Sometimes is really pay’s off to read the fine print. Did you know you cancel or change your airline ticket for free within 24 hours? And sometimes even longer.
Let me introduce you to the Department of Transportation’s consumer rule “Enhancing Airline Passenger Protections” (14 CFR 259.5(b)(4), 76 Fed. Reg. 23110, 23166, Apr. 25, 2011). Here is a link to the actual document, but in nutshell it says that if you make an airline reservation prior to 7 days before it departs you can cancel or change it within 24 hours for no charge.
Many airlines like Southwest, Alaska and Allegiant let you change or even cancel your reservation outside of the 24-hour window as well. This is good news because many people think that once you hit that Buy button on the website you’re sealed in.
Southwest will let you cancel your flight in the 24 hour window but you can also cancel or change your flight anytime before departure and get a credit. There are some restrictions with unused flight credits like the fact you they can only be used for the same person it was originally purchased for.
Current as of January 1, 2016 Alaska Airlines will let you cancel or change your flight up to 60 days prior to your planned departure. That means if you book a ticket Jan 1st for a trip on August 1st you have until June 2nd to get your money back, or change your fight. Inside 60 days it will cost you $125.
Go America! On American you can actually hold a reservation for 24 hours without paying for anything at all. Yep, all holds are FREE for the first 24 hours. If you choose to hold longer you’ll get charged but when you’re ready you can just log back into aa.com and pay. Easy! Now you can hunt and check for lower fares in the next 24 hours without the risk of loosing out. Additionally American offers an add on starting at $68 that allows you to change your reservation for free anytime before your flight.
Check out the free hold details here: www.aa.com/i18n/utility/hold_mktpg.jsp
Each airline does things a little bit different but it can really pay off to read a little more into the details.