November 6, 2018
Dealing with the loss of a loved one is never easy, but being far away when a family member dies can be an added sense of stress and grief. Choosing between paying an expensive flight ticket and being with your family is a decision that no one deserves to make. Here are a few strategies that can minimize the burden and help you be prepared when such situations arise.
Finding the Best Flight Options
Not long ago, most airlines offered discounted airfares to passengers with a family emergency, such as the death of a family member. Unfortunately, bereavement fares are not as common as they used to be. Delta Airlines, Air Canada, Lufthansa and WestJet are among the few airlines still offering bereavement fares. While you probably won’t be able to get a reduced ticket from most airlines, there are some strategies you can use to find more affordable last-minute flight options. For example, you could consider flying to a small airport within driving distance to your destination; this might be cheaper than flying into a major airport. You might also consider purchasing a package deal that includes a hotel or rental car.
When you are in need of finding quick travel options, contacting the airlines directly when booking a flight may be more efficient than searching online yourself. Most airlines will be willing to help passengers find the best and most affordable options available, especially if you let them know that a loved one has recently passed away.
Using Travel Miles
Another option for finding last-minute flight deals involves using miles or points from travel credit cards. Saving up rewards can help reduce or even completely cover the high cost of a last-minute flight. While it does take some time to earn miles, it may be a worthy investment. Having the flexibility to travel when a family emergency arises can help ease the pressure off an already difficult time.
For those who simply cannot afford a last-minute ticket, there are several volunteer organizations that can help. For example, the Dream Foundation, helps terminally ill adults and their families by providing inspiration and comfort at the end of life. Individuals can donate their frequent flyer miles to the Dream Foundation and other nonprofits to help those in need visit their family members, sometimes for the last time. American Red Cross provides financial assistance to military families, which can include funds for emergency travel in case of the death of a loved one. And Angel Flight Northeast is a non-profit organization that arranges free air transportation by volunteer pilots for people who need life-saving medical treatment or who need to visit critically ill family members. If you are in need of a last-minute flight due to a death of a loved one, know that there are options, and don’t be afraid to ask for support.