Perhaps you flew for years before knowing that there was such a thing as a discounted bereavement flights available through some airlines. Maybe you only discovered this policy when watching an old episode of Seinfeld, where George tries to use a girlfriend’s aunt’s death to get half off the price of a flight to Detroit.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- United Airlines’ Bereavement Fare Policy
- 7 Tips to Save on Bereavement Travel Without a Flight Discount
Regardless if you learned about the policy from an old sitcom, or if you’re learning about discounted bereavement flights from reading this article, here’s what you need to know regarding United Airlines’ policies.
United Airlines’ Bereavement Fare Policy
United Airlines no longer offers a bereavement fare for passengers who lost a family member. This policy changed in March of 2014. Previously, the airline provided a five percent discount to passengers who needed to travel because of a death in the family or for a severe illness of a family member.
The United Airlines’ website says that they offer discounted prices for those booking last-minute flights. Since most bereavement flights are booked with little notice, passengers are encouraged to look for a discounted, last-minute ticket to their destination.
7 Tips to Save on Bereavement Travel Without a Flight Discount
Although you may be disappointed in not being able to purchase a discounted bereavement airline ticket through United Airlines, there are other ways to save on last-minute travel. Here are some ways to save that you may want to consider.
Check the discount ticket websites
Everyone has their favorite discount ticketing website. Some prefer Priceline or Travelocity. Others turn to Google Flights or AirFareWatchdog.
If you aren’t picky about which airline you will be utilizing, you may be able to find cheap, last-minute airline tickets to the destination near your loved one’s funeral.
Bundle all your travel needs
If you’re planning to travel for a loved one’s funeral, you probably don’t have time to shop around for the best price on airline tickets, hotel rooms, and rental cars. In fact, you’re probably so busy looking for proper funeral attire and setting up bereavement leave, that you only have moments to spend to make travel arrangements.
Why not consider booking your travel needs in a bundle? Some websites allow you to book airline tickets, hotel rooms, and rental cars from one page. Not only is this a convenient way to book, but you could also save money in the long run as well. You can also check if hotels offer a special bereavement rate.
Call the airline
If you’re only interested in flying United Airlines to attend your loved one’s funeral, call the airline. Even though they don’t offer specific discounts for flights to attend a funeral, the customer service agent may be able to find flights that will get you close to the destination that may save you money.
Although this flight information is available on the airline’s website, those who are in mourning may not think about checking flights into nearby cities or seeing how much less it would be to travel on a Tuesday instead of a Monday. The customer service representative will think clearly enough to check out all these options.
Check your credit card company for discounts
Although some people are incredibly familiar with the discounts that come from using specific credit cards, others may not think to check on what rewards are available through their credit card company that they may use daily.
Check your credit card company’s website to see if you need to sign up to receive travel discounts. You may need to book travel through a specific site to obtain a lower rate.
Ask about other discounts to which you may be entitled
Are you a veteran? United Airlines has a Veteran’s Advantage discount of five percent off of some flights. The discount only applies to the cost of the flight, not the extra fees and taxes that are added after the fact. Veterans can purchase discounted flights for up to eight passengers.
If you are 18 to 22 years old, you may be entitled to a ten percent discount off your flights through United Airlines if you purchase the ticket through their app. Check for other exclusions by reading the fine print on the company’s website.
Are you 65 or older? United Airlines offers senior fares for selected travel destinations. The destinations are not listed on the website, but those who qualify are encouraged to ask for more details when making flight reservations. Also, make sure you click the correct age box when checking for flight costs on the website.
If you’re in charge of planning your loved one’s funeral, you may consider postponing the date to allow those who need to travel in ample time to find less expensive travel arrangements. This might not be possible if your loved one’s end-of-life planning detailed an open-casket visitation. But if your deceased family member requested to be cremated, you may have more flexibility when planning the funeral.
Not only will putting off the funeral allow distant friends and family members time to find cheaper flights and accommodations, but it would also allow them to drive to the funeral destination as well.
Ask others for airline points
Some people travel so frequently for business that their idea of a perfect vacation means staying at home. If you know someone who has accumulated a ton of airline points but never uses them, you may consider asking to use some to travel to your loved one’s funeral.
You may feel as if asking others to redeem airline points for your travel is not proper funeral etiquette. Still, it depends upon what type of relationship you have with the individual. If they had offered points on a previous occasion, it would be reasonable to assume that the offer would still stand for such a special event.
Getting an Affordable United Airlines Flight
Sometimes the cost of travel keeps you from being unable to attend the funeral of a loved one. While this may be disappointing to you and your other family members, you may not be able to help it.
If you’re concerned about the costs, you could ask family members near the funeral’s location if you can crash on their couch for a few nights. You could also ask for rides to and from the airport from friends and family. Even if you haven’t been particularly close to these individuals, the death of someone close to you often brings out the best of people.
If you're looking to learn more about United Airlines policies during a time of bereavement, read our guide on United Airlines policies for transporting cremated remains.
- “Bereavement Discounts.” United Airlines. hub.united.com/bereavement-discounts-1698361304.html.