Bris Travel
June 10, 2019 4:41 PM   Subscribe

My mom plans to fly out to help celebrate the birth of a new baby and a bris in a couple of months. (Yay!) Is there a standard cost effective thing to do in terms of making travel plans for occasions like this? If she buys plane tickets now, I'm wondering what happens if the child is born earlier or later than expected? Is there a travel insurance option available for purchase to cover these possibilities?
posted by Gosha_Dog to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
I had my parents get tickets for a week after my due date when I was pregnant, to ensure the baby was there when they were. (They were staying for two weeks). But it wasn't important to me that they be there immediately.
posted by metasarah at 4:57 PM on June 10

We never found one. Cancel-for-any-reason policies are pricey and only get 75% or less of your costs back. Southwest is unique among the carriers in not charging a change fee, but their walk-up prices are as high as anyone. You could book a flight for the earliest reasonable date, then move it out roughly 21 days (typically still getting a decent price) if there's no baby yet. If Southwest is not a reasonable choice, it might be cheaper to book two tickets and plan to cancel one. Fully refundable tickets are 2-5x the price. The only tiny loophole is frequent-flier tickets, which can be changed somewhat more easily, depending on your carrier.
posted by wnissen at 5:00 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

From a friend who works at a major airline: trip insurance is fine, but double and triple check what they cover. And watch what company you use. Airlines list companies on their websites; usually those are good but they don't all cover the same things.

Changing your ticket has historically involved a service charge plus whatever the fare difference is. If your airline still charges a service charge, you can avoid that with medical documentation. But hopefully they don't. As far as the fare difference itself, you may be able to get a compromise from a service director if the difference is massive, like if it's within seven days of when you want to fly. But depending on where you are flying to and from, it may be a whole lot cheaper just to find your best discount flights, one way or both ways.
posted by BibiRose at 5:09 PM on June 10

If your goal is to ensure that mom is at the birth, have her come out a week before the due date (barring any likelihood that there might be something happening earlier).

If your goal is for her to come out after the baby is born and this is a relatively frequently traveled route, how much are you willing to pay for tickets ~5 days out? Look at ticket prices now for ~5 days from now and see if the cost is prohibitive. That would be a lot easier than trying to cancel tickets.
posted by k8t at 5:10 PM on June 10

If you can afford the up-front cost, and your mom is planning to stay for a week or so, I'd go ahead and buy 2-3 tickets on Southwest that bracket all reasonable bris dates, canceling the ones you don't wind up using. Last time I bought through them they actually offered straight-up refunds, not credits, but double check that!
posted by Metasyntactic at 6:50 PM on June 10 [3 favorites]

Yeah, I was also gonna suggest Southwest. They have the more expensive "fully refundable" tickets, but even their cheapest fares are changeable (though you might have to pay a fare difference). You can also cancel the flight and they'll bank the fare for you to use within one year, so that might be fine if she'll be planning a second trip out to see you guys at another point in the first year.
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:24 PM on June 10 [3 favorites]

Another bonus with Southwest: all of their tickets are one-way tickets (even the round-trip tickets are just paired one-way tickets), so you could book a bunch of one-way tickets and then cancel as y’all figure out how long she wants to stay.
posted by joycehealy at 5:18 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]

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