Kudos to Delta for the way it handled your sister’s bereavement fare. That’s the way it should be done.
US Airways, which recently has merged with American Airlines, did not handle this by the book.
Think about it. If US Airways only accepted reservations through Internet Explorer, how much business would it be turning down? Similarly, limiting your upload to 1.1MB, when a lot of scans can routinely exceed that, is certain to turn away some grieving passengers. And the business about listing you as a relative ignores the reality of today’s relationships. Modern families don’t always have the same last name.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d say US Airways is making the process as difficult as possible in order to avoid sending you a refund.
You could have appealed your case to one of the airline’s executives. I list their names and email addresses on my site: http://elliott.org/contacts/us-airways.
Remember, though, that US Airways is under no obligation to refund anything. Strictly speaking, it can keep your fare and your change fee. An airline may waive its own rules when you have a death in the family, but it doesn’t have to.
But if a representative says the airline will reverse the change fee, it should do so without a hassle and a headache. Especially at a time like this.
I contacted US Airways on your behalf and emailed the paperwork directly to it. The airline has processed a refund.