Cheap Air Fare to See a Sick Relative



Not free, but at least you don't have to pay full price!

When a family member is very ill or has died, families have to make last minute airline reservations. Obviously you lose out on the 21-day advance purchase rates, but almost all airlines offer bereavement or compassion fares for domestic travel.


Generally the fares are available to close family members, and the discount on the full-fare rate varies from airline to airline. Many require that you provide the name of the deceased and the name, address and phone number of the funeral home handling arrangements. In the case of a medical emergency, the name and address of the affected family member and the name, address and phone number of the attending physician or hospital are required.


Contact the airline of your choice to learn more about the "Bereavement/Compassion Fares." Full-fare rates vary from airline to airline, but you could save up to 50%.


Money Saving Tips Before Making Your Reservations




How The System Works What You Need To Know


To change fares, participating airlines worldwide must send their adjustments via telecommunication or fax to the Airline Tariff Publishing Company (ATPCO) system. Next, ATPCO informs itís paying subscribers, who in turn inform the rest of the world. Airlines can change airfares up to three times each weekday, at 10 A.M., 12:30 P.M. and 8 P.M., Eastern Standard Time. On Saturdays and Sundays, they may only

enter fare changes at 5 P.M. Since most airlines open flight bookings about 325 days before departure, it is theoretically possible that the selling price for each seat could change more than 800 times before takeoff!

Dozens of Fares on Each Flight

Neither ATPCO nor the federal government places a limit on the number of fares that can be offered on a single flight. Therefore, it is entirely possible that passengers seated within the same cabin will have paid dozens of different prices. Unrestricted tickets, the costliest seats, are typically sold to business travelers who want the privilege of being able to alter their flight schedule. Such tickets do not require a Saturday night stay-over. Cheaper tickets are sold to those who buy in advance and to those who have a Saturday night stay-over. This rule came into play to separate budget-minded tourists from Deep-pocketed business travelers.


Bargain Seats are Limited


Airlines do everything they can to attract the attention of potential buyers. They'll announce a reduced fare, for instance, from city A to city B, selling tickets at $100 instead of the usual $175. What they're not saying is how many of those $100 bargain seats are actually available. They might mark down 30, 20 or even just 10 seats in an attempt to lure buyers ó and they're not obliged to disclose how many exist.

According to federal law, however, once a price is advertised, at least 10% of the tickets in that segment of the market must be sold at that price. Airline insiders refer to these price categories as "buckets." And on a Boeing 737, which carries about 100 coach passengers, it's common for an airline to offer seven "bucket seats" on sale at one time.

Check Fares After Noon on Friday


Some airline industry insiders say fare changes are most often announced on Friday afternoons so that the airline can see how it works through the weekend, when sales volume is lower and the price change is less risky for the airline. Then on Monday, they can decide whether to hold that price or retreat to the higher fare.


More Important Tips


Many airlines, cruises, and travel agencies have been going out of business recently and many are having a hard time staying afloat.


Always use your major credit card to charge all your travel needs in the event a company can not deliver what was promised to you. If there is a problem or dispute, you will have less difficulty resolving them. Always look for your fares as far in advance as possible.


Be as flexible as possible, if you are traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago several hundred dollars can separate the same trip by using alternative airports. From LA to Chicago, try Ontario, San Diego, Orange County to Midway, Milwaukee or South Bend Indiana.


Remember discounts only apply between certain hours, and certain days of the week, or during specific seasons of the year.


Always check the airline Web sites; many list their lowest fares online.


Remember information about discounts is seldom volunteered, so always ask.


Always carry your photo identification with you.



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