airplaneBereavement rates with airlines are notoriously bad.  Usually it is because passengers don’t have advance notice and we all know last minute airfare is expensive.
Most airlines only offer a small percentage off the ticket price for a bereavement fare–around 5-10%. So if you have to book pricey last minute tickets 5-10% off isn’t incredibly helpful. There are a few things you can do to help your case.  It will require some leg work on your part but if you are willing to put a little time in you might reap the rewards. 

Search
Start by searching online for ticket prices.  You never know, you might get lucky with a great rate.  If you find something you like, book it immediately. Rates change rather fast and it could be gone before you know it. Search all airlines and travel sites. Sometimes big agencies {expedia, orbitz etc.} buy in advance and buy tickets in bulk.  They can have a better price than the airlines themselves. Don’t leave any stone unturned during this phase. Search every website you can think of. Ask for any discounts you qualify for.  Discounts are hard to come by lately especially domestically but it doesn’t hurt to ask.  Some of the more popular discounts are for military or seniors. Remember that the airlines have no more hidden fees so prices may look higher.  

Be flexible
This is not the time to be picky about your flights. If you must travel and need a great rate, you need to be flexible. Be willing to accept flights with more than one layover. Check with all airlines and look into flying with one that isn’t your first choice.

Be flexible with your dates. You might need to leave as soon as possible but can you return on a different date. You might be surprised what just one day will do to ticket prices. Weekends are generally busy travel days. See if a mid week flight is better for you.  

Look at different destinations. Often times there are close airports that may not be your prefered destination but can still work for you. Check prices on these destinations.  It may be worth it to fly in to a different city and then rent a car and drive to your destination. This requires a lot of flexibility on your part but may pay off.  Look at any airport close to your destination.

Use airline rewards
Frequent flier miles could help you get  a free or discounted ticket. Don’t forget this when searching. Some credit cards also have travel rewards.  Look into all your options.

Who do you know?
Put the word out to friends and family. They may have some travel connections. If you know any travel agents, they can sometimes get discounted flights. Airline employees can sometimes get stand by flights.  Network with your contacts and see if you have any options there. Friends and family might be willing to donate frequent flier miles to you. Look into these options.

Dealing with bereavement can be a stressful situation. If you are willing to put a little work into it, you could find a better air fare. Don’t be afraid to ask the airlines for any tips they might have.  Once you have your flight booked, check out these tips for getting through airport security easily.

Connie can also be found on her blog, twitter, facebook and pinterest.  She loves meeting new people and hopes you will stop by.