On the Road with Bill McGee has a very informative piece about bereavement fares in the airline industry. Just how compassionate are most carriers? Delta, Northwest, Southwest, and US Airways do not offer bereavement/compassion airfare reductions. In fact, McGee points out that today, given the deeply discounted fares you can find online,
A much better question is: Are bereavement fares any lower than what I can find myself on any basic online search?
He goes on to point out that price isn’t the only consideration. In such a crisis, your plans may change quickly.
…the flexibility to change and even cancel travel plans without penalty is extremely rare with any type of discounted fare. So this should be weighed as well, particularly in fluid situations such as drawn-out illnesses. The ability to quickly amend your itinerary without having to pay extra fees may make a bereavement fare worth it—in some specific cases.