What To Do In The Event of Emergency Travel

by erin on June 11, 2010

You cannot plan ahead for some travel. Illness or a death in the family often come unexpectedly, and it’s a challenge to get travel arrangements together on short notice, particularly if getting to a loved one’s bedside requires crossing long distances. Nonetheless, you can do some things to make those travel arrangements easier when the need does arise. From obtaining an emergency passport to buying your ticket on a flight, you can make a plan that will bring you promptly to your loved one.

If your family lives too far away for you to drive to them, you might qualify for a special airfare price known as a “bereavement” or “compassionate” fare. This special purchase price for airline tickets is offered solely to persons traveling to a family funeral or to say goodbye to a dying loved one. These prices will be very close to the best bargain prices available, and will definitely cost you less than if you decided to fly someplace for business or pleasure at the eleventh hour. These discounts can be anywhere from 10% to 75%. Typically you will find that bereavement or compassionate fares will cost half the price of a regular airplane ticket.

It is not completely easy, though. You will be able to buy your discounted ticket right away, as long as you have the proper paperwork, when traveling with some airlines. For other airlines, you may have to pay full price initially and then submit the appropriate documents within three months upon your return. If you had to travel out of the country, it will be a little more challenging to qualify for the reduced bereavement rate. Ensuring that you traveled for a valid cause can be harder to prove, so in those cases you can only obtain a refund on your purchase price once you have returned from your trip and have the death certificate in hand. In addition, if you have had to travel out of the country by flying with more than one airline, you must request a bereavement fare from each one separately.

Since international travel requires a passport, you will need to have one in order to fly out of the country to meet your loved one. If your passport is damaged, missing or no longer valid, you may request a one-day passport renewal in order to make the trip.

Many airlines provide a discounted “bereavement fare” for travelers attending the funeral of a loved one. While airline policies differ, the best way to find out if such a discounted fare is offered is to either call the airline or apply for it in person. Airlines will generally request such details as the name of the deceased, your relationship to that person, contact information for the funeral home and/or the name and number of the attending physician at the time of death. Some airlines offer discounts only one-way, on the return flight from the funeral; if this is the case, you may be asked for a copy of the death certificate as well. While these requirements may seem a bit intrusive, especially in such a difficult time, they are asked only as confirmation that you qualify for the bereavement fare. All airlines have policies to keep such information confidential.

During a family crisis, you need to be with your loved ones as quickly as possible. If your family lives far away, getting to them speedily will be your primary goal. Just trying to get there, particularly if you are traveling out of the country, can add to your worries. There are some offerings available, however, to ease your way a bit. You can obtain emergency United States passports, or get a one day United States passport renewal in one day during crisis situations. Airlines offer bereavement fares as well as last minute tickets for passengers who are traveling to be with a dying family member. These available services can reduce your stress, at least a little, during particularly difficult times.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: