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Compassionate flights to the UK

Compassionate flights to the UK

Old Nov 7th 2006, 3:56 pm
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Default Re: Compassionate flights to the UK

That is truly the hardest part of being so far away from family. Sad for you Englishmum. In my case, I found Delta had offered the best rate. Had to do it twice as my Mum went first and my Dad a year later. That rate by BA is amazing. Mine was a couple of hundred more. It was worth it though as I had to change my departure date a few times.
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Old Nov 7th 2006, 4:19 pm
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Post Re: Compassionate flights to the UK

Originally Posted by Tegwyn
That is truly the hardest part of being so far away from family. Sad for you Englishmum. In my case, I found Delta had offered the best rate. Had to do it twice as my Mum went first and my Dad a year later. That rate by BA is amazing. Mine was a couple of hundred more. It was worth it though as I had to change my departure date a few times.
I guess the rate is pretty good because it's not peak season on the departing flight. It's incredible how fares go up though and are at their highest on the same day that one needs to travel - they make huge profits on business class fares in this way when someone needs to travel unexpectedly urgently on business.

However, the flight was full as it had been the New York marathon earlier that day and a lot of people were flying to the UK and beyond, so the economy fare of around $1750 was outrageous...oddly enough my husband ran in the NY marathon exactly one year before and was well aware that runners and their family/supporters would need to fly home too.

The latest news: the doctor was doing the rounds today and apparently MiL is getting worse. Husband asked for the prognosis but was told that she won't be getting better and there is no timescale (until she passes away).

He's not happy with his sister who is going into complete denial. She refuses to talk about their mother's impending death (although she wants someone to be at their mother's bedside so she won't die alone) and won't discuss what the funeral arrangements are likely to be (a cremation will be done at their mother's request). He's finding it very frustrating.

My husband's twin brother (lives in Yateley, Hampshire) will go to the hospital tomorrow and their aunt (MIL's sister) is coming up on the train from Plymouth. One brother (lives in Aberystwyth but basically lives and works in Newcastle upon Tyne on weekdays as he's an oil & gas industry consultant) is on a business trip in Venezuela until the weekend and he doesn't know what the other brother is doing. He lives in Lowestoft, Suffolk - he visited last Sunday. My husband says that when they're together tomorrow (the twins, the sister and their aunt) then decisions will have to be made...he can't hang on and on in England - he can't do any work without being able to use his phone and laptop at the hospital, he needs to find an hotel with a good internet connection.

He says that he just ran out of things to say to his mum yesterday whilst she was comatose (although a friend has just told me that the hearing is the last 'thing to go'). I don't know how the doctors let 'someone go' and have a peaceful passing....I don't know if they just withdraw medication and she's not on morphine....but she isn't going to to have a proper life even if she does come out of her coma.

I wish I could give my husband a big hug....
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Old Nov 8th 2006, 1:41 am
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Default Re: Compassionate flights to the UK

Hi,
Really feel for you both.
Very hard to go through.
I made that trip in 2004 ,but no great flight deal. But who cares, i just wanted to get home.Got there on the Saturday morning and Dad died Sunday night, 20 mins after midnight.

Glad that your Hubby made it home. Waiting to see how things go is heartbreaking.

Thoughts are with you.
Take care.
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Old Nov 9th 2006, 1:46 am
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Default Re: Compassionate flights to the UK

Originally Posted by Englishmum
I guess the rate is pretty good because it's not peak season on the departing flight. It's incredible how fares go up though and are at their highest on the same day that one needs to travel - they make huge profits on business class fares in this way when someone needs to travel unexpectedly urgently on business.

However, the flight was full as it had been the New York marathon earlier that day and a lot of people were flying to the UK and beyond, so the economy fare of around $1750 was outrageous...oddly enough my husband ran in the NY marathon exactly one year before and was well aware that runners and their family/supporters would need to fly home too.

The latest news: the doctor was doing the rounds today and apparently MiL is getting worse. Husband asked for the prognosis but was told that she won't be getting better and there is no timescale (until she passes away).

He's not happy with his sister who is going into complete denial. She refuses to talk about their mother's impending death (although she wants someone to be at their mother's bedside so she won't die alone) and won't discuss what the funeral arrangements are likely to be (a cremation will be done at their mother's request). He's finding it very frustrating.

My husband's twin brother (lives in Yateley, Hampshire) will go to the hospital tomorrow and their aunt (MIL's sister) is coming up on the train from Plymouth. One brother (lives in Aberystwyth but basically lives and works in Newcastle upon Tyne on weekdays as he's an oil & gas industry consultant) is on a business trip in Venezuela until the weekend and he doesn't know what the other brother is doing. He lives in Lowestoft, Suffolk - he visited last Sunday. My husband says that when they're together tomorrow (the twins, the sister and their aunt) then decisions will have to be made...he can't hang on and on in England - he can't do any work without being able to use his phone and laptop at the hospital, he needs to find an hotel with a good internet connection.

He says that he just ran out of things to say to his mum yesterday whilst she was comatose (although a friend has just told me that the hearing is the last 'thing to go'). I don't know how the doctors let 'someone go' and have a peaceful passing....I don't know if they just withdraw medication and she's not on morphine....but she isn't going to to have a proper life even if she does come out of her coma.

I wish I could give my husband a big hug....
Just wanted to extend my sympathy to you and your family. There really is nothing more challenging than being so far away during times like this--been through it myself a few times.

If your MIL is still in the hospital then they should walk your husband through the 'what happens' steps, so that he is prepared. A hospice or hospice personnel our especially helpful during times like this--not sure if there is anyone like that available at this hospital. When we've had this situation in our family the hospic nurse basically described how the body prepares for death, and so we knew exactly what to expect/look for. Sometimes the doctors will remove the machines and keep some medicine flowing to keep the patient comfortable and calm. A lot depends on her situation--I also believe that hearing is one of the last things to go, and that his mum knows he is there.

Regardless, I'm sorry for your situation and wish you and your husband the best during this time.
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Old Nov 9th 2006, 4:09 am
  #20  
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Unhappy Re: Compassionate flights to the UK

Originally Posted by jen_andreson
Just wanted to extend my sympathy to you and your family. There really is nothing more challenging than being so far away during times like this--been through it myself a few times.

If your MIL is still in the hospital then they should walk your husband through the 'what happens' steps, so that he is prepared. A hospice or hospice personnel our especially helpful during times like this--not sure if there is anyone like that available at this hospital. When we've had this situation in our family the hospic nurse basically described how the body prepares for death, and so we knew exactly what to expect/look for. Sometimes the doctors will remove the machines and keep some medicine flowing to keep the patient comfortable and calm. A lot depends on her situation--I also believe that hearing is one of the last things to go, and that his mum knows he is there.

Regardless, I'm sorry for your situation and wish you and your husband the best during this time.
Thank you so much for your kind words (Unicorn Dreams too).

Yesterday she was taken off her meds and just left with a saline drip and oxygen. My husband noticed that she must have been feeling some pain as the pain medication was wearing off as he heard some groaning sounds.....a nurse soon arrived to administer painkillers.

He returned to the hospital this morning (Wed) and there was no change in her condition.....husband getting v. worried that she could go on for days like this.

By late afternoon UK time the docs had removed the oxygen and saline drip. My husband collected his aunt (mother's sister) and took her to the hospital, where I understand she is spending the night in a reclining chair in MiL's room. Personally I couldn't do it, it would freak me out.

It's now just a matter of hours I think before MiL dies....it's a bloody horrible way to die and I'm convinced she's been hanging on until her beloved sister could get there to say her final goodbye, and then she will pass away.

I think I'll be flying out to London on Friday or sometime over the weekend. I haven 't booked a flight yet but will be requesting a bereavement fare as my return date may need to be changed once I get there.
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Old Nov 9th 2006, 4:29 am
  #21  
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Default Re: Compassionate flights to the UK

I am so sorry to hear about your MIL. It must be awful for your husband to see his mum like that...it's a scenario I dread.
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Old Nov 9th 2006, 4:36 am
  #22  
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Default Re: Compassionate flights to the UK

Originally Posted by Englishmum
He's not happy with his sister who is going into complete denial. She refuses to talk about their mother's impending death (although she wants someone to be at their mother's bedside so she won't die alone) and won't discuss what the funeral arrangements are likely to be (a cremation will be done at their mother's request). He's finding it very frustrating.

He says that he just ran out of things to say to his mum yesterday whilst she was comatose (although a friend has just told me that the hearing is the last 'thing to go'). I don't know how the doctors let 'someone go' and have a peaceful passing....I don't know if they just withdraw medication and she's not on morphine....but she isn't going to to have a proper life even if she does come out of her coma.
I too dealt with a sister (lived 5 miles away from my folks in Wales) that simply went into complete denial which made a traumatic event quite a bit more difficult. Hopefully your hubby's family can help his sister understand that preparing for her Mum's final wishes it such an important parting gift and will offer great comfort long after the heartbreaking event. It is so hard letting go though which I understand. Both my parents had the service and burial they had requested and that knowledge certainly helped me through the grieving process. I take enormous comfort in that and I wish this for you all as well.

I'm convinced they hear and comprehend even if they cannot communicate. My Mum was in a coma triggered by pain meds administered after she fell and broke her hip. She had alzheimers, and was a very frail, extremely ill dear lady. I was at her bedside and gave my Mum my blessing to leave us if she wanted to go. Three breathes later she had passed on. For me a life altering event.

My best wishes to you all.
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Old Nov 9th 2006, 1:29 pm
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Default Re: Compassionate flights to the UK

Having family so far away is never easy

I got "that call" from my Dad on the morning of Dec 23rd last year. Mum had unexpectedly passed overnight.

Contacted Delta's ticket office (Delta being the ONLY airline with a monopolistic route from Cincinnati to London) who wanted over $3200 to fly my wife and & I back on Christmas Eve.

I put those seats on hold, then contacted a travel agent pal of mine who found a pair of consolidator fares for just $500 each, so we jumped at them.

When we got to the airport and asked about seating, explaining the reason for our last-minute trip, the gate agent 'broke some rules' and upgraded us into business... which, believe me, made the agonising journey a LOT more comfortable.

I've heard that many airlines are dropping the necessary bereavement fares though. Profits before people and all that.
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Old Nov 9th 2006, 1:50 pm
  #24  
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Default Re: Compassionate flights to the UK

I feel for you and our sympathies are with you too.

My MiL was ill for over 5 years, from her 1st stroke (which happened when she was here in the USA so I have the health travel insurance stories for another time).

Anyway, about 3 more times in those 5 years before she passed away, we had that she has just days to live call.. Each time, BA were right on the money. Every time, giving us hugely discounted flexible fares. All they want is a letter from the DR / Hospital later to confirm this is what occurred. They also allow you and your spouse and kids (I think it covers siblings, parents and grand-parents).

I can honest say, this is where BA excelled EVERY single time.

My MiL finally passed away 2 years ago and for the prior 2 years it was horrible to watch her die so very very slowly. Sad to say, but it was a blessing for all when she finally passed and she can be remembered for how she lived now and not how she died.

God bless all.
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Old Nov 9th 2006, 3:17 pm
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Post Re: Compassionate flights to the UK

I've just spoken with my husband.....he can't believe that his mum is still alive, she's really hanging on. She's heavily sedated on morphine so at least she's in a peaceful sleep. My husband is trying to keep busy, running his aunt around.

I will probably take a flight to London in the morning, arriving at about 8.30pm.

I asked my husband about what happens after the cremation when one normally gets together for tea, sandwiches and cakes (there won't be a wake...they're not a religious family at all and all blooming teetotal.. ) .....his sister has builders in and no-one else lives anywhere near Essex...my husband jokingly suggested the day room at the nursing home where his mother lived until about a year ago (and where his aunt is being allowed to sleep in their visitor's flat). His sister has now gone and booked it...
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Old Nov 9th 2006, 4:24 pm
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Default Re: Compassionate flights to the UK

I'm pleased to hear that Englishmum. Safe travels.
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Old Nov 9th 2006, 4:26 pm
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Now you get to give your hubby a big hug..
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Old Nov 9th 2006, 5:42 pm
  #28  
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Default Re: Compassionate flights to the UK

Thinking of you, have a safe trip xxx
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Old Nov 9th 2006, 11:32 pm
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Post Re: Compassionate flights to the UK

Awwww....thanks for your kind regards.

My husband is astonished that his mother is still hanging on in there (well she is at the time of writing) as they took her off all fluids and meds yesterday lunchtime UK time, she is on morphine only.

My friend whose mum died in hospital in England last year said that as she's been in hospital for a week, there may have to be a post-mortem. This is so that they can check that the doctors have done all that they could have and should have when treating her. This may well delay the date of cremation if this is the case.

Well....I looked at BA.com to get a flight tomorrow and booked a tentative date of return for Thursday 16 Nov. The prices came up at $808 + taxes for each segment of the flight.....ie. a grand total of $1775 :scared:

They were very nice when I phoned BA to get a bereavement fare; if the person has already died or hospitalised and you want your return date confirmed at the time of flying out, then they like to get a death cert or letter from a doctor if possible.

However, as I don't know my return date, I'm allowed two changes without penalty - but at this point when you make a firm booking for the return flight they would want proof that you really did go for compassionate reasons, otherwise you have to pay the price the fare would have been in full ie. the $1775.

They gave me the fare of $651.77 which is $406.00 for the flight and $245.77 airport taxes....more than $1100 discount on the full economy fare....incredible!!!

So I'm off to Blighty first thing in the morning....poor husband is stressed out but it will be good to see him, and our son (just 18) who is staying here has promised to behave himself...
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Old Nov 9th 2006, 11:39 pm
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Default Re: Compassionate flights to the UK

Originally Posted by Englishmum
I've just spoken with my husband.....he can't believe that his mum is still alive, she's really hanging on. She's heavily sedated on morphine so at least she's in a peaceful sleep. My husband is trying to keep busy, running his aunt around.

I will probably take a flight to London in the morning, arriving at about 8.30pm.

I asked my husband about what happens after the cremation when one normally gets together for tea, sandwiches and cakes (there won't be a wake...they're not a religious family at all and all blooming teetotal.. ) .....his sister has builders in and no-one else lives anywhere near Essex...my husband jokingly suggested the day room at the nursing home where his mother lived until about a year ago (and where his aunt is being allowed to sleep in their visitor's flat). His sister has now gone and booked it...

Hi,
Thinking of you.
At least you will be there for your Husband,help each other through it.
I believe they hear everything right up to the end.
We made sure the last words we said to Dad as he went and after , was how much we loved him.
It is some experience to be there the very moment that person dies.And even then it still dont feel real. But we cope somehow. It will be 2yrs this Dec 20th . Miss not hearing his voice a couple of times a week on the phone.

You take care of each other,
Safe Trip over.
Unicorndreams
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