This morning, I'm sitting in the airport waiting to fly to Fort Wayne, Indiana for the funeral of my paternal grandfather. Although travel seems to be a big part of my life these days, this trip was unexpected and very sudden - I hope to tell you more later in the week about my Grandpa, the father of seven, and an amazing man.
But today, I want to tell you a few things I've learned yesterday about bereavement travel. Because my grandfather's death came rather suddenly, many of us are traveling from around the country to celebrate his life together. As we know, plane fares bought at the last minute can be cost prohibitive, but the funeral home handling my grandfather's arrangements has a relationship with a special travel company that deals with bereavement travel. They were able to secure a relatively reasonably priced airfare on very short notice. I also received reduced rates from a hotel in the area when I mentioned that I was coming to attend a funeral. The "key" to the process and special assistance was a code offered by the funeral home handling the arrangements.
In doing a bit of research online, I've found inconsistent information about the advantage of flying on a bereavement fare. In my case, with several comparisons, the rate arranged by the travel planning company was by far the best, but this article recommends some other alternatives.
In any case, when you find yourself traveling in this situation, but kind, polite, but up front about the reason for your travel. I've found the customer service in each planning situation to be compassionate and helpful in locating more affordable rates. It may also help to appoint on "point person" to secure a hotel, rental car information and a centralized travel agency.