The cost to cancel or change a flight depends on the details of the airline’s policy. Some cases, you can get rid of the fee entirely by making changes to your travel plans.
Airline change fees can be confusing, especially now that travel is starting to recover. During the pandemic, many carriers dropped them for good for most international flights.
In certain circumstances, such as a storm or other unforeseen event, airlines may allow fee-free changes for all classes on certain routes. You’ll need to check the website of your chosen carrier before you book.
Another important rule that airlines follow is the US Department of Transportation’s “24-hour cancellation rule.” This regulation applies to all domestic flights booked less than a week before their departure date.
If the airline makes a change to your flight, you’ll get a refund. However, if you cancel, you’ll be charged the normal fee. Some airlines, like Southwest, will allow you to get a refund without any obligation.
Due to COVID-19, many airlines have started waiving cancellation fees for certain scenarios. United Airlines was the first to do so in the U.S., and other carriers followed suit.
A credit card can be a lifesaver when it comes to making a change or cancelling a flight. It can provide peace of mind that they’ll cover your expenses if something goes wrong.
American Airlines Flight Changing Costs
The good news is that American Airlines does not charge you for changing most flights. Instead, all you have to do is cover the fare difference between the two tickets. Most flights are also changeable if using this company.
Most airlines in the U.S. charge a penalty fee to change or cancel a flight. The fees vary depending on the distance and economy class.
Since the pandemic has affected travel accommodations, many airlines have temporarily waived change fees. They’re also waiving fee for elite status holders.
Avoiding Cancellation And Changing Charges
The best way to avoid cancellation and changing penalties is by doing the task within one day of booking. Typically, this is the processing time for the fee. You’re entitled to a total refund if the airline cancels your flight.
There are a number of ways to get rid of or minimize the cost of a change or cancellation without paying any fees.
1. Change or cancel your ticket within 24 hours of booking.
The easiest way to avoid paying an airplane ticket change fee is by changing or cancelling your flight within 24 hours of booking. The US Department of Transportation has a policy that requires airlines to give consumers a free change of their itinerary within 24 hours of purchase.
2. Wait to see if the airline changes or cancels your flight.
Before you book, check with the airlines to see if they’ll change the flight’s duration or the type of aircraft. If they do, you’ll be eligible for a refund.
Outside of the 24-hour window, basic economy fares are non-refundable. You’re also eligible if the airline changes the flight’s duration or type of aircraft.
3. Make smaller changes
Round-trip tickets are more prone to having higher change or cancellation fees than one-way tickets. If you need to change your flight’s duration or return leg, opting to pay the change fee is the best option.
If your ticket is one-way, opting to buy a new ticket may be the cheaper option. However, if you’re not sure about the exact cost of a new ticket, the cancellation fee alone can add up to a significantly higher amount.
While it’s possible to save money by buying a new ticket, it’s important to remember that most airlines will still cancel your entire trip if you miss the first leg. This strategy should only be used if you’re planning on flying from one destination to another.
4. Consider standby
For people who want to travel earlier or later in the day, there are two different options available. One is standby, where you forfeit your ticket and pay a fee to get a seat on another flight.
If you can’t get a refund from an airline, you can use your credit card to cover the non-refundable expenses of a canceled trip. Some credit cards even have a “covered loss” feature that can allow you to get up to $20,000 in compensation.
Trip cancellation and interruption are typically covered by credit card travel insurance. Even if the primary cardholder isn’t planning on traveling, they can still be covered.
Tips For Changing And Cancelling Flights
Typically, you should watch out for schedule changes using an airline to avoid paying fees. The company will refund you if their evolution seriously affects your travel itinerary. You can also use your insurance company to delay them.
Sometimes, an airline may be willing to waive change or cancellation fees. This guide will go into more details.
Travel waivers are usually issued by airlines when they have to make significant changes to their operations due to unfavorable weather conditions or outbreaks of certain diseases. They allow passengers to change their plans without incurring additional fees.
You can find travel waivers on the website of an airline. They will usually show up at the top of the page when you check-in for your flight.
Several airlines, including American, Delta, and United, have already waived change fees related to the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Keep an eye out for schedule changes
Another way to get around paying for change and cancellation fees is by changing your flight’s schedule. For instance, if your flight was scheduled to leave at 1 p.m. but now arrives at 2:30 p.m., you may be able to get a free ticket.
Generally, if your flight’s schedule is changed by more than 90 minutes, you will be compensated fully. However, this policy varies depending on the carrier and the reason for the change.
Remember the 24-hour rule
A law requires airlines to give customers 24 hours’ notice before they charge a fee. This rule can be useful if you’re still trying to get everything organized for your trip.
Have a good reason
In most cases, airlines will allow people to get changed or canceled flights without paying for it. However, be prepared to provide proof of your travel accommodations.
Consider your credit card coverage
Remember that some travel rewards programs and airlines provide additional protection if you use them to pay for the booking. This coverage can cover the difference between the original and non-refundable expenses incurred for the trip.
If an emergency occurs, you should contact your credit card company to activate your trip delay or cancellation coverage.
You will need to pay for at least half of the trip to receive this coverage. Usually, this coverage includes the cost of your flight and any applicable taxes and fees.
Earn elite status
One of the great advantages of having elite status is that some airlines will waive change fees for scheduled changes made on the same day.
Cover Fees With A Credit Card
If you can’t pay the full amount, you can use travel credits from a different card to cover the fees. Some cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve and The Platinum Card, can also be used to cover these fees.
The Platinum Card from American Express can only cover the difference between the original and canceled flights. You can only use this card for annual airline fee credit. It’s also worth noting that this card can only be used for purchases made at airports.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card has a more flexible travel credit that will apply to the first $300 in purchases each year.
Finally, if you have to pay a change fee out of pocket, you can always use your miles to cover the cost. The Capital One Venture Card has a great feature that lets you transfer your miles to travel partners.
Don’t pay cancellation or change fees until you have to
If you have to cancel a flight due to a change in the schedule or a flight cancellation, don’t pay the fee until you need to. Also, if the airline cancels your service, you should get a refund even if you paid the original form of payment.
Remember that there are some policies that require you to pay the same change fee as the one you paid in advance.
Being forced to change or cancel a flight is not fun, especially if it’s for a family vacation. Being aware of these options can help avoid getting hit with a large change or cancellation fee.
This page will also help you save money on a flight by referring to it whenever you need to change or cancel it.