Even checking bags, selecting a seat, and getting on the plane early are all tiny extras that practically all airlines charge you these days. However, what would happen to those additional expenses if you were to postpone or cancel your trip?
Luckily, change fees have been eliminated by major American airlines, enabling customers to switch or cancel tickets without incurring penalties and receive a voucher or credit instead. They also provide completely refundable tickets, which enable customers to receive a return if they decide it is not worth the additional cost. When you cancel, you can frequently get your miles back for free if you booked using miles.
But that doesn’t include the add-ons; it only covers the airfare. Not all of your flights, no matter what you book or how, are refundable.
Due to the differences between airlines, it can be very difficult to determine what reimbursement you should be eligible for from them. In certain situations, it might also take a long time to receive your money back. If you want to know what rights you have, you have to read the fine print. We did it for you, lucky you. See what is (and isn’t) refundable with your flight by reading on.
Does the Refund for Baggage Fees Apply?
According to American’s website, in most cases, any checked baggage fees you pay are not refundable if you decide to cancel your trip. Any money you previously spent to check that luggage will also be lost if you purchase or receive an upgrade that includes complimentary checked bags.
Additionally, you will not be able to receive a refund for baggage fees if you paid in advance for checked bags but ultimately decided to only bring a carry-on.
When it comes to baggage fee refunds, Delta is more accommodating than the others. You will get your money back if you decide to cancel your ticket and pay for your baggage. You will receive the money back in your original payment method, not only as a Delta eCredit.
However, it’s not automatic; you’ll need to put in a little more effort to receive your bag fees reimbursed. If you would like a refund for any baggage costs, you can contact Delta by phone or send a message to a representative via the Fly Delta app or Delta.com. Not to mention that you should be entitled to a refund if you have already been charged for a checked bag but ultimately decide to only bring a carry-on.
According to United’s contract of carriage, the majority of baggage costs are nonrefundable. But United also makes an effort to upsell budget travelers on packages that include luggage, seat assignments, and other benefits. If you decide later on that you do not need these extras for your vacation, United States bundles are nonrefundable. However, you should be able to receive a refund for some or all of the bundle fee if you end up modifying, canceling, or getting upgraded during your trip.
Upgrades That Cost Money
As long as you cancel your flight more than 24 hours before it is scheduled to take off, you can receive a Delta eCredit for the full cost of your paid upgrade if you paid to upgrade to Delta Comfort Plus, Delta Premium Select, Delta One business class, or first class and you cancel your travel. You are still entitled to a refund in the form of at least an eCredit even if you paid cash for your upgrade instead of using SkyMiles to book your initial ticket.
According to United‘s contract of carriage, any upgrades you buy on the day of your trip or during check-in are not refundable. Thus, not only will you forfeit the upgrade, but you also won’t be able to get your money back if you willingly alter or cancel your trip. This is also explained by the airline in the terms and conditions when you buy the upgrade.
On American, you won’t always have the option to upgrade in advance, but if you do, the airline’s website states that you probably won’t get your money back if you need to change or cancel your trip. But, a lot of reviews suggest that you might be eligible for a refund if you ask for one, so it’s worth giving a call or putting in an online refund request to see how far it gets you. Should you need to cancel your ticket, you can receive your AAdvantage miles returned to your account if you upgraded; however, you will need to give them a call.
Although they don’t provide business or first class, Southwest does offer what they refer to as Business Select tickets, which come with extra benefits but no assigned seats. Even the lowest Wanna Get Away rates entitle you to an upgrade to Business Select. It will usually wind up costing twice as much as your original ticket.
How Are Delta Companion Certificates Handled?
Delta provides a perk to some cards that are not available on other major U.S. carriers: companion certificates. For frequent travelers who own one of the airline’s high-end co-branded credit cards, this can be an immensely beneficial perk. Consider them a once-a-year, travel-related buy one, get one free offer. Redeeming Delta companion certificates for qualified flights can be difficult, so bear that in mind.
It’s important to read the fine print since it states that the companion ticket will also be canceled if the primary ticket—the one you paid for—is canceled. The companion certificate is completely forfeited and cannot be reprinted, even though you may receive a Delta eCredit for the value of the original ticket.
And certificates for Delta Upgrades?
Regional or even worldwide upgrade certificates are among the extra benefits available to those with the highest grades of Delta Medallion Status. Consider these a surefire improvement. On flights that qualify, you can use them to leapfrog up to first class or even Delta One seats, albeit you’ll frequently end up in just domestic first class or Delta Premium Select seats.
Does Paying to Select a Seat Entitle You to a Refund?
Except in certain cases, American Airlines claims that seat assignment fees are often nonrefundable. If you rebook and cancel your flight, American will reimburse you for any seats you paid for on the new flight, including Main Cabin Extra and Preferred seats.
In addition, American will reimburse your seat assignment expenses under the following conditions:
- Upgrading to first or business class costs money.
- If you switch to a cheaper or complimentary seat on the same aircraft, you will not be charged more for the additional seat.
- When the airline rebooks you, American cancels your original reservation and is unable to find you a comparable seat.
- Due to an American flight delay, you miss a connection, and the airline is unable to secure you a seat that is similar on another flight.
- On an oversold trip, your seat is refused, and American is unable to find you a comparable ticket on an alternate route.
- Naturally, you won’t get your money back from the airline right away. To get a refund, you will need to go online.
From seven days before the departure of the flight, Delta offers basic economy ticket holders the option to select their preferred seat for an additional price, which can range from $10 to $45 or more. However, since these costs are nonrefundable, you will lose that money—as well as additional change fees—should you decide to switch seats later on or cancel your flight. For whatever reason, your Delta SkyMiles are not refundable if you paid for your seat selection with them.
Travelers on United can choose to pay extra for seats that offer additional legroom and a more desired location within the cabin, such as an Economy Plus or Preferred seat. If you need to cancel your trip, these seat purchases are non-refundable; however, if you need to change flights or receive a complimentary upgrade, you can receive a refund for your Economy Plus ticket purchase back to the original payment method.
The distinction of Southwest is that it does not assign seats. Rather, you are given a boarding position that dictates your seat on the aircraft. You can select any available seat once you’re on board.
Southwest offers you two options if you want a higher chance of obtaining the seat you desire. If you would like to check in early and receive an earlier boarding position, you can purchase an “Early Bird Check-In” while making your reservation. This will give you additional options for seats. If you need to cancel your flight, you will not be reimbursed for the $15 Early Bird Check-In cost.
Tips for Choosing a Flight Schedule
The key point is to always inquire, even if the terms explicitly state that you aren’t eligible for a refund or credit. An airline agent telling you no is the worst thing that could happen.
Obtaining the reimbursement you are entitled to for these trip add-ons may often require additional effort with most airlines. While some airlines allow you to request online for a refund, you might need to phone others to receive what you rightfully deserve. It can be worth the additional time and work it takes to get your money back because all these extra costs that airlines impose can mount up. Attempting never hurts!
However, there are a few things to think about to increase your chances of receiving a refund when you purchase a flight.
- Anytime you can choose the main cabin over the basic economy. The least expensive and most limited rate that airlines offer, the basic economy typically carries the highest amount of costs. You can avoid initially having to pay more for a carry-on bag or even seat selection by paying a little bit more for the main cabin.
- Take a look at the fine print. Most airline contracts of carriage are available on the internet. When you book, you agree with the airline which may contain several unexpected terms, such as whether or not there are refunds. You should contact the hotline or send an agent a message if you are unable to obtain the answers you need there.
- Within 24 hours of making your reservation, you can cancel your flight and receive a complete refund in the original currency you used, including any money you spent for upgrades, baggage, or seats. Do you need to get some money back? To request the remainder, message or give the airline a call.
- The most flexible units are points and miles. Depending on the type of ticket you purchased or the amount of notice you give, many major airlines let you cancel an award ticket and receive all of your points (as well as award taxes and fees) returned for free. It is possible to cancel Delta basic economy award tickets, however doing so would result in a modest loss of SkyMiles. If you modify or cancel at least 30 days before your trip, United will also waive any redeposit fees for all award travel.