Traveling to attend a funeral for a family member is not something for which you can plan ahead. The immediate need to purchase an airline ticket precludes the possibility of obtaining the lowest fares from many airlines; however, it's possible to obtain discounted fares from some of the larger airlines when you are faced with these circumstances. Being aware of the requirements can simplify your travel plans should you need to make one of these unscheduled trips for a family member’s funeral.

Immediate Family

Some airlines offer discounted fares for air travel to attend a funeral for immediate family members. Immediate family is typically designated as a spouse, domestic partner, children and siblings; grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews are also included. Airlines recognize these relatives whether they are natural, adopted, in-laws or step family members.


Airlines require passengers to provide documentation to receive the discounted fares. Passengers must provide the name of the deceased and the relationship to the deceased, along with the name, address and telephone number of the funeral home, hospital or hospice.


To purchase a discounted fare for bereavement, airlines offering these discounts require passengers to contact the ticketing office by telephone or purchase the ticket at the ticketing counter at the airport. Proper documentation must be presented at the time of the ticket purchase; it is not possible to obtain these discounts online.


Delta Airlines ( gives discounted fares for travel within three days of a death or imminent death for their SkyMiles passengers, and changes on return fares are permitted without penalty. Flights may be changed if needed without penalty. Other airlines, including Air Tran (, Southwest ( and Frontier Airlines ( do not offer bereavement fares. As low-fare carriers, these airlines offer their lowest possible fares at all times and do not give additional discounts.


In the event that you do not have the proper documentation or you are unaware of the bereavement discounts when you purchase your ticket, airlines allow refunds of the difference between the fare paid and the discounted fare, under certain conditions. To apply for such refunds, the passenger must provide a copy of the death certificate or a letter from the attending physician on letterhead. You must include the deceased’s name and your relationship, and the ticket number for the flight is required. Send requests directly to the airline.