Round-Up Of Airline Refund Policies

The Seattle Times has an article about what to do when you purchase a non-refundable ticket and then notice the fare has dropped. Basically, their advice is to ask politely for a refund, and they have a nice round-up of airline refund policies:

•Northwest Airlines: Two options: Voucher good for one year, less a $25 service fee. Cash refund, minus a $100 fee.

•US Airways/America West Airlines: Voucher good for one year issued at no charge. Cash refund, minus a $100 fee. Certain promotional fares excluded.

The Full List:

•Alaska Airlines/ Horizon Air: Travel voucher good for one year for the difference in fares, minus a $10 service charge.

•Northwest Airlines: Two options: Voucher good for one year, less a $25 service fee. Cash refund, minus a $100 fee.

•US Airways/America West Airlines: Voucher good for one year issued at no charge. Cash refund, minus a $100 fee. Certain promotional fares excluded.

•United Airlines: A United spokeswoman would not respond to phone and e-mail requests for clarification on the airline’s policy.

Information on its Web site says that United will issue a voucher good for one year for domestic flights, and apply a (unspecified) fee on international tickets. Two reservations agents with whom I spoke said the airline would not charge a fee in either case.

•Continental Airlines: Voucher good for one year, minus the normal change fees applicable to the original fare (usually $100 on domestic flights and $200 on international). “However, we work with customers on a case-by-case basis if individual circumstances apply,” said spokeswoman Susannah Thurston.

•Delta Airlines: Voucher good for one year, less change fees applicable to the original fare (usually $50 for domestic flights and $200 on international).

•American Airlines: Cash refund for the difference in fares, less change fees applicable to the original fare (usually $100 for domestic flights and $200 on international).

The airline’s Conditions of Carriage agreement adds, “When reduced fares are for sale for a limited period of time, American reserves the right to decline to issue refunds.”

•Southwest Airlines: Credit for future travel within one year; after that, a voucher good any time. No service fee.

•JetBlue Airways: Voucher good for one year. No fee. If a sale fare applies to a different itinerary or flight times, JetBlue allows customers to cancel the original booking with no penalty and rebook the new flight.

The trick to getting a refund, it seems, is to book with airlines that have the best policies.—MEGHANN MARCO

Coming out ahead when your ticket price drops [Seattle Times]

Comments

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  1. acambras says:

    United Airlines: A United spokeswoman would not respond to phone and e-mail requests for clarification on the airline’s policy.

    That’s because United Airlines sucks,
    and we know they suck,
    and they know that we know that they suck.

  2. nweaver says:

    Also, on southwest its very easy to do. Just go to their online change reservation form and change to the lower fare.

  3. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    Southwest is incredible for this. We always buy tickets as soon as we know we want to take a trip, at whaterver Southwest’s lowest fare at the time is. We periodically check back, and if we see a lower one, we can just switch to the lower fare, and keep the rest in Southwest credit, which we always end up using. It really couldn’t be much simpler than Southwest makes it.

  4. Pelagius says:

    I got a full refund from United when my flight was cancelled due to that pre-Christmas storm in Denver.

  5. XilefTheOriginal says:

    I normally choose Southwest Airlines for travel
    because I generally know what I’m buying. For an
    unknown reason SW has quit booking reservations from
    Tulsa to Boise although the flights are still
    available.

    So I chose to book with United instead.
    What a nightmare! I have never dealt with so many
    apathetic individuals in one company in my life. They
    oversold my flight, bumped me, stranded me in Denver,
    let 7 planes to my destination take off without me, a
    gate agent actually walked away when I asked if I was
    getting on the 6th flight and when she returned 10
    minutes later told me she had already answered my
    question when she had said “I just got here” then
    walked away again. The original gate supervisor responsible for bumping me, Andy Wysocki, laughed when I asked for compensation. They’re ignoring my emails
    requesting compensation for UAL deliberately selling
    my reserved seat to someone else. At one point I was
    45th on the standby list for three days worth of
    overbooked flights and there were people lower on the
    list.

    I did everything I was supposed to: reserved my
    seat, paid, got to airport and gate on time, yet UAL
    ignores all that and flies me when they want to and
    strands me for 27 hours in a place where a sticky bun
    costs $4.00 and a Coke $2.50, all the while carrying
    my 40 pounds of luggage, ’cause you can’t set it down
    or the Homeland Security agent comes. When I got to
    Boise, I saw another scowling face and asked if he’d
    flown United. He said “of course”. Never fly United.

    Attitude is indicitive of why UAL is such a sorry
    airline. I’ve seen minimum wage workers in convenience
    stores worth more than most of UAL’s employees
    combined.

  6. zingbot says:

    I hate American Airlines and am pulling out of their rewards program because of their stingy fees.