In the United States and Canada, a bereavement flight is a flight purchased when a close relative has died or is dying. Bereavement fares used to be offered by many airlines, but as of 2015, most have stopped providing them.
Bereavement flights often have flexible rules, and sometimes a reduced rate, however, the price of the fare depends on the airline. Customers may be able to obtain a bereavement fare for last-minute flights that is comparable to that of a regular fare purchased in advance.
Until the late 1990s, it was common for an airline to waive the 7- or 14-day advance purchase rule for bereavements, but in recent years, many airlines have been cutting back on bereavement fares. Instead, many short-notice travelers rely on hidden city fares or other airline booking ploys.
Airlines have varying policies pertaining to bereavement flights. This may include the relatives for which one is eligible to obtain such a ticket, the proof that is required, and the price that is charged in comparison with other fares.
Airline policies differ concerning which family members are eligible for bereavement fares. Some airlines accommodate only immediate family members; others are more inclusive, offering fares for a variety of familial relations, such as foster relatives, half relatives, and step relatives. Airlines have also explored whether same-sex spouses, or domestic partners who are not legal spouses, can be included.
With the reduced availability of bereavement rates, it has been suggested that cheaper fares can often be found online.
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