Report Suggests The End Of Bereavement Airfares
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The thought of airline bereavement fares is so ingrained in pop culture that it once featured in a plot device in an episode of “Seinfeld.” A recent report from ABC News suggests that those days of flying relatively cheaply due to personal tragedy are numbered.
David Koenig writes that while you might assume every last carrier in the market has some sort of bereavement solution for its passengers that just doesn’t seem to be the case.
More and more airlines are cutting the idea of low fares for those travelers who are flying because of a recent death in the family.
Koenig highlights Virgin America as one last bastion of the sentiment that still comes with a sizable discount – 40 percent according to the report.
Although, you will have some difficulty tracking that down, because the airline doesn’t list the option to its customers.
According to the report, a couple of things have happened to stem the tide of bereavement fares: Low-fare airlines and the idea that passengers were manipulating the option to their advantage.
Of course, there’s a classic “Seinfeld” episode in season four that features the idea of a bereavement fare as a plot device that sends George Costanza to a funeral where he asks around about the death certificate to show the airline for his discount.
As Koenig writes, “Airlines believed people were scamming the system, and the special fares complicated the jobs of reservations agents.”
It was just too difficult to correctly, and in a sensitive manner, discover who rightly deserved to fly with discounted fares and who was just trying to catch a cheap flight in a Costanza-esque fashion.
The other dramatic shift in the industry was the advent of low-cost carriers. And, one would presume, the ability for travelers to scour the Internet for the lowest possible price point thanks to OTAs.
Koenig spoke with Brett Snyder who you might know from the crankyflier.com blog. Snyder states: “As low-fare carriers came into more markets, those bereavement fares ended up being higher than you could get elsewhere. It just angered people.”
And so it was just easier to let the notion of a bereavement fare slowly dissipate from the national consciousness.
That is, of course, until you read this report. Thankfully, there is still some use in asking for one if you find yourself in the awful predicament of having to travel because of a death in the family.
The report signals that most airlines have done away with the idea, but those that do, like Delta, offer a fare that is far more flexible considering the circumstances.
You won’t exactly be getting a discounted rate considering other fares, but you will have the peace of mind that you can alter your travel plans without an exorbitant fee.
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