Transatlantic bereavement fares
July 8, 2008 6:23 PM   Subscribe

In the (possibly very) near future I will want to fly from the UK to the US for a relative's funeral. Can you help me find the lowest fare?

Any day now I expect to get a phonecall that my grandfather (in Greenville, NC) has passed away. I intend to get on a plane shortly after that and attend the funeral, but I would prefer to get the best deal possible.

I know that I could simply call any airline, establish my reason (give them my name and the hospice or funeral home's number), and get a "bereavement fare" significantly lower than their current published ticket price on the next plane out.

However I have also read that recently many airlines have decreased or eliminated their "bereavement fare" discounts--and none of the airlines explicitly state (apart from relatives that are included) what their bereavement fare policies and price schedules are. I have also read that calling an airline and asking for a bereavement fare on the next available plane can be considerably more expensive than booking online for a flight 8 hours later.

I am in East Sussex and would prefer to fly out of Gatwick (although Heathrow and other South East airports are options) to New Bern, Wilmington, or RDU. Right now my best option would be to fly with Zoom to New York and then SouthWest/USAir/Delta or Amtrak into NC. But I don't know anything about any possible bereavement fares they might offer over the phone to take into consideration.

Can you offer me any specific advice (along the lines of "Delta actually did a very generous bereavement discount for me in March" or "Don't even bother calling SouthWest.") or general advice for making this trip more affordable? I intend to be there, but I do not want to drastically overspend if I don't have to just because I'm not in the mood to search for bargains.
posted by K.P. to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Jetblue does not do bereavement fares.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:19 PM on July 8, 2008

I like this site. They honor a quoted fare for seven days, which you may find useful. And I'm really sorry to hear about your grandfather.
posted by heyho at 8:11 PM on July 8, 2008

ITA Software is amazing.
posted by mdonley at 8:53 PM on July 8, 2008

Kayak's UK site is pretty good at letting you frame these kinds of queries as a search - if you register with them then you can say something like "I want to leave from Gatwick or somewhere close and fly to Raleigh Durham or somewhere close on date x returning date y and am willing to be flexible on the dates within a few days". When you have established the most promising airlines and routes via this method I would call them up and ask about bereavement fares.
posted by rongorongo at 2:42 AM on July 9, 2008

And a general page about bereavement fares. Some key elements from this: you may well end up paying more for a bereavement fare than a discount ticket, you may also be able to book one on the expectation of an imminent death.
posted by rongorongo at 2:48 AM on July 9, 2008 cheapest rates by far, 59.00 each way.
posted by skaramatthew at 4:58 AM on July 9, 2008

Seconding Kayak.
posted by Mwongozi at 11:23 AM on July 9, 2008

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