You might already be on a sticky wicket If you are searching for “Can I cancel/change my flight without fees?”. And so, it is always advisable to do your proper research and prepare yourselves for unforeseen circumstances before booking a flight.
But, should you find yourself in a situation that warrants you cancelling a flight, you must read this blog to know how you can cancel or change your flight in 2022 without paying a single penny.
The cost for changing or cancelling a flight varies from airline to airline. We, however, will offer you some tips that can generally help you with avoiding change and cancellation fees altogether.
The cost to change or cancel the flight will vary by the airline yo have booked your tickets with, will depend upon the specific details of that Airline’s Policy. However, there are some cases in which you can make changes to your itinerary without paying any fee.
Due to the pandemic, a lot of airlines are waiving the change or cancellation fees. Also, if you hold elite status with a specific carrier, then your fees may be waived or you may be able to change your flight status for free or by paying a nominal cost.
When do I need to know how to cancel/change my flight?
Purchasing a refundable air ticket means you can change your flight as many times as needed. However, refundable air tickets are usually for business travellers, who have their companies pay for the high prices of their tickets.
These high prices allow for the flexibility of changing or Cancelling Policy on the Tickets. For the average traveller, however, buying a refundable air ticket might not be in the budget.
Any change or cancellation that you want to make should be done before the scheduled departure. If you miss your departure, you might not be able to change or cancel your flight. In such cases, it’s always advisable to call your customer service and see if they can help you.
If you have a change of plan, have fallen sick or have booked the wrong flight in the first place, you would want to know how to make the cancellations or change the flight without paying any fee.
General Reasons why airlines waive change/cancellation fees
There are some cases in which you can get to cancel or change even your non-refundable tickets free of cost. The most common scenarios where the airlines waive change/cancellation fees are:
1.) Personal Injury or Illness
2.) A case of jury duty
3.) In case of natural disasters
4.) A case of death in the family
5.) Military Deployment
In all of the above-mentioned cases, you must call the airline’s customer care to explain your side of the story. Be ready to provide proof of the reason for the requested change/cancellation. This is because most airlines will require you to furnish documents supporting your case.
If your case is approved, you will receive a travel credit or a monetary refund depending on the airline you have booked with and the situation you are in.
Usually, the airline will waive the change/cancellation fee and will provide you with the travel credit using which you can book other flights within a year of the original booking date.
A number of airlines are giving up their change/cancellation fee during the Covid 19 outbreak. They are also allowing the customers to get full refunds or travel credits which you can use at a later point of time. Every airline, however, has a slight difference in their Covid-19 policy, so you might want to ensure that in exact terms before contacting them for a change or cancellation.
Tips to avoid cancellation or change fees
Let us now give you some tips using which you can cancel or Change your Flight without paying a single penny or at least mitigating the price of your change/cancellation fee. Some of these ways are as shown below:
1.) Always remember the 24 hour rule
The first and the foremost method of avoiding paying any change/cancellation fee on a flight ticket is to cancel or make the changes in the ticket within 24 hours of the booking. This is the golden rule of changing/cancelling a flight ticket that one should always remember while going for the change or the cancellation in the flight ticket.
If the ticket has been bought at least seven days before the flight then the Department of Transportation has a long-standing policy that provides free changes/cancellation to travellers within 24 hours of the booking. Once this grace period of 24 hours ends, you are left with little options for changing or cancelling your ticket.
What changes/cancellations can be made depends on the kind of ticket you have purchased and the flight company that you are booking with.
2.) Wait & Watch if the airline makes the change
If this 24 hour window passes, you will not be able to refund your basic economy airfare. In such cases, your best possible case at changing or cancelling your economy ticket lies on the airline. If the airline itself allows any changes in the ticket, then its fine, otherwise, you do not have many options.
If the flight time is moved by the airline by a considerable margin or the type of aircraft is changed, then only you will have an option of being eligible for a refund.
3.) Make smaller changes
The change or cancellation fees are greater in case of a round-trip fare as compared to a one-way fare. If you have bought the round-trip flight ticket and want to make changes in the first leg. Let’s say you want to move it to a different day, then you would have no other option than to pay for the change fee and then book for a new flight.
In case if you are changing the return portion of a round trip, it would make total sense to book a new one-way flight rather than paying the cancellation or change fee.
However, if your ticket is one-way and not round-trip, then the most cost-effective way to make the changes in the flight ticket is to skip the current ticket and buy a new ticket, depending on the cancellation fee your airline charges.
In some scenarios, the price of change or cancellation alone can be more than booking a new flight altogether.
4.) Consider standby
For those travellers who want to prepone or postpone their flight time, generally, airlines offer two options– option to be on Standby and the option to get the same-day confirmed change. This usually costs less than a 100 dollars.
If you choose the same-day confirmed change you give up your current ticket and get a guaranteed seat on another flight by paying a fee. However, when you choose the standby option, you pay an amount that places you on the waiting list for another flight, also keeping your current reservation.
In the nutshell, we would want to stress the fact that being a traveller you must know of the various ways you can change/cancel a flight ticket without paying even a single penny. Different airlines would have different policies regarding the change or cancellation. You must keep abreast of these policies and changes in them if any.
The tips that we have provided above are well-thought-out ways of saving money when making flight changes or cancellations. So, you might want to ensure that you follow these steps so that you do not lose your hard-earned money.
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