Travelling with ill parent at home
Replies: 11 - Last Post: Mar 9, 2013 2:50 AM Last Post By: sltt
Mar 3, 2013 9:18 AM
Travelling with ill parent at homeHi there!
I am planning a backpacking trip for this fall with a friend. the downside to this endeavor is that my father has a few chronic illnesses that occasionally flare up and put him in the hospital. The ambiguity of his illnesses can allow him to live on the upside of 20+ years or until tomorrow.That being said, I still want to plan my trip, however; in the instance he is hospitalized approaching our departure,I want to book with an airline that will let me cancel (if the worst comes) or change our tickets at a moment's notice.So here are my questions:
1)which airlines would be forgiving (cheaply) for the illness of a parent?
2)could I extend that to my friend's ticket too? Because if I need to change for my father,she wouldn't want to depart alone.
Mar 3, 2013 9:42 AM
1Some tickets are sold as refundable...or nonrefundable... Ask about this before you buy it...
You pay extra for a "refundable" ticket...but perhaps not that much to satisfy your special requirements...
Additionally most tickets are "changeable" for a fee...even if they are non refundable...ie you can't get your money back...
Most airlines recognize that emergencies can happen...and they will allow you to change your ticket for the price of the changed seat, if available, and a service fee... I have heard that the fee can be $20 or $100...you might inquire about the re-write fee when you buy your ticket...
Alternatively...if you can afford it...you can just buy another ticket if needed...and eat the loss...at least then you get to take your trip...and still have a fall back position..
Travel and Home always have trade offs...
Mar 3, 2013 10:00 AM
2American Airlines prides itself (via press release etc.) on having a generous "bereavement policy." I don't know if they are actually any better than te other airlines, but it is something they brag about.
I do not know their or any other airlines particular policy but according to wiki "compassion fares" are typically 50% off.
My understanding (educated guess) is air tickets purchased through third-party discounters have stricter refund and cancellation policies than those purchased directly.
I wish I could give you more-solid information.
Mar 3, 2013 10:28 AM
Mar 3, 2013 10:33 AM
I’m temporarily ill myself (that’s part of why I post here so much.)
LOL I got over a knee thing and caught a digestive tract thing. Oh well.
You should not feel bad at all about your trip and understand that ill people do not want to be a burden on their loved ones. In general we sickies don’t mind if our relatives travel. We hate it if our illness prevents their trip.
Make sure he is well-cared for in your absence. If he needs someone to check on him while you’re gone, have the “check-ins” start at least 2 weeks before you go so they get to be an accustomed habit..
Mar 3, 2013 12:45 PM
5There are generally two costs associated with changing your airline ticket:
1) the "change fee" charged by most airlines. This is generally in the $50 to $100 range
2) any difference in price between the original ticket and the re-issued one.
The only airline I am aware of that never charges a "change fee" is Southwest Airlines, although there may be others (JetBlue? Virgin?). So for travel within the U.S., you could try tickets on SWA. Note that you would still have to pay any difference in the price of the ticket itself. Also note that you will not find SWA on any of the consolidator websites (KAYAK, Travelocity, Expedia, etc.). You must purchase directly from their site.
I believe the AA bereavement fares are 50% of the full-price ticket; not necessarily a great deal. Unlikely that your travel companion would be permitted to use this. We've been in this situation and found that using the "standby" option for an earlier flight was our cheapest option. Airline policies on standby vary though, so read up with your particular carrier.
Mar 3, 2013 12:57 PM
6Insurance is the way to go. What you want is called "Trip Cancelation and trip interruption." You want one that covers you for a pre-existing condition of a family member. Rick Steves describes it here--scroll down. Travel Insurance He says (emphaiss added) "But if you're paying out a lot of up-front money for an organized tour (which is expensive to cancel), if you have questionable health, or if you have a loved one at home in poor health, it's probably a good idea to get this coverage."
You will need to investigate a number of policies and read the fine print to be sure it would cover you.
It would be a good idea to look into travel health insurance in any case.
It's hard to recommend a specific place ot compare policies or get information, because it depends on your country of residence.
The plural of anecdote is not data.
Edited by: nutraxfornerves
Mar 3, 2013 1:15 PM
7Are you talking about Domestic or International flights?
"bereavement policy of most airlines is you need a Death Notice/Funeral Home to fax the Airline to proof you are related. Then they will give you the lowest fare as if it was a 21 day advance, depending on many factors, but it usually a lot less than a full fare, Some airlines you pay the full fare, then provide the info and they will credit you the difference, but they are all different.
Southwest Full Fare is fully refundable and no change fees, change it all you want. but for international, that is another can of worms I dont know about.
Find a travel Insurance that may cover this type is issue. But usually you pay for the fare and then file the claim...
Mar 3, 2013 3:32 PM
8There are no specific airlines that really have better policies for this than others for flying internationally. If you can find travel insurance that covers this type of this, then do that. It shouldn't cost more than $50 or so. The other option is basically to cancel the ticket and pay the cancellation fee. Most airlines will allow this for about $150.
Mar 4, 2013 1:24 PM
9Inexpensive non-refundable fares would not allow this. All airlines offer more expensive fares with more flexibility, but fares are usually much higher. You should probably just take the calculated risk in order to get the lowest fare.
I believe Southwest airlines has a very generous change policy. See if that is a possibility (you don't mention where you are flying from or to).
Mar 4, 2013 6:13 PM
10One thing you might want to check into is InsureMyTrip.com It's a clearinghouse for numerous Travel
Insurance companies which have varying policies. I have bought travel insurance before with CSA of San Diego
and the policies did have coverage for a death in the family. This policy would only apply to you as you are the
only related to your father. Coverage only applies in the event of a death- there's no coverage with CSA that
will reimburse you for a last-minute flight home to visit a relative in declining health at the hospital- a scenario
that is much more likely.
Mar 9, 2013 2:50 AM
11ask a ton of questions - trying to get a refund or coverage through "insurance" can be really tough. in a lot of cases you have to be almost dead!!! your friends ticket could be a problem. i know of one case whereby a child got an illness prior to a trip. the "insurance" said they'd refund her ticket but the parents and siblings were not - as if they just leave their sick kid. so, i just warn you, ask a lot of questions and get everything in writing. some airlines require that if you pay their "change" fee, you have to fly within 12 months.
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