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Bereavement Fares Southwest

Bereavement flights are a form of compassion from airlines for people who have recently lost a loved one. If you need to fly to a relative's funeral, or to see a family member who is terminally ill, you have the option of this slightly discounted rate. Since both instances tend to occur without much warning, these fares can usually be booked very last minute; sometimes right up until the time of departure. In consideration for what you are going through, in most cases there is no minimum stay requirement, and making changes to your itinerary is simple and cost-free. While many airlines offer these discounted rates, Southwest does not.


Does Southwest Offer Bereavement Fares?


A likely reason why Southwest does not offer bereavement fares is that Southwest's fares are already very low compared to other airlines, and they cannot afford to give a deeper reduction. Although Southwest Airlines does not offer bereavement fares, there are other airlines that do. You can check them out here. Depending on the airline, you will receive the discounted fare at the time of purchase, or you will be required to submit a request for a refund after your trip has ended. In both situations you will need documentation that proves the reason for the trip and your connection to your relative.


American Airlines, United, and Continental each offer these fares. Note that you will be subject to airline-specific guidelines if you choose to purchase one.


Continued below….

Bereavement Fares


To reserve a bereavement or emergency fare with an airline other than Southwest, you will have to follow their rules. For American Airlines, you will need to contact them by phone. With United, at the time of the purchase they require the name, phone number, and address of the funeral home, hospice, or hospital, the name of your relative, and how you are related. Additionally, if you are traveling to see a relative who is terminally ill, you will need to provide the name of their doctor. You must also fit into United's classification of an immediate family member, which includes step-family, in-laws, foster and adopted children or parents, and half-siblings.


You have an option to request a refund after the time of travel if you do not possess this information at the time you purchase the ticket. As United and Continental are connected, the guidelines for Continental Airlines are the same.

Are Bereavement Fares Still a Good Deal?


Bereavement fares are not always the most budget-friendly way to purchase tickets. United and Continental's bereavement fares are both only 5% off the regular price. The advantage, therefore, is in the flexibility and last-minute availability of these fares.


If you're hoping to save money, flying with Southwest Airlines may be a better option. Southwest's regular rates are much cheaper than that of other major airlines. A round trip flight from New York to Chicago, booked only a few days in advance, normally costs $399 from Delta and $496 from United.


When this same flight is purchased from Southwest or Southwest Airtran, it costs a mere $173. That's more than 50% off; a much more cost-effective option than the $471 United's bereavement fare would cost you. If you have the flexibility to purchase farther ahead, or if you have extra time to search for sale prices, you can find even cheaper deals.

What You Should Do


In the days leading up to a funeral or to the death of a loved one, searching for a good deal on an airfare is of course not on the top of your priority list. That is what makes a bereavement fare so appealing.


Bereavement fares give you freedom to leave when you need to, and remove the stress that comes from planning a trip. Although Southwest Airlines does not offer these fares, you can often book even same-day airfare, and receive a much less expensive ticket than even a bereavement fare from United or Continental would be.


While this option does not include the flexibility and ability to return or exchange the ticket with no repercussions, it also frees you from the requirement of proving your connection to your loved one, which in some cases can cause more hassle than the ticket is worth.