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Airline Policy and Procedures on Family Emergencies/Death

Minneapolis
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Airline Policy and Procedures on Family Emergencies/Death

II realize my emergency/problem does not constitute an emergency and or problem on the part of the airlines....but after having to deal with the sudden sickness and death of a couple of my immediate family members (i.e. father) over the past year I found it somewhat odd the disparity between airline policy and procedure. If you provide details (i.e. name of hospital / doctor or a death certificate) you have the ability to pay for a first class ticket in standby coach or have a ticket at normal price (i.e. booked 6 months in advance) and no penalty and seat guaranteed - depends on who from the airlines you talk to and when. Is there a rhyme or reason or is it who will pay and how much with no questions asked because you need to get from point a to point b??

Bangkok
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for Bangkok, Air Travel, Thailand
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1. Re: Airline Policy and Procedures on Family Emergencies/Death

Hi,

There IS a lot of disparity.. In part because it's not a part of air travel that is regulated by the national government or regional government.

As such, so long as their policy doesn't run afoul of the overriding airline commerce rules- they are largely free to set whatever policy they like.. And in most cases, free to waive any or all parts, at their sole discretion.

The other ugly reality is that this "bereavement" fare issue has been intentionally misused/abused uh some who didn't meet the discretionary program rules - but knowingly filed a false application for its use.

So.. As it is with many things in life, as misuse comes about, it tends to limit or restrict the program - to the detriment of everyone - those few who abuse it, but those who didn't/don't

Travel Safe,

Edited: 21 December 2013, 05:09
Sydney/Melbourne
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2. Re: Airline Policy and Procedures on Family Emergencies/Death

I thought that this was just the kind of situation where travel insurance kicked in to cover our of pocket expenses? Especially things like having to pay for a full fare first class ticket because it's at short notice. A word of warning though - check the T&Cs carefully. We got stung because the hospitalized relative was over 80 and so we weren't covered.

Park City, Utah
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for Utah, Winter Sports
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3. Re: Airline Policy and Procedures on Family Emergencies/Death

Yes, there will be disparity as it's determined by each airline. Changing fare structures and more tighter control by carriers has resulted in significant changes to what may have been offered in the past. Here's Delta's policy, which is focused more on flexibility in return dates.

delta.com/content/…bereavement.html

Brisbane, Australia
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for Brisbane
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4. Re: Airline Policy and Procedures on Family Emergencies/Death

What's the benefit of first class at coach prices? Why is that a priority due to a bereavement?

UK
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5. Re: Airline Policy and Procedures on Family Emergencies/Death

I thought that this was just the kind of situation where travel insurance kicked in to cover our of pocket expenses?

--------

Only if you are the party travelling. If you live in A, are in A, and a relative in B dies, I'm not aware of any insurance that would pay for your ticket. This is what the OP is discussing I think.

Bingley, United...
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for Edinburgh
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6. Re: Airline Policy and Procedures on Family Emergencies/Death

< I'm not aware of any insurance that would pay for your ticket. >

Depends on how close the relationship is - parent, child or sibling then most will pay out PROVIDED it wasn't an expected death

UK
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7. Re: Airline Policy and Procedures on Family Emergencies/Death

What insurance would that be Alan? (remember, the person wanting to buy the ticket isn't travelling, they are at home)

Portland, Oregon
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for Air Travel
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8. Re: Airline Policy and Procedures on Family Emergencies/Death

"What insurance would that be Alan? (remember, the person wanting to buy the ticket isn't travelling, they are at home)"

It's possible that the deceased's life insurance policy may cover it. Apparently my late father's would have (at least partially) covered my transport from the west coast to London when the Lord came calling.

I didn't make use of it because (a) I didn't know about it at the time and (b) I flew back using FF miles.

In fact, that's why I keep a very large pile of FF miles to one side, in case I need to make an emergency dash.

Edited: 21 December 2013, 12:13
Fortaleza, CE
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9. Re: Airline Policy and Procedures on Family Emergencies/Death

I'm not clear on what our question is. Policies have long varied widely by airline, including circumstances in which bereavement fare (higher than advance purchase, but less than last-minute purchase) was eligible, and whether the person had to be an immediate relative, etc. When I used such a fare 13 years ago, it was a hassle, and my understanding was that fewer and fewer airlines were allowing such fares. Best to just assume you can't get one, and be ready to do a lot of phoning to find out if you can.

Vancouver, Canada
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for London
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10. Re: Airline Policy and Procedures on Family Emergencies/Death

I've never seen an airline offer a seat in First at an Economy fare as part of a bereavement or emergency type of booking. AC and WS offer more flexibility in unexpected circumstances, but I don't think they discount fares because one needs to fly at very short notice.

I had to fly a lot before Mother Plus died, and simply booked what was available, checking a couple of airlines to see what fares and times were, then booking the best of what was offered. Her life insurance did help pay the cost of my flight for the funeral as well.