Special Fares for Emergency Trips
Outside of planned vacations, family visits or work trips you may one day be faced with the need for an emergency flight to visit a friend or relative in need. Often these flights can be outrageously expensive but there options out there to help reduce your costs.
We all know last-minute travel can be very expensive. Booking flights the day of or before you need to travel can cost hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars. If you need to book a last-minute trip for a family emergency or to attend a funeral, airlines may be willing to reduce the cost of your ticket.
Usually, you can ask for a reduced-cost ticket only in cases of a family or medical emergency or bereavement. Here are a few rules to keep in mind when trying to book these types of flights.
Family or medical emergency
If you need an emergency flight, this is not the time to peruse the airline’s website. Call the customer service number and speak with a representative. Keep in mind, however, that he or she may not be able to get you on a flight leaving within a couple of hours. Representatives will not bump someone else to get you on a flight, but they may allow you to fly standby and grab a seat if someone misses his or her flight.
These fares are limited to emergencies experienced by specific family members, which often include spouses/domestic partners, children, parents, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, in-laws, stepparents, stepsiblings and stepchildren.
Each airline treats emergency fares differently, but three reasons are consistent across most airlines:
- Hospitalization or hospice: If a family member is admitted to a hospital or registered in a hospice program. Be prepared to share the name and relationship of the family member as well as the name and phone number of the hospital or hospice facility.
- Military injury: If an immediate family member has a war-related injury. Be prepared to share the name and relationship of the family member as well as the name and phone number of the hospital.
- Organ donors: If you are an organ donor and you are traveling for a procedure. You do not need to be donating your organ to an immediate family member. Be prepared to share the recipient’s name as well as the name and phone number of the hospital where the procedure is taking place.
Much like those fares available for medical or family emergencies, you must call an airline representative to request a bereavement fare. You will not be able to book this online.
These fares are available when an immediate family member passes away. The list of those considered “immediate family” is consistent with requirements for emergency fares. When calling to book a bereavement fare, be prepared to share the name and relationship of the family member as well as the name and phone number of the hospital, hospice facility or funeral home. Occasionally, the airline will request a doctor’s name as well.
While we hope you don’t need to travel for family emergencies any time soon, it’s good to know the airlines may help reduce the cost of your ticket when you do fly.