62
Reply 4, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 4803 times:
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Quoting TonyBurr (Reply 2):
I think that most have done away with the Bereavement fare, which is a shame.

Why should airlines offer bereavement discounts though? No other businesses do. Try telling Avis they need to lower their rental rate since someone died and you're driving the car to the service. Or the hotel you're staying at that they need to slash 50% off the rate because you're bereaved. Or the restaurant that you're in town for a funeral and as such, they need to give you a discount on your meal.

Or the florist. Or the dry-cleaners. And so on.

Quoting TonyBurr (Reply 2):
Slider, when you say that "fares are so cheap anyhow", I am not sure I understand.

You no longer need a second mortgage to have a family of four travel at the last minute - something that was very much a reality 30, 20 or even just 10 years ago in some cases. That's the key. Back in the day, a family traveling due to a death could spell financial ruin for many.

Today, last minute fares are much more reasonable and it's no longer appropriate for air carriers to be expected to slash them to accomodate a bereavement situation.

I know I'll get flamed by many for this thought, but consider for a moment that even everyone's beloved WN does not offer bereavement fares.

It's an idea that no longer fits in this industry.



"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan
User currently offlineToulouse From Switzerland, joined Apr 2005, 2758 posts, RR: 58
Reply 5, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 8 hours ago) and read 4743 times:

Smokescreen, sorry as my answer is not directly responding to your question as I'm going to refer to my experience with a European airline and not a North American one.

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 4):
Why should airlines offer bereavement discounts though?

Why shouldn't they? Apart from the compassion shown by "most" human beings in these situations which can be both surprising and comforting in such a difficult time, despite you thinking these things have no place in the industry today, I think it's also a good business move by the airline. One will spread the news and others will think what a nice airline, I must try to give them my business.

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 4):
Today, last minute fares are much more reasonable and it's no longer appropriate for air carriers to be expected to slash them to accomodate a bereavement situation.

Not always true.

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 4):
I know I'll get flamed by many for this thought,

Yes you will, and while I respect your opinion and see the logic you're coming from, if you're working in reservations, I think I'd prefer not to deal with you Smile

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 4):
It's an idea that no longer fits in this industry.

Not the case, from a simple marketing stance, it has its place. My recent experience.

Had just arrived on my holidays this spring in souther Spain, two nights later my dad entered a coma while sleeping at home (after a long illness yet his death wasn't expected so soon). I was told at 8am and that there was no hope. The following 7 hours were the worst I've had in my life, there wasn't a single ticket available to Dublin that day (end of Irish school holidays so lots of people returning). Iberia were kind to me, but obviously aren't open to compassionate fares, they could get me out of Malaga that evening to Barcelona, over nighting there then flying to some where in Scandinavia (if I remember rightly) then on to Dublin... it was 3 flights anyway and totalling some €2500! If I had to I would have taken it, IB did offer to hold the reservation for me in case I didn't find anything else. Spoke to Aer Lingus, all flights, all they could offer me was two days later from Sevilla to Dublin. Asked for fare they just responded "don't worry about that now, you've got enough to think about". Anyway they also held the reservation and kept on looking for me. At 3pm they phones me to say they had an airhostess on the EI night departure from Malaga to Dublin that night at around 11pm and they had moved her into the jump seat and given me her seat. No request for credit card numbers or anything. At 5pm they even phoned me back to say they had spoken to Iberia, their handling agent at Malaga to advise them of my situation, and that they had reserved me an aisle seat in row one (and this was about 3 months before EI started providing pre seat assignment when booking now available online) to allow me to disembark first in Dublin and that they had instructed Iberia to allow me to bring all my luggage on board so I wouldn't have to wait in DUB to collect it. Still no credit card requested. Got to Malaga airport, to desks for DUB flight. The guy I got knew nothing, but turned to the woman at the other desk, she immediately said are you "Senor x", I said yes, and she told him I didn't need to collect a ticket from the ticket desk which he had said and that all luggage was to be brought onboard. Now I was concerned as I had a rather large suitcase and laptop, yet he insisted I could bring it all onboard. On boarding the EI flight one of the f/a's very discretely told me they knew why I was flying back to Dublin and if they could do anything for me, just to call. I just took a coke from the onboard pay service, she wouldn't let me pay! Before departure, the pilot while giving is welcome aboard speach said we would be deparing a few minutes early and were due to arrive in Dublin about 25 minutes early, as they were taking a specific routing/altitude as there was a passenger onboard who needed to get home asap... was he referring to me? While disembarking, the two f/a's up front sort of blocked the other passengers in the other row so I could disembark first and they wished me all the best. Unfortunately my father passed away 20 minutes after my departure from AGP.
I will always be grateful to EI for this exceptional and compassionat service and will always try to fly with them. This story has already impressed a lot of people, especially back in Ireland, many saying "how kind, EI really are great" or "Ryanair wouldn't do that, yet another reason to take EI over FR".

Now I didn't intend getting a free ticket, to be honest it was the last thing on my mind, I just wanted to get home, but having experienced all this compassion from Aer Lingus, I can guarantee you I'm a more loyal EI flyer/fan than ever!

And with regards to your below quote:

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 4):
Why should airlines offer bereavement discounts though? No other businesses do.

You're wrong! I didn't expect discounts, but my long day in Spain waiting to return went as follows. Went to an Irish bar (granted they knew me) and wouldn't charge me anything for the drinks I had (all soft drinks as I wanted to keep my head straight!). Went down to a restaurant at about 6pm to ask if I could have a quick dinner around 7pm and told them why I needed it in a rush, they said sure, gave me an entrecotte, still bottles water, a salad and a coffee and they wanted me to eat more but I wasn't very hungry... I asked for the bill and they responded along the lines of "don't worry amigo, it's on the house given the circulstamces". Had also had a coke in a bar beside this restaurant before dinner, told them my story, and guess what, the coca cola was on the house and on top of that they insisted on ring a taxi driver they knew to bring me to the airport, he said it would be free! Inthe end I cancelled the taxi as an Irish friend living some 150km away insisted on driving down after work to where I was and brought me to the airport.

So thankfully, yes there was still compassionate people and businesses around.

Just my story! Allthis compassion really touched me.



Long live Aer Lingus!
User currently offlineTurkee From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 8 hours ago) and read 4728 times:

(Not North America, but still...)

QF still offer compassionate fares, and will even waive the booking fee. The compassionate fare is the equivalent of the cheapest internet booking fare. They simply overbook the number of fares sold in that class.


User currently offline57AZ From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2550 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 4673 times:

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 4):
Or the dry-cleaners.

Actually, most dry cleaners will do token services-specifically dry cleaning US Ensigns. Last time I needed to have the the flag that covered my grandfather's casket cleaned, our local dry cleaners had it cleaned and pressed for free.

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 4):
It's an idea that no longer fits in this industry.

Any industry or company that places profit above human decency is a company that deserves to wither. Run your business the right way or don't run it at all.



"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
User currently offlineNWrr From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 84 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 4 hours ago) and read 4646 times:

NW offers Medical Emergency/Bereavement fares to most destinations. When I worked for AA (back in '03) they did as well, but that may have changed.


Welcome to the back of the boat...the non-rev section
User currently offlineTCXDegsy From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2006, 517 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 4 hours ago) and read 4641 times:

Air Canada still offer Bereavement Fares, and even have a whole page about it on their website:
http://www.aircanada.com/en/travelinfo/before/bereavement.html



next flights: BA1441 0566 0581 1446 EDI-LHR-MXP-LHR-EDI
User currently offlineGoingboeing From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4875 posts, RR: 16
Reply 10, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 4 hours ago) and read 4632 times:

When my father passed away in 2001 and my mother in 2004, American Airlines offered a bereavement fare of about $300 from MCI-DFW. The ticket was fully refundable and changable without penalty. I had to give them the name and phone number of the funeral home, but there were no hassles in getting the ticket. The LCC's usually do not offer bereavement fares because even their fully refundable fares are still very reasonable. For example - the fare I paid on AA (this was before WN started service from MCI-DAL) is about the same as the current unrestricted round trip fare between the two cities. At the time, the last minute fare on AA was around $800, so that was a very generous discount. It is also one big reasons why AA is my carrier of choice if Southwest doesn't fly where I'm going.

User currently offlineGoaliemn From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 463 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 4582 times:

NW does. They need the name of the funeral home and they will call to verify the service. Not a huge deal.

User currently offline777MechSys From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 350 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 4550 times:
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UA does. SEA to SAT for $325. Left the next day and the return was set but moved to any day without penalty.

User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12345 posts, RR: 25
Reply 13, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 4540 times:

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 4):
Or the restaurant that you're in town for a funeral and as such, they need to give you a discount on your meal.

Well, the restaurant doesn't quadruple the rate you pay if you walk in during the dinner hour either.

Airline rates penalize people who do not plan ahead of time. In general, most people don't see a problem with it, unless we are talking about a death in the family, which one does not usually get the chance to plan for ahead of time. Airlines realize this (or at least they used to) and act accordingly.

Not sure why this seemingly bothers you, EA CO AS.



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlineSmokescreen From Canada, joined Jul 2005, 230 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week ago) and read 4484 times:

Thanks for feedback, everyone. I had a look at the AC web page linked to by TCXDegsy, thanks for that, and was interested to see that they only offer these fares to people travelling to/from outside of North America. I suppose the idea is that they will help defray really onerous long-distance travel costs, but that most people can handle the expense of a last-minute domestic flight.

Thanks also for the info re. AA, UA, and NWA from those who mentioned them.

EA CO AS, I certainly wasn't implying that airlines should offer these discounts, and in fact I am a bit surprised that so many still do given the state of the industry.
I knew that many (if not most) used to offer this discount and was wondering if it was still common practice - which it apparently is. As has been pointed out, it is a good way to generate goodwill for a relatively low cost.


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