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]