Can you request an airline to change the date of travel on your airline ticket? The answer is yes, and no. Confusing, I know, but you must understand that airlines have different policies and the same is applied depending on the circumstances.
Passengers can request the airline to make changes in the date, time and destination on their ticketed flight. However, no physical changes can be endorsed on a ticket that has been issued. Airlines need to cancel the flight ticket and issue a fresh ticket, as per the passengers’ request. Passengers, on the other hand, need to pay the airlines a small fee for making the requested changes and for the issue of a ticket, with the new itinerary.
Fee for change in date
The fee charged by airlines in lieu of the old ticket can vary, depending on the airline, but generally, the cost for a change in date should cost around $150 for a domestic flight ticket, and an exchange fee of about $200 or higher is levied for a date change in an international flight ticket booking.
The fee would also depend on the flight the passenger selects, and the current airfares of the same, at the time of requesting the change of dates. The passenger will need to pay the difference in the airfare if the tickets on the flight selected by them are priced higher than what they had paid for their original ticket. Once the difference and the reissue fee are paid, a fresh ticket, with the new dates will be issued.
Travel agents and Tour operators
Will a travel agent or a tour operator be able to change the date of a flight booking, without the passenger incurring a reissue fee? The answer to that is, no. It is the airlines who decide the rates for the reissue fees, and travel agents and tour operators are not authorized to exempt those charges.
Restrictions imposed by airlines
Dates on some tickets cannot be changed, even with a fee – such as tickets bought during a sale. Further, airlines can also impose other restrictions, at their discretion, that prevent changes to be made on a ticket. Changing the dates on discounted tickets or non-refundable tickets is usually not allowed.
Read the blog about the tips to avoid airline cancellation fee
Here is a brief synopsis of things that passengers must know with regards to changing dates on airline tickets –
- Tickets can be exchanged only within an airline. A passenger who wants to change the date of departure on their ticket must choose another flight operated by the same carrier
- Tickets are non-transferable; passengers cannot request a change of name while asking for the date of departure to be changed. Only the original passenger is entitled to fly on the next schedule
- Any change that needs to be made must be requested prior to the flight’s scheduled departure. Airlines will not entertain requests for change of date, on a ticket, after a flight takes off. Some airlines stop requests for change in itinerary 24 hours prior to the scheduled departure
- Passengers who are unsuccessful in changing the date on a booked flight, and are unable to board the flight, are treated as ‘no show’. They may receive a refund based on the airline’s policy. This amount is usually very low because a lot of charges levied on a ticket are non-refundable
- Airlines may not allow a change in the itinerary if a passenger has flown part of the journey (in case of connecting flights)
- Passengers cannot initiate a date change through the online mode. Each request will have to be forwarded through an airline representative or the tour operator or travel agent. It is best to contact the customer care service for assistance. The staff will calculate the amount the passenger needs to pay for a new ticket and the ticket, with a fresh date, will be issued after disbursement of that amount
- Since ticket prices can fluctuate, the cost of the ticket with a fresh date is valid only for immediate payment
- Passengers who are issued a paper ticket will need to visit a brick and mortar outlet, to get their ticket exchanged. They will be required to submit their ticket, with a cancellation request, before another ticket is issued to them
These are the basic guidelines that most airlines practice. You may want to confirm the procedure and policies with your airline before you request a change of date on your ticket.