Southwest Bereavement Fare Policies Explained (2021 Update)

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Before making a major purchase, most people search the Internet for the best deal. That’s true for a flight, too. Luckily,  most travel plans can be flexible and the wiggle room allows you to book the best deal possible. But when it comes to planning something in the days after a death, that’s less true.

And the cost of a last-minute flight might make you feel panicked. What if you can’t attend the funeral because you can’t afford it?

Jump ahead to these sections:

Almost all airlines used to offer bereavement flights. Now, it’s rare for them to be offered. The increase of flash sales, coupons, and frequent flyer miles meant specialty fares aren’t necessary. All these options mean you can find a lower fare than the bereavement discount an airline might offer.

Southwest’s Current Bereavement Fare Policy

Southwest doesn't currently offer bereavement fare discounts. While some airlines don’t publish their policies governing bereavement fare, Southwest’s website includes a policy informing the reader that they don’t offer such a discount.

Luckily, there are some tricks to help you find the most budget-friendly flights. Southwest offers a few things that help reduce the cost of travel. But not all the items on this list are specific to Southwest. They could help you save some money on a flight, though.   

ยป MORE: Are you helping someone through a loss? Make sure you're on the right track with this post-loss checklist.

 

5 Tips for Saving Money on Bereavement Travel If You Can’t Get a Flight Discount

You can’t get a bereavement fare, and you’ve scoured the Internet for flight deals. You can’t find a cheap fare, but you’ve got to figure out travel plans. You’re expected for the funeral of your loved one. So what else can you do? If your wallet is stretched to the breaking point, here are some tips that might make things easier for you. 

1. Book with Southwest

They don’t offer bereavement fare. Is there a reason you should stick with Southwest? The answer is yes—because they offer other money-saving perks. if you’re trying to save money it’s recommended that you travel with a carry-on bag only. But what if you can’t do that? You might need to stay for a few weeks—and it’s more expensive to buy everything when you get there. 

Southwest helps you solve this problem. They allow you to take two checked bags for free. There are no fees involved. If you’re traveling with several family members, or a lot of luggage, this could be a lifesaver. 

What about needing to change your plans last-minute? Most airlines charge excruciating fees to change your flights. Not Southwest. They don’t charge a fee if your plans change last-minute, and you need to make a switch or a cancellation. 

2. Are your dates flexible?

You might need to fly in before the funeral. But if you’re flying in days or weeks before the service, there might not be a set date you need to arrive. If you don’t need to arrive by a certain day, be flexible. Sometimes, flight prices can vary drastically between days. Mid-week flights are almost always cheaper than Friday or weekend flights.

When you’re trying to estimate flight prices, take a look on Google Flights. When you go to select your dates, click on the calendar drop-down menu. This feature will show you comparisons for different dates of travel.

3. Carpool

Some families are lucky enough to live very near each other in the same city. If that’s the case, all of you might be going to the funeral. Driving might take up a significant amount of time. But if you have the time, why not drive? And if you have family members to travel with you, this might be the most economical option. 

If you don’t own a car, make sure to check that you’ll be covered by insurance. The last thing you want is to be in an accident with no insurance while driving someone else’s car. 

4. Search for hidden city flights

A word of caution! This tip isn’t illegal, but it is somewhat frowned upon by airlines. Large international or domestic terminals have thousands of flights scheduled every day. And there are several large airports that are layover hubs. It’s possible that you could find a cheaper flight to a different destination with a layover in the city you need to go to.

For example, if you are traveling to Chicago from LA, a flight from LA to Boston with a layover in Chicago could be cheaper than a direct flight from LA to Chicago. So instead of going all the way to Boston, you just get off in Chicago and don’t catch your connecting flight. 

This type of flight can be difficult to organize and there are a few important details to keep in mind. You’ll need to book each trip separately. Some airlines will cancel the return flight if you don’t get to the final destination on your travel itinerary. So book your flights as one-way flights. And only travel with carry on baggage. Anything you check will go on to whatever final destination you booked. 

5. Fly overnight

No one wants to be standing in the airport security line at 2 a.m. But if you do, you might be able to save a significant amount of money. The most popular flight times are during the day. But if you’re willing to suffer through sleep loss, it might be worth it.

Depending on how long your flight is, it might be possible to simply book a red-eye flight. If you go to the airline’s site and list your preferred times as “Anytime”, you’ll be able to compare prices and see the different times available. 

Making the Journey

If you can get the time off work, you might be staying for a few days. If your loved one started end-of-life planning, there’s probably a long checklist to sort through. Taking care of their final affairs is difficult—but it’s less stressful if you aren’t worried about your finances. Using these tips could help you find a cheaper way to reach your destination. 

If you're looking for more information on Southwest's policies, read our guides on Southwest Airlines' policy for flying with cremated remains.


Sources 

  1. Southwest. “Bereavement and Emergency Fares.” n.d., www.southwest.com/html/customer-service/bereavement/index.html

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