Air Canada’s Bereavement Fare Discounts Explained

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It’s emotionally challenging when someone dies. Not only are you saddened by the loss of a loved one, but you have to figure out the logistics behind setting up bereavement leave at work and booking travel to the funeral. 

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For many airlines, bereavement fare discounts are a thing of the past. Air Canada is an exception. Read on to discover Air Canada’s bereavement flights and how to take advantage of the discounted rates. We will also give you travel tips on how to save money when you are traveling for a loved one’s funeral.

Air Canada’s Current Bereavement Fare Policy

Air Canada’s website says that they currently offer a bereavement rate for their flights sold by Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge, or Air Canada Express. Those traveling for a funeral must purchase economy or North American basic fare tickets to qualify for a discounted rate. 

Air Canada assumes that if you’re flying to be with a loved one who is dying or to attend a family member’s funeral, that the tickets will be for flights occurring within the next ten days. 

Whose deathbed or funeral can you attend to receive discounted airline tickets?

Air Canada has a list of relationships that would qualify for discounted airline tickets. They include the following family members:

  • Spouse (including common law, same-sex partners and ex-spouse)
  • Child (including stepchildren, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren)
  • Parent (including stepparents, grandparents, great-grandparents, in-laws, and common-law in-laws)
  • Son or daughter (including stepchildren, sons or daughters-in-law, and  common-law in-laws)
  • Brother, sister (including stepsiblings, half-siblings, in-laws, and common-law in-law)
  • Legal guardian and spouse of legal guardian (with proof of judgment)

All of these relationships can also be members of a same-sex partner’s family as well.

ยป MORE: It's stressful to handle a loved one's legal and financial affairs when they're gone. Follow this checklist for guidance.

 

How to Take Advantage of Air Canada’s Bereavement Fares

There are three ways to obtain special travel rates through Air Canada. You may purchase the tickets over the phone, at a ticket counter, or receive a refund after the fact.

Purchasing bereavement tickets over the phone

Contact an Air Canada ticket support specialist at 1-888-247-2262. Inform the specialist that you are traveling for an end-of-life service. The agent will ask the name of the family member and the relationship of the deceased or dying family member to you. The agent will also ask for the name of the hospital, the name, address, and phone number of the attending physician. 

Finally, if your loved one already died, you will be asked the name, address, and phone number of the funeral home. Also, be prepared to give the planned date of the service.

Purchasing bereavement tickets from the Air Canada counter

If you go to the Air Canada counter to buy tickets to visit the death bed of an immediate family member, plan on having a letter from your loved one’s physician or hospital defining the imminent death of your family member. 

If your loved one has already passed, bring a cohpy of the death certificate to the counter. Since it often takes time for the death certificate to be available to family members, we suggest calling Air Canada instead of purchasing airline tickets at the counter.

Requesting a partial refund for bereavement tickets

Perhaps you in a hurry to arrive at your destination, and you don’t want to take the time to obtain bereavement rates. Within 90 days, fill out a Ticket Refund Application form from Air Canada. Once you have filled out the form, you will be asked to include a copy of one of the following documents:

  • Death certificate
  • Statement of Death
  • Letter from the attending physician or hospital 
  • Registration of Death issued by a provincial government

You can submit the form online or mail your request to the following address:

Air Canada, Refund Services
P.O. Box 6475,
Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3C 3V2
Canada

You may be surprised by the detailed information that Air Canada requests to receive bereavement rate, but this is common throughout the industry. 

Other Quick Tips to Save Money During on Bereavement Travel

Losing a loved one is incredibly difficult. Even if the death was the result of a long illness, you might be overwhelmed with feelings of sadness and grief. Even though you would probably pay any price to travel to your loved one’s funeral, it’s essential to take a pause. Your loved one wouldn’t want you to go into debt or suffer financial hardship to pay for travel expenses.

Instead of booking the first available flights, take a deep breath and try to find the best travel rates. If you’re not able to do so, ask a trusted friend to book the travel for you.

Be kind to yourself if you cannot attend the funeral. Not being able to afford the travel expenses doesn’t mean that you weren’t close to the person who died. 

Call several different airlines

Do a quick search to see which airlines still offer bereavement travel rates. Although discounted tickets have become less common over the decade, there are still a few airlines, like Air Canada, that will discount flights if you are attending a funeral. 

Most of the airlines do not offer specific details on how much the tickets will be reduced for bereavement travel. This means you will need to talk with customer representatives to find the best rates. 

Ask friends and extended family to help

When you lose someone close to you, your friends and extended family members often want to do something to help. That’s why it is a standard funeral etiquette for people to provide meals and snacks to the family. 

If your local friends or family ask what they can do to help you during your time of grief, you may consider asking for a ride to the airport. You may also request a close friend to take care of your pet so you can save money by not boarding it while you are gone. 

Your friends want to help you. Let them do these small things for you.

It is a strange thing to lose someone you love. Not only are you heartbroken and grieving, but you also have to be able to function well enough to make travel arrangements and plan for a funeral. 

Make life easier for your family by starting your own end-of-life planning. The more decisions you make now, the easier it will be for your family members when you die.


Sources

  1. “Bereavement Fares.” Air Canada. www.aircanada.com/ca/en/aco/home/plan/special-assistance/bereavement-fares.html.

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