Rising numbers of COVID -19 cases could change some people’s holiday travel plans. But travelers holding nonrefundable tickets don’t have to sacrifice the ticket cost if they’re unable to make the trip.
“They can always reschedule their flight for another time; the airlines have waived their change fees and that’s a good thing,” said Douglas Kidd, executive director of the National Association of Airline Passengers.
Major airlines like American, Delta and United dropped their change fees in September. The fees varied by airlines but could be as high as $200.
Although the change fee has been dropped, depending on the time or day you want to change your flight to, you may have to pay more. For example, if you originally booked a 6 a.m. flight on Sunday morning and you reschedule it for a 2 p.m. flight on Monday, that would likely cost more.
Passengers who bought full-fare refundable tickets can get refunds when canceling trips.
“The main rule to remember is that if you want to get a refund on your ticket, then you have to get a refundable ticket,” Kidd said. “If the airline cancels a flight, they are obliged to make refunds to the people who are impacted. But if you, as an individual passenger, cancels a flight, you’re stuck with the policies that the airline has already put in place to protect themselves in such a circumstance.”
The association advises travelers who want refunds to buy refundable tickets when booking travel.
“People should be very careful about booking flights. If you’re at all concerned about whether or not you’ll need to cancel a flight, you should book a flight with a refundable ticket and (book it) directly with the airline. That way there’s no questions and a lot fewer problems. It’s more expensive, but it may be worth it,” Kidd said.
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