You have booked a non-refundable U.S. airline ticket for your home finding trip and now you have to change or cancel your plans? Not (necessarily) to worry; all might not be lost. It is always possible to obtain a full refund on a ticket you have purchased within 24 hours of booking, however, there are a few more unheard of methods you may be able to utilize to achieve the same refundable results.
U.S. Department of Transportation regulations stipulate that as long as your non-refundable ticket was booked seven days in advance of your flight, you are eligible to change or cancel your reservation during the 24-hour window in which you purchased your ticket. If you change the flight within that 24-hour window, you may just be responsible for any fare cost difference.
Each airline has specifications on how to change or cancel a flight. It is always important for you to read the airline’s fine print and contract of carriage information regarding cancelations/refunds to remain apprised of each airline’s particular policy and procedure.
Outside of having to cancel your flight for whatever reason, you can also apply for an “involuntary refund”. This type of refund can be requested in the following instances:
- An airline refuses to carry you for any reason
- Your flight is delayed longer than a certain amount of time (this amount varies from airline to airline – check with the airline in question on their delay times)
- Your flight is canceled
In these cases, you can apply for a refund of your ticket, even if your ticket is sold as non-refundable.
In addition to these loopholes, your ticket may also be refund-worthy if there is a sizable change to the flight schedule. For example, if your non-stop flight from Los Angeles to Louisville now includes a stop off in Las Vegas, you can apply for a refund. If your leisurely late morning flight has somehow morphed into a red-eye nightmare of the airline’s doing, you can apply for a refund. It always behooves you to check the flight schedule regularly to determine if there have been changes to your flight. If significant changes have occurred, call the airline to request a refund and inform them the schedule no longer works for your travel plans.
While there may be some leg work involved when you are checking on a refund, it could be to your benefit and you could very well recoup the money you thought you couldn’t. Safe and prosperous travels!