Airlines rarely offer compensation to passengers, for delayed flights or change in flight schedules, but they don’t hesitate to charge a fee if travelers choose to cancel their reservation or make changes in their travel plans. It seems quite unfair, as the cancellation fee is usually a hefty amount.
But what if you could find ways to circumvent your way and avoid the flight reservation cancellation fees, wouldn’t that be great? Let’s explore top 5 ways to avoid airlines cancellation fees.
1. Take advantage of the 24-hour rule
According to the Department of Transportation’s regulations, airlines must allow customers who have booked a flight ticket with them to change or cancel their reservation, without being charged a cancellation fee, within a 24-hour window from the purchase of the ticket, as long as the ticket was bought at least 7 days before the scheduled departure.
Make use of this provision, to avoid the hefty cancellation fees that airlines charge.
2. Choose the airline wisely
Consider all your options before paying for a flight ticket. Some airlines, have flexible rules when it comes to the cancellation of tickets. Southwest, for instance, has no charge on cancellation of tickets. However, the airline will cancel a ticket, based on the current price of a ticket, on the same flight. If there is a drop, in the airfare, the difference is given to the customer as a credit toward a flight in the future.
In case a customer requests for the cancellation of a non-refundable ticket the airline gives the entire airfare to the customer, as credit.
This is a nifty way to dodge the crafty cancellation charges that airlines charge. Go through the cancellation policy of airlines, before you purchase a ticket, so you don’t lose your hard-earned money in the event of a change of travel plans, that call for the cancellation of your flight bookings.
3. Don’t be too hasty
Don’t be in a rush to cancel a flight ticket, when you are aware that you won’t be taking the flight. Delay the process for as long as you can. There is always a chance of the airline announcing a change in the schedule or the cancellation of the flight due to inclement weather or other causes. If there is a change in the departure or arrival time by the airline, then you become entitled to a full refund.
Once again, check the airline’s policy about refunds, before opting for this trick. You must also be aware of the best options available to you, to cancel your flight, if the flight is on schedule and the risk involved if you delay the cancellation until the last day or after the deadline. Some airlines allow cancellation any time before departure, in which case you can wait until the last day, to cancel your ticket.
4. Is there a legitimate reason?
Airlines will waive off the cancellation charges under certain circumstances. These include jury duty that coincides with your travel dates or if you become seriously ill or if there is a death in the family or because of a natural calamity or some other extraordinary event that is beyond your control.
You will be required to submit documentary evidence to support your claim.
5. Credit Card Cover to the rescue
Are you aware of the trip cancellation insurance cover that you could be entitled to with your travel rewards credit card? Of course, you will be eligible if the reason for the cancellation is covered. A serious illness and jury duty are covered by the insurance and you can use these to cancel or change your travel plans.
Certain credit cards, provide cover for up to $10,000 per trip, under the trip cancellation insurance, for covered reasons. To be eligible for the cover you will need to use the credit card to pay for at least some part of the trip, if not all.
These are the most practical avenues available to passengers who want to cancel their flight reservation without having to shell out huge sums of money as cancellation charges.