What many people don’t know is that when unfortunate deaths occur many companies offer prices called “bereavement fares” in order to help you get to your destination and help the deceased to their burial or funeral location. Unfortunately, I had to go through this process recently when my grandmother died in Philadelphia and we attended her funeral in Montreal. While I was told to spend whatever I needed to in order to get there, I wanted to make sure that last minute travel would not be too much of a burden on who would be paying for it in the end.
I started by finding the best airline to fly directly from Boston to Montreal and, as it turns out, it was Air Canada. Their bereavement fare policy is actually quite generous and lenient in how you purchase tickets. I searched their website and found flights for $896 one-way in economy but when I called and gave them the required information, the costs dropped to either $441 or ~$250 one-way, a huge savings for when people are in need.
I also had planned Amtrak train travel using points before this all took place and had to get those tickets refunded. I called and was told that I could get all but a 10% refund as per their policy and if I faxed them an image of the obituary or funeral program I would get the last bit back. This is exactly what took place. Additionally, you should know that while not advertised easily, I found a site explaining that they will offer 25% discounts off tickets for bereavement.
Unfortunately, many American-based companies do not offer bereavement fares. A news article recently proclaimed the end of the program for a variety of the big domestic airlines. Delta still does, however, despite the fact that some of the fares may not be the cheapest (although they will be more flexible to changes).
So, in the end, it’s possible you will not be able to use these fares to help you get a loved one to their final destination, but it’s good to know to ask just in case.