What airlines offer bereavement flights?
Sadly, not all airlines offer discounts to relatives and close friends who are traveling due to the loss of a loved one or a family emergency.
However, there are some domestic and international carriers in the US and Canada that offer bereavement fares. This is in recognition of the fact that traveling due to a bereavement will usually involve a last-minute/walk-up booking, and these can be very expensive.
Among the airlines that do offer a bereavement discount, the rules and prices vary from carrier to carrier. Airlines that offer discounted bereavement fares today include Delta Airlines, Air Canada, Lufthansa and WestJet. These airlines all require that the passenger is an immediate family member, and is able to provide details of the person who has passed on, and the funeral arrangements. These details are taken by a customer service rep while you make the booking. (Bereavement flights can’t be booked online.)
Some airlines, though they don’t offer bereavement flights, will extend extra assistance to passengers who are arranging travel due to a bereavement, so they can help make the journey as straightforward as possible.
We’ve outlined the policies of a number of carriers in the US and Canada below.
Bereavement flights aren’t always the best fares
First, though: the reason many airlines give for no longer offering bereavement flights is that their everyday low-cost fares and deals are actually cheaper than their old bereavement discount.
And even the airlines that do offer a bereavement discount make it clear that the bereavement fare might not be the lowest fare available at that time.
So, before booking a bereavement flight, we highly recommend searching Skyscanner for the best deals on your flight route. You can then compare these prices with the bereavement fare offered by the airline.
In most cases, a quick search on Skyscanner will find you a much better price.
And, while bereavement fares often offer flexible travel conditions — for example, they might waive a change fee if you have to amend your travel plans due to the emergency — a lot of other airlines will also waive change fees in emergency circumstances.
More on all of this below.
Airlines that offer bereavement flights
Delta bereavement flights are offered in the event of the passing, or imminent passing, of immediate family.
However, they vary in price, and are subject to availability. When you are able to book one, though, it will offer some flexibility on the best published fare on your route. Plus, if you need to make unexpected changes to your travel plans, the standard change fees are waived.
Something to bear in mind: Delta bereavement flights are only offered to SkyMiles members, though Delta gives you the option to enrol immediately on their Bereavement Policy page. Here, you’ll also find a list of what the airline considers to be an ‘immediate family member’, the documentation they require before giving you the discount, and additional terms and conditions.
To book a Delta bereavement fare, you’ll need to call their reservations line on 800-221-1212.
Air Canada bereavement flights offer a discount when traveling during a time of family emergency, but your journey must begin within seven days of booking for international travel, or ten days for domestic travel (ie, within North America).
You should also be aware that Air Canada requires your stay doesn’t exceed 30 days for international travel, or 60 days for domestic. Plus, their bereavement discount doesn’t apply to codeshare flights, business class, premium economy class, or North America Basic fares.
Find their policy here.
Special fares in the event of a loved one passing are offered for Lufthansa flights that take off from the US and Canada. As with all the other carriers, you’ll need to call their reservations line to find out whether you qualify, and exactly how much of a discount is offered.
You can contact the Lufthansa reservations office in the US on 800-645-3880, or the one in Canada on 800-563-5954.
WestJet offers bereavement fares and ‘civic funeral fares’ (discounts for guests traveling to a funeral for firefighters, police officers, military personnel or emergency services personnel who have passed in the line of duty).
The WestJet bereavement discount is available on Econo, EconoFlex and Premium fares, but travel must be completed within a period of 14 days.
Bereavement flights can only be booked by calling WestJet on 1-888-937-8538, and you’ll be asked for proof of your situation.
Change fees are also waived for bereavement flights.
For more info, check out the WestJet bereavement fare page here.
Does American Airlines offer bereavement flights?
American Airlines ended their bereavement fares in 2014, but they may waive change fees if your travel plans shift due to the passing, or imminent passing, of a loved one. You can find additional information here.
Does Southwest offer bereavement flights?
Southwest does not offer bereavement flights — but they may also waive change fees if you need to make a last-minute alteration to your travel plans because of a family emergency.
Does United offer bereavement flights?
United used to offer a 5% bereavement discount, but they, too, ended the policy in 2014. Instead, they will refund change fees for travel plans affected by family emergencies. This can be done by submitting a refund request online. You’ll also need to submit evidence of the emergency, and your relationship to the family member who is ill or passed.
Does JetBlue offer bereavement flights?
No, JetBlue does not offer a bereavement discount. Your best bet with this airline might be to buy a refundable fare, so that if your travel plans change, you don’t get hit with more costs. Be sure to read their terms and conditions on refundable fares before making this decision, though.
Need some advice on finding the best fares on Skyscanner? We’ve got tons of helpful articles that’ll show you how to search out the fairest price.
We hope this helps you on your journey.