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Bereavement fare bravo- United Airlines

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As an extremely loyal AA customer, it's hard for me to write up a complimentary post for United Airlines (I ditched them in 2002 after years of loyalty because of shoddy service). However, I learned today that I needed to book a fare for a wake and funeral on Tuesday/ Wednesday in Chicago (flying out of Los Angeles) and completely exhausted my resources searching online and over the phone for the most economical fare.

The lowest cost ticket was out of Long Beach flying jetBlue at $427 (incl taxes), but the schedule wasn't "perfect" with my job. AA, UA, Continental, NW, etc. lowest ave fare is $700. AA's "bereavement" fare was as expensive as the lowest fare I found online anyway ($668+taxes=$708), Continental's bereavement policy is 5% off tickets up to $1K (yippee coulda saved $35!), jetBlue doesn't offer bereavement fares, NW was $872 for bereavement fare- even more expensive than their web fare by a lot!.

United on the other hand posts on their site that you should call and speak with an agent re. bereavement fares. I did, and spoke with a very helpful, courteous agent (presumably in India) and the fare was $200 less than the cheapest fare on united.com. He was helpful in finding a flight that fit my schedule- offered me several options without me even having to ask- and even offered empathy. When I asked if the fare included any additional fees for booking over the phone he told me that United waves those fees in these situations. So nice!

This transaction makes me consider giving United another chance. We'll see what the experience is like when I fly....

(Required information is name of deceased, relation, funeral home name, funeral home phone number, and director's name.)

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