NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– Some turbulence for customers who have to book an emergency flight due to a death in the family. Those last minute passengers will no longer have an option to get a discount on those flights. American Airlines saying goodbye to its “bereavement fares”.
This just went into effect two weeks ago. The American Airlines spokesperson stresses they will still work with you, if you have to cancel a flight. Or if you have to quickly return from a trip for a family emergency.
But, if you have to book a new flight from home to go to a funeral, you’ll pay that last minute price.
No one looks forward to flying to say good bye to the one they love.
“Anything could happen, car accidents strokes, anything,” said Deborah Devincentis, a traveler.
Deborah Devincentis knows. She was in the Caribbean and her father got sick in Canada.
“I got an emergency phone call saying he took a turn for the worse and he was probably not going to make it,” said Devincentis.
She says she got lucky and her father got better but now American Airlines joins US Airways in not offering lower fares.
“I think it’s really unfortunate. I think when people lose someone that they care about it’s hard enough to deal with without having to deal with the additional financial burden,” said Andrea Comer, traveler.
“With the money they make on what they charge for bags, now it’s more than enough to make up what they would lose for bereavement. I think it’s a cruel and miserly thing to do,” said Frank Tortorici, traveler.
An American Airlines spokesperson says it’s become a trend for the airlines and because they merged with US Airways, they adoped their policy and stopped giving bereavement rates. They used to offer cheaper tickets like Delta, United gives 5 percent off.
“They know you need it. So they’re going to charge whatever they want to. I feel like as a society we’ve just lost a human touch in a lot of ways and it’s just one more example of that,” said Andrea Comer, traveler.
The big advice from local travel agents is you have to shop around and you have to call the airlines to price compare. You are more likely to get a cheaper last minute ticket if you call and tell them about your situation.
For more information on bereavement flight discounts, click here.
American Airlines released the following statement:
“We remain committed to doing all we can to relieve the burden of travel for our customers in time of need. In order to have a single, consistent program for American and US Airways, we will adopt the US Airways policy and now offer customers the option to purchase changeable and refundable fares. Customers also have the ability to apply future reservations to a last minute flight booking and are eligible to receive a refund for the change fee.”