No matter which airline you choose or whether you decide to use an online travel agent or not, there are some general rules that you should keep in mind when changing your flight. Here is some advice to consider as you make this decision for future travel.
|You can change within 24 hours of purchase
||According to U.S. Department of Transportation regulations, as long as a non-refundable ticket is purchased 7 days ahead of the departure date, you're entitled to change or cancel your reservation within 24 hours of booking, without paying a fee. You can either cancel the reservation entirely, or change it, within the 24-hour window. If you change it however, a fare difference may apply, but there is no change penalty. This applies not just to U.S.-based airlines, but any airline selling airfares in the U.S.
|Always check the reservation and ticket type
||Travel companies and airlines use different terminology to refer to different types of tickets and reservations. The two most common terms are "refundable" or "non-refundable". Often with refundable tickets you may change your ticket without paying a change fee provided all fare and ticket rules are met and seats are available.
|Read the "Fare Rules" for your specific ticket type
||Before buying an online ticket allows, check the fare rules and policies that apply to your specific type of ticket. Unfortunately, sometimes this information is very difficult to find. If you can't find the specific change-fees by using the search bar on the airline's website, try using Google or Bing with the search term "change fees" along with the name of the airline.
|Opt for a ticket voucher
||If you’re not sure what your new travel dates will be, ask for a ticket voucher. You’ll only have to pay the fare difference when you’re ready to book a new ticket.
|Consider buying travel insurance
||If your schedule is uncertain, consider buying travel insurance, which may allow you to cancel your flight without penalty.
Changing or cancelling an airline ticket is often a hassle, and navigating the fares and fees can be very overwhelming. In this article, we’ve detailed the policies of top airlines and online travel agents to help simplify the process. Read on to learn more about the options available to you as an air traveler and helpful tips to save you money and headaches.
What is a Changeable Airline Ticket?
The purpose of this page is to guide you through the labyrinth of mind-numbing rules, policies, fees and restrictions related to changeable airline tickets. We do this by providing numerous examples that represent the range of available options. We'll also give you valuable advice for checking fees and saving money.
Airlines usually allow you to make changes to your travel itinerary, but significant fees may be charged. In the last few years, fees have increased considerably. Change fees typically range from $75 to $300. In addition to the penalty fee, the airline will charge you the difference in fare between the old and new tickets.
Generally, if you purchase a full-fare ticket instead of a restricted or discounted ticket, you will have more options and be charged less fees when it comes to making changes. The only exception we could find to these high-fee airlines is Southwest, which charges no change-ticket fees on most of its ticket types. Let's take a look at the specific policies and offerings of a few airlines.
||Domestic Change Fee
||International Change Fee
||$200 to $450
||Changes are usually permitted only to the return portion of an international itinerary.
||$75 + fare difference
||$75 + fare difference
||Fee is $100-150 if changes made within 60 days of departure and with fare difference over $100.
||$0 with “Flexibility” program
||$0 with “Flexibility" program
||“Flexibility” program costs €14 and allows you to make a 1-time change to your flight schedule and/or destination when booking European flights online up to 7 days before departure.
||$0 as standard
||$0 as standard
||Travelers are only responsible for paying the difference in fare.
Online Travel Agency Policies
Online travel agencies allow you to change the dates of your ticket but also charge fees, and these fees can be quite high. Actually, you will most likely be charged by both the airline and the travel agency. Let's take a look at some of the available options.
|Online Travel Agency
||Just Fly Ticket: change fee + difference between original fare and cost of the flight at the time of the change.
||Get More Ticket: unlimited changes to your ticket and the standard ticket change fee will be waived.
||All In Ticket: Change fees cost of fare difference included, making this twice as expensive as Just Fly.
||Hotwire Hot Rate: Cannot be cancelled, refunded or changed.
||Hotwire Regular Rate: Changes allowed for a fee and fare difference.
||$30 Orbitz change fee + approx. $200-300 airline change fee.
||Purchase trip protection for $60 for the option to cancel for a full refund.
||Name Your Price: Cannot be refunded, changed or cancelled.
||Standard reservation: $30 Priceline change fee + airline change fee.
So while changeable tickets are available through almost all airlines and online travel agencies, it’s important to read the fine print and contact customer service if you’re unsure about fares and fees. And if you’re faced with unforeseen circumstances and need to change your travel plans in the future, remember to keep these helpful tips in mind!
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