Double Duty Daddy

Did You Know? U.S. Airlines Offer Free 24 Hour Cancellation Policy

You may find an incredible flight deal and want to book it but you first have to consult with your significant other to make sure the date and time works. A few hours later, you go to book the flight and you notice the price went up significantly. NOW you’ve got non-buyer remorse and wish you would have booked when you had the lower fare.

I often say, book now, plan later when finding a great airfare deal. That’s because all major U.S. airlines (except one) offer a 24-hour cancellation policy that’s enforced by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

Under the DOT’s regulations, as long as a customer books a non-refundable ticket at least seven days ahead of the scheduled departure, an airline is required to offer one of two options:

Allow that customer to change or cancel the trip within 24 hours without penalty

OR

Hold that reservation at the current price for 24 hours without payment

The one airline that does not offer a 24-hour cancellation policy is American Airlines. The reason? They offer a hold feature which allows customers to lock-in the fare for 24 hours without payment. You’d be wise to use this option if you find a great fare on American and need time to secure flight plans with others.

Travelers hoping to take advantage of the 24-hour rule will only be able to do so if they book directly with the airline. Sites like Expedia and Orbitz offer their own 24-hour cancellation policy but bare in mind your ticket will still be subject to the fare rules, cancellation policies, and fees from the airline you’re traveling. I typically steer away from online travel agencies (OTAs) because if something goes wrong, I MUCH rather call the airline directly than an OTA.

Here are the current 24-hour cancellation/refund policies for major U.S. airlines:

Alaska Airlines: 24-hour free cancellation.

Allegiant Airlines: 24-hour free cancellation.

American Airlines: Keeps reservations on hold for free for 24-hours.

Delta Airlines: provides a full refund if cancellation is made by midnight the day after purchase of most flights.

Frontier Airlines: 24-hour free cancellation.

JetBlue: 24-hour free cancellation.

Southwest Airlines: No fee for cancellation, customers receive full credit toward future flight.

Spirit Airlines: 24-hour free cancellation [PDF].

United Airlines: 24-hour free cancellation.

***So remember, book now, plan later. BUT, know the 24-hour cancellation policy for your airline.

 

Did you know airlines had a 24-hour cancellation policy? Have you ever cancelled a flight within the 24-hour window after booking?

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2 Comments

  1. Melissa Elders April 19, 2017 at 11:52 am

    Just used this advice — never quite realized that it’s a requirement, not just one airline rep being nice. Now no more watching the rate disappear while I deliberate!

    • DD Daddy April 20, 2017 at 9:33 pm

      Exactly! Book now, give yourself 24 hours to cancel if needed.

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