Bereavement flights are the special reduced rate that airlines offer to relatives of someone who has died or is very sick. They may also offer discounts for family emergencies. While many airlines offer bereavement fares, some do not. You should always remember to look at the terms and conditions of your flight in case there are any restrictions or fine print, such as document requirements (you may be required to provide a death certificate) or cancellation policies.
Airline’s Bereavement Policy
Who Qualifies for a Bereavement Fare Discount?
Not all airlines have the same policy concerning who qualifies as a family member, see below. Many airlines consider only immediate family members (spouses, parents, children, brothers, and sisters). While others are more inclusive. Those that are more inclusive my include step-relatives, half relatives, foster relatives, domestic partners, et cetera. Below we list who is eligible for a bereavement discount by each airline.
North American Airline’s Bereavement Policies
Last-minute fares have generally decreased, making bereavement discounts less valuable for travelers. We are eliminating bereavement discounts while maintaining the flexibility we offer ticketed customers who encounter medical situations.
Effective March 14, 2014, United will discontinue the five percent discount previously offered to customers needing to travel due to a death or serious illness.
We will continue to refund change fees, in certain cases, for travel affected by unplanned events.”
Also, see United Airlines Refund Form & Policies for refunds related to deaths.
You will need to call Delta Reservations at 800-221-1212 for domestic flights or 800-241-4141 for an international flight. You cannot book bereavement flights through the Delta Airlines website. Bereavement fares are subject to the following restrictions according to the Delta website.
- Tickets under the Bereavement policy are subject to availability and may not be available at the time of booking
- Delta’s Bereavement policy provides flexibility to the outbound and/or return a portion of your trip by waiving service fees; however, fare differences may still apply
- Lower promotional fares may be available on delta.com or through Delta Reservations and may serve as a better option in some markets
Definition of Immediate Family Member
- Domestic partner
You will need the following documentation to book a bereavement fare flight with delta:
- Deceased person’s name
- Customer’s relationship with the deceased
- Name and phone number of funeral home, hospital, or hospice
- Name of doctor (if applicable)
Air Canada has a bereavement policy which applies to the following:
- Immediate family members, which includes:
- Spouse (includes common-law, same-sex partners and ex-spouse),
- Child (includes / step / grand / great grand),
- Parent (includes step / grand / great grand / in-law / common-law in-law),
- Son or daughter (includes step / in-law / common-law in-law),
- Brother, sister (includes step / half / in-law / common-law in-law),
- Legal guardian and spouse of legal guardian (with proof of judgment)
All the above include in-laws of a same-sex partner.
- Any flight marketed and operated by Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge, or Air Canada Express
- Any Economy Class fare, except for our North America Basic fare
- Bereavement travel that occurs within 10 days of booking and that does not exceed 60 days
You must contact Air Canada through the phone and have the following information and documentation:
- the name of the family member
- the relationship of dying or deceased to the customer
- the name of the hospital or residence, as well as the attending physician’s name, address and phone number, or
- the name, address, and phone number of the memorial or funeral home, along with the date of the memorial or funeral.
If you’re purchasing your ticket at an Air Canada airport ticket counter, we’ll ask you for:
- a copy of the death certificate or
- a letter from the attending physician or hospital defining the imminent death of your family member.
If you have already traveled and would like to submit your ticket for a reduced bereavement rate, kindly do so within 90 days of the date your ticket was issued by completing our Ticket Refund.
When you do, please attach one of the following:
- a copy of the death certificate,
- a Statement of Death issued by the coroner or the funeral director
- a letter from the attending physician or hospital (original or copy)
- a Registration of Death issued by a provincial government
American Airlines currently does not offer bereavement fares on flights.
The following can be found on the Alaska Airlines website.
If one of your immediate family members has passed away, you may receive a 10% discount off the lowest priced Alaska Airlines fare available within 7 days of travel. This reduced rate is available to members of our free Mileage Plan™ program, and only when purchasing your ticket by phone.
Contact us here to receive this reduced rate fare:
Reservations and customer service: 1-800-252-7522
Hearing and speech impaired (TTY): Dial 711 for relay services
Accessible services: 1-800-503-0101
Definition of an Immediate Family Member
- A spouse or domestic partner
- A child or stepchild
- A parent (mother, father, stepmother, or stepfather)
- Siblings (brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, stepbrother, or stepsister)
- Grandparents (grandmother, grandfather, step-grandparent, or great grandparent)
- A grandchild (granddaughter, grandson, step-grandchild, or great-grandchild)
- An aunt or uncle
- A niece or nephew
- In-laws (mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law)
Additional details and restrictions that apply:
- The discount is valid on Alaska Airlines flights and Horizon, SkyWest, and PenAir flights operated as Alaska Airlines flights.
- The discount cannot be offered after travel has begun.
- Travel must begin within seven days of purchasing your ticket.
- Guests over the age of 18 must be Mileage Plan members and have their Mileage Plan numbers added to their reservation.
- Any guests under the age of 18 are not required to have their Mileage Plan numbers added to their reservation.
- This fare discount only applies to new tickets purchased by contacting our call center.
- All rules associated with the fare are applicable.
- All fees associated with the fare are applicable, including change and name transfer fees.
- This fare discount cannot be combined with any other promotional discounts (such as Money & Miles, companion fares, government, military, or web specials).
JetBlue currently does not offer bereavement fares on flights but does have flexible options for canceling and changing flights.
Southwest Airlines currently does not offer bereavement fares on flights but does have flexible options for canceling and changing flights.
Frontier Airlines currently does not offer bereavement fares on flights but does have flexible options for canceling and changing flights.
Virgin America Airlines currently does not offer bereavement fares on flights but does have flexible options for canceling and changing flights.
Bereavement fares, if offered, give family members the ability to travel at a discount to see a family member who is after a death or death is imminent. You should double-check the requirements and terms for any fare as different airlines use different definitions for who qualifies and when, as well as the information and documentation required. While not all airlines offer bereavement fares, most airlines do allow for more flexible cancellation and changes in the event you will need to make changes to your plans.