Friday, February 23, 2007

Something's Missing at Continental... And It's Not Just My PIN

So, ever since I moved, I have been gradually getting my address info changed with all the various places I deal with: DMV, online shopping, my gym, credit cards, dentist, etc. Today, I thought I was actually finally going to be finished, by doing a few last frequent flyer programs. American, done. Delta, done. United, done. All that was left was Continental. But when I tried to log in, my user name and password weren't being recognized. So I tried to recover my PIN info with my primary personal email and my current work email, but both came back saying they had no record of any associated account. So that means I must have registered with a previous work email. So let's hope when they mail me my PIN, it gets forwarded to my new address, or I'm stuck!
Meanwhile, as I poked around Continental's FAQs, one of the questions that caught my eye was about bereavement fares. I once had to help a friend try to get home when her father was dying-- she really couldn't afford the very long, very expensive trip, so I used some of my frequent flyer miles to buy one leg of her journey, and the travel agent we spoke to managed to get her a "compassion" fare on the rest-- it wasn't a big discount but it helped a little. Money is the last thing you want to be worrying about at a time like that. You just do what you have to do.
But here's what Continental offers as a discount if you're traveling "in the event of a death or serious illness (requiring hospitalization or hospice care) of an immediate family member."

Fare RangeDiscount
Up to $499.99 One Way5%
Up to $999.99 Round Trip5%
$500.00 One Way and above10%
$1,000.00 Round Trip and above10%

And here are the relationships that are eligible:

Immediate Family

The deceased or hospitalized family member must be one of the following:

* adopted ward
* aunt
* brother
* brother-in-law
* daughter
* daughter-in-law
* father
* father-in-law
* foster brother
* foster daughter
* foster father
* foster mother
* foster sister
* foster son
* granddaughter
* grandfather
* grandmother
* grandson
* half-brother
* half-sister
* husband
* legal guardian
* mother
* mother-in-law
* nephew
* niece
* sister
* sister-in-law
* son
* son-in-law
* step-brother
* step-daughter
* step-father
* step-mother
* step-sister
* step-son
* uncle
* wife

Notice anything missing there? How about "Registered Domestic Partner or Equivalent?"
Are you just S.O.L. if you happen not to be married to your significant other who might be dying? I thought for the most part the travel industry was pretty progressive on these issues and tended to be early adopters when it came to offering equivalent benefits to unmarried couples, such as not having to pay extra for a 2nd driver on a rental car, etc. It doesn't cost them much money, it's good PR and it's just the right thing to do.
I think this is an important issue-- a while back, I linked to a related post written by TiredButHappy as a guest post at Queercents. Whether you're gay or straight, there are a lot of financial issues to be dealt with when a couple can't, or chooses not to get married. And let's face it, a 10% discount from Continental is probably the least important of those issues: don't forget it's still possible that you might take that full-price flight and then be told the hospital won't allow non-relatives at your partner's bedside.


Anonymous said...

maybe cause most married couples live together, usually your spouse is not a distant one, so that's my opinion.

optioned unarmed said...

anon 5:57

That's a ridiculous explanation of why they exclude domestic partners from their list. If your theory were correct, they wouldn't have husband and wife on that list either.

Anonymous said...

I'd like a discount plane ticket because, uh, "my significant other" just died and, like, you know, it would be good PR and, like, come on, it's the right thing to do. Duh.

~Dawn said...

A domestic partner has a few requirements, at least in some states, that you have a joint bank account and that you are both on the lease/mortgage of the house.

You don't just do that with anyone off the street.

Madame X- Please email me. I'll leave it mysterious.