The Cranky Ol' Bat

Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death! - RuPaul


"So Sorry to Hear Gramps Died. Now Pay Full Fare and Shaddup!"

In a "cost cutting" move that is sure to incense travelers once it is better publicized, many airlines are quietly doing away with their last-minute bereavement fares.

Don't even think about asking for them on US Airways, Delta or Air Canada. They don't have them any more. Alaska has slashed the traditional 50% discount to 25%. That's still better than Continental's 5-10% discount, or United's and American's imposition of a $100 charge if you have to change your flight at the last minute due to a family member's treatment schedule or a sudden worsening of their health. The weirdest new twist comes from Northwest, which now requires you to sign up for their frequent flyer plan if you want the discount.

Speaking of frequent flyer miles and airline credits, good luck trying to get the airlines to take them if you have to fly on short notice. Expect expediting fees for last minute travel, no matter what the excuse.

I sure hope the airlines are saving big bucks with this strategy. They say that you can often do better with an online search on one of the discount fare sites. I'm not really buying that, since most everybody uses those sites now to book regular travel. The last minute discount fare was something that wasn't used much. It did, however, give people traveling during a bad time in their lives one less thing to worry about. I used them myself after the death of my father, and it was nice to not have to shop around at an emotionally difficult time.

All the Jet Set Chick can see is a bunch of potential future customers who will decide never to fly certain carriers again because the new rules piss them off during a stressful time in their lives. I doubt the "savings" will compare favorably to the cost of generating that much bad will.


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