Expectant Grandmother Fares

Q. My daughter is expecting July 1st. I will be traveling from Dayton, Ohio to Seattle. Of course we know that babies have plans of their own. My concern is getting the best deal I can on an unsure travel date. Is there such a deal or do you have suggestions how I can be best prepared for making last minute arrangements?

A. We get this question a lot! And maybe it's time to start lobbying the airlines for a "loved-one-of-an-expectant-mother" ticket. Until that wonderful day, your current options are not the best. If you wait until the the mother goes into labor, you'll be at the mercy of whatever the current market is for last-minute travel, which is usually quite expensive (unless by some miracle the baby decides to make their first appearance as an airline is announcing a last-minute weekend fare.) Another option, is to buy a fully refundable ticket ahead of time (which again can be quite expensive), and you'll be able to change the the date of travel without a change fee, but still have to pay the difference in fare if there is one. Finally, you might want to go ahead and buy a sale fare on a carrier that charges lower change fees such as AirTran and JetBlue or one that doesn't penalize for change such as Southwest and hope that you won't have to change your itinerary. Of course if you do, you'll be responsible for the difference in fare and there will be one! In your area Southwest flies out of Columbus and AirTran out of Dayton, so you might want to keep your eye out for those fares.