Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Airlines + Bereavement Rate = Heartless

I don't claim to be a seasoned traveler.  As a matter of fact, I hardly go anywhere.  The last three times I've been on an airplane have been to visit my parents in Oklahoma.   So, maybe someone can  tell me . . . when did it get so *$)@#^ expensive to fly??!   A few months ago when my husband and I flew to Oklahoma, our tix were less than $400, roundtrip (you know, cuz we wanted to go home).    Now that I will have to go back any day, I've been checking out flights and prices.   I wanted to cry!   Seriously.  I wanted to cry.  Nearly double the price it was last time we went!  

"Sorry, mom, I can't come to dad's funeral because we can't afford the *$^#& airfare.  But, we ARE thinking about you."

So my husband called one of the airlines to ask about their bereavement rate.  I thought maybe half price . . . what a joke!   The rate is the same.  Yes, the same.   Except, they are generous enough to let you change flights without charge if you need to.  Oh, thank you so much generous and compassionate airlines!   We appreciate your thoughtfulness in our time of grief.  

But, of course, I WILL get there, even if I have to walk (which, if I'm going to do that, I should start right now - - I might get as far as Pendleton, Oregon before my mom calls to tell me that it's time). 

So, enough of my pity party.  Thank you for letting me vent.  I promise never to do it again . . . well, not soon anyway :)

All will be well.  

57 comments:

  1. Oh, airlines! Have you checked Southwest? That is where we have the most luck finding cheap tickets. I hope you can find something!

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    1. Thanks, Erin. I just checked Southwest and they are even more than the cheapest (ha!) flight I could find (Frontier). Oh well, What can you do?!

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  2. Don`t they have something like a hotel.com for airlines...

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    1. I think you can do hotwire for flights, but you don't know what flight you are going to get - - and my sister and I are going to try to coordinate our flights so we can share a rental car. So, . . . :)

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  3. Oh, Judy! I'm so sorry! That -- I was going to say that it sucks, but it's so much worse than that! I'd love to know when and why it all became about the almighty dollar in this world. Whatever happened to compassion? To lending a hand to each other? Now, instead of lending a hand, it seems to be all about sticking out that hand, gimme-style, in demand of more, more, more!

    ~sigh~

    I really hope you have more luck finding something. You -- and your family -- are on my mind & in my prayers!

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    1. No, you're right, Kelly - it does suck! Thanks for your sweet thoughts :)

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  4. oh i am so sorry for your loss, judy---i so sympathize-i could not imagine the cost--you can vent any time <3

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    1. I love my blogging family :) Thanks, Lynn!

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  5. Judy, I am sorry.
    That sucks. Do you know anyone that works for an airline? My sister used to work for American Airlines and they could get discounts for other people. All airlines are different though. I didn't know they got rid of bereavement. A lot of them used to make you show proof with a death certificate to get it which is pathetic too.

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    1. Now would be a really good time to know someone who works for the airlines :) Thanks, Ruth.

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  6. My husband and I contemplated flying to my parents' house this summer, but the tickets will cost us more than $2,000, round-trip. Sorry, but no. We're going to drive.

    *Hugs*

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    1. I wish we had the time to drive - would be more fun!

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  7. airlines are airlines and business is business
    I was equally naive (sorry Judy) 10 or so years ago when our family had to travel to the US..
    I was going to say : this is what the world has come to..., but no.. .

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    1. Don't be sorry, Anni :) I am. Naive, that is!

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  8. That is just plain ole lousy. There is nothing I can say to make it better. I am truly sorry that on top of this the airline is making it more difficult for you.

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    1. Thanks, Robin. I'm sure it will be okay :)

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  9. I am very sorry to hear about your ill family member. I don't blame you for venting, that sounds like crazy airline gouging. :(

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  10. I do happen to know someone who works for Southwest and I have just sent off a message to him to see if there is anything he might be able to do for you Judy. I will let you know!

    I feel for you at this time, it's a hard thing to have to go through and then to have to worry about money along with it just makes it that much harder. I do hope he can help!

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    1. Just the thought of you sending off an email for me makes me cry. Whether he can help or not, that is the sweetest gesture, and I thank you so much :)

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    2. Judy, he is unable to help at this time. He is working on getting his BA in education and has only been doing a couple of flights a month....therefore he does not qualify for vouchers. He appologizes, and is going to keep you in his thoughts, as will I.

      I am sorry we couldn't help :(

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  11. I'm so sorry you're having a hard time. Alaska Airlines charged me over $1,000 for a roundtrip, but open ended return flight, ticket, however upon sending them a copy of the death certificate, they refunded over half the ticket price to a more reasonable $500 round trip. This was also nearly 10 years ago so perhaps their policies have changed. Not sure if they fly to OK from where you live, but you might try them. Good luck.

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    1. I will have to check them out - thanks for the tip, JoJo :)

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  12. Judy I'm sorry :(

    The problem is, tickets are cheapest 2 or more weeks in advance. But I understand you can't wait that long. Last minute they are about double.

    Bereavement tickets are a joke these days. Last time I checked they just helped you get a ticket, but not a cheap one.

    Standby is pretty much gone.

    A friend who works for an airline might be able to help out as someone already suggested. They get tickets "standby" (the only real standby that still exists) for maybe $60 each leg. Which means that if you don't get a direct flight, you'd have to pay $60 for each transfer from one flight to another, AND the 2nd half of your trip would also be "standby" so there's no guarantee you wouldn't get stuck halfway overnight and have to pay for a hotel for however long it took to get a flight out of that halfway point. - In other words, if you find someone who can get you an employee rate, it's rarely worth the risk unless you can get a direct flight and are prepared to wait around all day for a possible open seat. Oh, and you'd fly first class and there's a dress code and stuff, like no jeans or sneakers etc. (not a dress code for first class per se, but for going as a guest of an airline employee.)

    That's about it for my airline knowledge.

    Can you take a train or rent a car? I know it's far but if it's do-able it might be cheaper.

    **** Ok just did a quick check on Delta (for kicks). NEXT Tu Wed Th Fri has good rates from Seattle WA to Oklahoma City (Don't know if those are your exact airports. I took a guess. Don't know if next week is too far away for you.)

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    1. You're too sweet :) I'll go check out Delta. We weren't going to fly out of Seattle but it's only another hour :)

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    2. FYI, I was checking one way rates. I've found that with many airlines, the round trip is the same as two one way rates. So I check each direction for the cheapest "one way" rate, and then check a roundtrip rate with those two dates and the price is usually the same :P

      So those were the dates with the cheapest rates I found for your first half (around $150-ish). I figure your return trip should be about the same when you specify a date.

      Hope you find something.

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  13. It is not to be forgiven that people have to worry about finances at such a difficult time for drastically increased airfares. I know from being on priceline and expedia before that the closer to the date of travel, the more expensive. i have also been hearing lately that it is better to just call directly who you are trying to travel with. Hope something works out easily. Xoxo

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  14. Sorry to hear you even have to consider this. Airlines = $$$ They really could care less. I had to fly to Chicago on a bereavement deal once,it was a nightmare. Then when my Dad died in Idaho I had to fly him back to Chicago to be buried next to Mom, don't even get me started. He needed a TICKET, costing as much as the rest of us AND we had to be on the same plane with him (in the cargo hold). It was the most ridiculous thing I have ever encountered.

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    1. Wow, that is pathetic! You're right, they could care less. I can't believe you had to buy a ticket for your dad - - that beyond ridiculous. Shame on them.

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  15. My sister-in-law was booking her trip from Jersey to Mo today and she was shocked at the prices too!
    Plus the extra fees for baggage, crowded panes, rude employees and getting groped at security. Sucks.
    How do you prove you are flying for a funeral to get the bereavement rate? Otherwise people would lie and get a better deal.
    You could come here and I could drive you to OK and then we could stop at my sister's and swim and drink margaritas.
    Maybe not but it sounded good.

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    1. Well, I don't think there really is a "bereavement rate" but in order to get the so-called benefits most airlines require you to provide the funeral home's name and contact info. I didn't see any that required an actual death certificate but you never know. Retards.

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    2. Sorry, I didn't mean to say that last part. I'm trying to quit :)

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    3. ROFL!

      You can also get some kind of "Medical" benefit (which is like the bereavement thing). Same thing, but for a serious sudden accident or illness. Requires doctor info I think.

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  16. Sorry for your loss and sorry that the tickets are so expensive. I, too, am a rare traveler and think ticket prices are ridiculous!

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    1. After this trip, I think I'll stay home forever :)

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  17. I'm so sorry! A little over a year ago I was looking for airline tickets to my father-in-law's funeral and there was a bereavement discount but on first class tickets so not much help at all. You'd think they'd have a heart, but maybe they're really in it only for profit no matter what. God speed.

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  18. That is sad; you think they would offer a bereavement rate and maybe an option to pay the ticket in installments or something. But I guess a business is a business.....still.....a little compassion would go a long way I think.

    betty

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    1. It will all work out in the end. And, Betty, it's probably a little too much to ask that a business have compassion :)

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  19. Flying used to be so different. 911 happened and gas prices went through the roof and flying has become a necessary evil. Do you know anyone with frequent flyer miles? I don't know if they can be used on short notice or not. It makes me sick how many people line up to take advantage of a grieving family.

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    1. I did have a friend with frequent flyer miles who was going to give them to me - but they don't fly to oklahoma city. And I don't really want to go to Dallas :)

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  20. I am so very sorry about all of this. It's hard to imagine how much worse air travel can get-- maybe they'll ask us to sit on the wings?
    God bless you and your family in this difficult time, and safe travels.

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    1. Well, all I can say is that we fly out of a smaller airport and they don't usually "grope"! So, all is well :)

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  21. That downright stinks! So sorry to hear about this added worry.

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    1. Thanks, Michelle. On the brighter side, I'll get to see my sisters and brothers whom I haven't seen in a long long time :)

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  22. Aw hun that sucks. I hope you get there in the end :)

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    1. It does suck. But, plans are made and I'll get there!

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  23. Wow, that's so awful...I hope you make it no matter what!

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  24. Judy, so sorry for your loss. And your frustration. I think airline tickets are overpriced ALL the time, and clearly, there are no breaks for crisis/tragedies. It's all business. And I'm with Lynn...gripe anytime. That's one reason we're all here - life is hard at times! God bless you!

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  25. Airline prices are disgusting. I almost wrote a whole post on how horrible Delta Airlines was and everything but they were lucky that in the last flight we got a wonderful flight attendant. And that I was dead tired. Not that they would care. But still. Ticket prices and airlines make me mad.

    Anyways about you, I too am very sorry for your loss. Praying for you and that your trip goes safe and well. *hugs*

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  26. Sending you a prayer that you made it safe and sound. So very sorry for your loss and all the struggle to be there with your family. xo

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  27. Sorry for your loss, Judy, and that you had to deal with the frustration and financial burden of air travel as well. When my father-in-law passed away in September 2009, we drove to get all three of our boys at college and then drove the additional twelve hours to South Carolina because we couldn't afford plane tickets. It was nineteen straight hours of driving including the "loop" I made to pick up all three boys. And nineteen on the way back--broken up by the three hours we spent in a WalMart in West Virginia getting emergency car repairs. It made a difficult situation that much more so.

    I do think it's absurd that airlines cannot be more helpful and generous with bereavement fares. The airline that does it would be doing a tremendous community service and the good publicity would probably generate enough extra ticket sales to offset any financial "loss."

    Hope you are home safe soon.

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  28. sorry for your loss...and all the hassles and frustrations. good luck!

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  29. Very sorry for your loss. I always thought there was actually a real discount too. Airlines suck.

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