Airline Change & Cancellation Fees for Cash Tickets — and How to Avoid Them!

Full Disclosure: We may be financially compensated when you click on links to credit card products from our advertising partners, such as American Express, Chase, Citi & Capital One. Opinions and product recommendations on this site are ours alone, and have not been influenced, reviewed or approved by the issuer. See our Advertiser Disclosure for more details. Thanks!

Changing or canceling flights is probably not high on your list of things to do. Seriously, who wants to cancel a flight, especially when it’s taking you on vacation?!

To make this process a little bit easier for you, we’re going to outline some vital info about changing or canceling flights with some of the most popular airlines for tickets purchased with cash. (We’ve written about award flight cancellation and change fees too.)

Airline Change and Cancellation Fees (Cash Tickets)

The vast majority of airlines require you to pay to change or cancel flights even when you have paid for your ticket. Unfortunately, each also has its own rules, making it very confusing.

What Are Change and Cancellation Fees

When purchasing a flight, you are likely paying for a nonrefundable ticket, especially if you are taking a vacation.

Refundable tickets are much more common for business travelers whose schedules change more often; they also pay a premium for these tickets.

If you have to change a flight because of an unforeseen event, you can expect a change fee with most airlines. A cancellation charge also applies if you need to cancel a trip. These fees vary by airline, so we’ll discuss specifics below.

Quick Tips To Avoid Cancellation or Change Fees

Tip #1)  The Department of Transportation requires airlines to allow customers to cancel or change a ticket at no cost within 24 hours of purchase if the ticket is purchased at least 7 days prior to departure.

Tip #2)  Under some special circumstances, you can get change and cancellation fees waived. If you experience the death of an immediate family member or your travel companion or have jury duty, you might qualify for the fee waiver.

Tip #3)  With American, Delta, and United all charging $200 to change a domestic itinerary, consider whether you are better served booking one-way tickets or a round-trip ticket. If you need to cancel or change the first leg of a trip, you won’t impact the return leg if you book one-way flights. However, if you need to change both, you are better off having a round-trip booking.

Tip #4)  Use schedule changes to your advantage. Make sure you know the schedule change policy of the airline you are flying. If your departure or arrival time is changed, you might be eligible for a free change or cancellation. With the chance of a schedule change, you should consider waiting to cancel until the deadline to do so. Just remember to cancel before the deadline!

Tip #5)  Know which airlines will allow you to fly standby on the day of your flight so you don’t end up paying to change flights.

Tip #6)  Sometimes it’s better to dump your reservation and book a new flight rather than paying the fee to change the original ticket.

Bottom Line: When trying to change or cancel a flight, there are lots of pitfalls. So make sure you know your options before booking!

Which Credit Cards Have Trip Cancellation Insurance?

Cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card have trip cancellation insurance that can help recoup the cost of airfare if you or a family member become ill.

If you’re interested in a card with trip cancellation insurance, give these a look:

BankApplicable Cards
ChaseChase Sapphire Preferred®
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
CitiCiti Prestige® Card
Citi ThankYou® Premier Card
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

Make sure you read the details of each card’s trip cancellation insurance to ensure you get what you want.

Change and Cancellation Policy/Fees by Airline

The following are a list of change and cancellation fees and different policies and information listed by airline. Note that these can be subject to change, and agents have the ability to waive certain fees in certain situations (so always be nice to your customer service agent!).

Note that this list does not cover baggage fees, which is covered in a separate series. You may also be liable for the difference in fare in many cases.

Aeromexico

  • Change Fee:
    • Basic fare: Non-changeable
    • Classic fare: Up to $300 USD
    • AM+ fare: Up to $300 USD
    • Comfort fare: Up to $300 USD
    • Flexible fare: Free
    • Premier fare: Free
  • Cancellation Fee: 
    • Basic fare: Non-refundable
    • Classic fare: Non-refundable
    • AM+ fare: Non-refundable
    • Comfort fare: Non-refundable
    • Flexible fare: Free
    • Premier fare: Free

Air Canada

  • Change Fee:
    • Standard fare: $100 (60 days or less) or $25 (61 days or more)
    • Flex fare: $50 (60 days or less) or $25 (61 days or more)
    • Comfort fare: $25 (60 days or less) or $0 (61 days or more)
  • Same Day Change: 
    • Standard fare: $150 ($100*)
    • Flex fare: $75**
    • Comfort fare: $75**
    • *For routes between Toronto and JFK, LaGuardia, or Newark airports
    • **Free for above routes. Comfort same day standby is always free.
  • Cancellation: None, but rules depend on fare
  • Exclusions/Waivers:
    • There are multiple fare types with varying rules. Basic fares allow no changes or cancellations. Latitude fares have changes included. Some Premium Economy and Business tickets have their changes included.
    • Some fares do not allow cancellations at all (i.e. you lose the value of your ticket). Some allow you to retain your ticket value for future tickets, some may only allow a portion of value to be retained. Cancellations must be made 2 hours in advance.

Air New Zealand

  • Change Fee:
    • Economy fare: $150 USD change fee per adult and child applies. Infant fares can be changed free of charge.
    • Premium Economy fare: $150 USD change fee per adult and child applies. Infant fares can be changed free of charge.
  • Cancellation Fee: 
    • Economy fare: $300 USD cancellation fee per adult and child; infant fares are fully-refundable. Fare is non-refundable once travel has commenced but credit can be used against a future Air New Zealand fare of equal or greater value.
    • Premium Economy Fare fare: $300 USD cancellation fee per adult and child; infant fares are fully-refundable. Fare is non-refundable once travel has commenced but credit can be used against a future Air New Zealand fare of equal or greater value.
  • Exclusions/Waivers:
    • You can cancel within 24 hours after your purchase and receive a full refund with no fees provided the reservation is made one week or more prior to the scheduled departure.

Alaska Airlines*

  • Change Fee: $125 (at least 60 days prior to flight); $125 (within 60 days of flight)
    • You will also be responsible for the difference in ticket price if the new flight is more expensive. If the new ticket is cheaper, you will either receive credit toward a future flight or a refund (depending on your ticket’s rules).
  • Same Day Change: $50 ($25 for travel within California, and on shuttle flights between Anchorage and Fairbanks, Spokane and Seattle, and Portland and Seattle)
  • Cancellation: $125 (for travel booked without 24 hours of departure, $125 applies even though within 24 hours of booking)
  • Exclusions/Waivers:
    • MVP Gold or 75K members receive complimentary same-day changes, and ticket changes fees are waived.
    • The same day change fee is waived for customers booked in refundable coach (F, D) or refundable first (Y, Z) fare classes.
    • Guests traveling by means of vacation package booking are not eligible for same day confirmed changes. If this change is necessary, the passenger must call 1-844-762-0087.

* Information based off of tickets purchased after June 5, 2018. For change fees applied to tickets purchased or last exchanged prior to, please click here.

Alitalia

There are no standard change or cancellation fees and are dependent on the fare type and destination. These fees will be presented to you when conducting a flight search on Alitalia’s website or ask a call centre representative. Below are some example fees for a flight search from Rome to Miami with fees charged per one way ticket.

  • Change fees:
    • Economy Light Fare: Non-changeable
    • Economy Classic Fare: $170
    • Economy Flex Fare: Free
    • Premium Economy Fare: $170
    • Business Classic Fare: Non-changeable
    • Business Flex Fare: Free
  • Cancellation fees:
    • Economy Light Fare: Non-refundable
    • Economy Classic Fare: Non-refundable
    • Economy Flex Fare: Free
    • Premium Economy Fare: Non-refundable
    • Business Classic Fare: Non-refundable
    • Business Flex Fare: Free
  • Exclusions/Waivers:
    • When you purchase a flight through Alitalia’s U.S. website you can cancel within 24 hours after your purchase and receive a full refund with no fees provided the reservation is made one week or more prior to the scheduled departure.
    • An additional fee of $23 per ticket for administration costs is charged on all ticket refunds.

Allegiant Airlines

  • Change Fee: $75 per person, per segment, plus any applicable airfare increase. (must be made at least 7 days before departure)
  • Cancellation: $75 (must be made at least 7 days before departure)

Hot Tip: If you purchase TripFlex at the time of your booking, change fees and cancellation fees are waived. However, you are still required to make any changes or cancellations at least 7 days in advance.

American Airlines

  • Domestic Change Fee: $200
  • International Change Fee: Up to $750
  • Same Day Change: $75-$150 (economy); free (business/first class)
    • Same day standby is complimentary for Gold, Platinum, Platinum Pro, and Executive Platinum Members
    • Same day flight change is complimentary for Platinum Pro, and Executive Platinum Members
  • Cancellation: If you cancel a non-refundable ticket, you can apply the unused value of the ticket toward a future trip (no later than 1 year from the date your original ticket was issued). Change fees may apply.

All Nippon Airways (ANA)

  • Change/Cancellation Fee:  Fees vary based on the fare and may be up to $500. Check your ticket’s terms and conditions.

Asiana Airlines

  • Change Fee:  Check your terms and conditions at time of booking.
  • Cancellation Fee:  Check your terms and conditions at time of booking.
  • Exclusions/Waivers: There are no standard change and cancellation fees. They will depend on the fare type and the journey taken. Refunds for Preferred Seating, Economy Smartium and Royal Business tickets can be refunded up to 48 hours before the scheduled flight departure.

Avianca Airlines (TACA)

Flights to South America

  • Change fees:
    • Super Promo Fare: $300 plus the fare difference
    • Econo Promo Fare: $300 plus the fare difference
    • Flexi Fare: No changes fee but difference in fare chargeable
    • Business Promo Fare: $300 plus the fare difference
    • Business Fare: Free
  • Cancellation fees:
    • Super Promo Fare: Non-refundable
    • Econo Promo Fare: $175
    • Flexi Fare: Free
    • Business Promo Fare: $175
    • Business Fare: Free

For flights departing to Brazil and Ecuador, refunds will be subject to a charge.

Flights to Central America

  • Change fees:
    • Super Promo Fare: $200 plus the fare difference
    • Econo Promo Fare: $200 plus the fare difference
    • Flexi Fare: No changes fee but difference in fare chargeable
    • Business Promo Fare: $200 plus the fare difference
    • Business Fare: Free
  • Cancellation fees:
    • Super Promo Fare: Non-refundable
    • Econo Promo Fare: $175
    • Flexi Fare: Free
    • Business Promo Fare: $150
    • Business Fare: Free

British Airways

  • Change Fee:  Free (online); $25 (phone); $35 (at an airport ticket office)
  • Same Day Change:  Free for domestic short-haul; International ticket fees depends on situation and fare class
  • Cancellation: $10 (online); $25 (phone); $35 (at an airport ticket office)
  • Exclusions/Waivers:
    • 1 hour’s notice is required to make a same day change.
    • Free same day changes are not available if your itinerary has a connection or is a long-haul flight.

Hot Tip: If you need to cancel or change a British Airways flight, do it online. Changes are free and cancellations are only $10!

Cathay Pacific

  • Change Fee: 
    • Date/Time: $50 USD (Standard Economy); $150 USD (Promotional, Economy Save, Premium Economy Standard and Business Save)
    • Rerouting: $150 USD
  • Cancellation:
    • $150 USD (Unused and some partially used)
    • $200 USD (Expired)
  • Exclusions/Waivers: N/A

China Southern Airlines

  • Change fees more than 2 hours before departure: 
    • Economy Class: Dependent on the fare level booked, with the minimum charge being free and the maximum charge being 30% of the ticket cost. Some fare levels do not permit any changes.
    • Premium Economy Class: Dependent on the fare level booked, with the minimum charge being free and the maximum charge being 30% of the ticket cost.
    • Business Class: Free
    • First Class: Free
  • Change fees less than 2 hours before departure:
    • Economy Class: Dependent on the fare level booked, with the minimum charge being 5% and the maximum charge being 50% of the ticket cost. Some fare levels do not permit any changes.
    • Premium Economy Class: Dependent on the fare level booked, with the minimum charge being 5% and the maximum charge being 50% of the ticket cost.
    • Business Class: Dependent on the fare level booked, with the minimum charge being 5% and the maximum charge being 20% of the ticket cost.
    • First Class: 5% of the ticket cost
  • Cancellation fees more than 2 hours before departure: 
    • Economy Class: Dependent on the fare level booked, with the minimum charge being 5% and the maximum charge being 50% of the ticket cost. Some fare levels will refund taxes only.
    • Premium Economy Class: Dependent on the fare level booked, with the minimum charge being 5% and the maximum charge being 50% of the ticket cost.
    • Business Class Class: Dependent on the fare level booked, with the minimum charge being 5% and the maximum charge being 20% of the ticket cost.
    • First Class Class: 5% of the ticket cost
  • Cancellation fees less than 2 hours before departure: 
    • Economy Class: Dependent on the fare level booked, with the minimum charge being 15% and the maximum charge being 50% of the ticket cost. Some fare levels will refund taxes only.
    • Premium Economy Class: Dependent on the fare level booked, with the minimum charge being 15% and the maximum charge being 50% of the ticket cost. Some fare levels will refund taxes only.
    • Business Class Class: Dependent on the fare level booked, with the minimum charge being 10% and the maximum charge being 30% of the ticket cost.
    • First Class Class: 10% of the ticket cost

These fees are applicable to tickets sold from July 7, 2017. For tickets purchased prior to this date, see terms and conditions from time of purchase.

Delta Air Lines

  • Domestic Change Fee: $200
  • International Change Fee: $200-$500
  • Same Day Change: $75
  • Cancellation: If you cancel a domestic itinerary, you must have the ticket reissued and complete your travel within 1 year of the original ticket. For international itineraries, you must begin your travel within 1 year of the original ticket. Change fees may apply.
  • Exclusions/Waivers:
    • Gold, Platinum, and Diamond medallion members are not charged for same-day changes.
    • Basic economy fares are not eligible for same-day changes regardless of medallion status.

EasyJet

  • Change Fee: 
    • Same Day Earlier Flight: $33 USD
    • 60 Days+: $23 USD
    • <60 Days (Off-Peak 3rd September – 14th June): $45 USD
    • <60 Days (Peak 15th June – 2nd September): $68 USD
  • Cancellation:
    • Within 24 hours: $41 USD
    • After 24 hours: Non-refundable
  • Exclusions/Waivers: A $5 to $6 USD fee will be added for using the contact center rather than making changes online.

Emirates

  • Change Fee: Check your terms and conditions at time of booking.*
  • Cancellation: Check your terms and conditions at time of booking.*
  • Exclusions/Waivers: 
    • *There are no standard change fees. They will depend on the fare type + the journey taken. Customer service will not provide any further information.
    • Rumors on the web quote prices anywhere from $50 to $1000+ USD.
    • Some fares may not allow cancellation / changes.

Etihad Airways

  • Change Fee: Check your terms and conditions at time of booking.*
  • Cancellation: Check your terms and conditions at time of booking.*
  • Exclusions/Waivers: 
    • *There are no standard change fees. They will depend on the fare type + the journey taken. Customer service will not provide any further information.
    • Within 96 hours of departure, an additional 10% will be added to the change fee.
    • If changing a flight using a customer service agent, a fee of $20-30 USD (differs per country and where fee was booked) may be added on top of the change fees.
    • Rumors on the web quote prices anywhere from $75 to $200+ USD.
    • Some fares may not allow cancellation / changes.

EVA Air

  • Change Fee: $50 USD
  • Cancellation: $100 USD
  • Exclusions/Waivers: Fees may change depending on fare, be sure to check the fees at the time of booking.

EL AL

  • Date /Time Change Fee: 
    • Lite Tickets: Non-changeable
    • Classic Tickets: $70 USD
    • Flex Tickets: Free
  • Cancellation:
    • Lite Tickets: Non-refundable
    • Classic Tickets: $170 USD
    • Flex Tickets (Y/S/M): Free
    • Flex Tickets (Other): $50 USD
  • Exclusions/Waivers: 
    • Route changes are not allowed.
    • Lite and Classic: If you no-show, the ticket is forfeit.
    • Flex: If you no-show, a refund is available for $200 USD (Y/S/M) or $250 USD (All other classes). The ticket can also be changed for a $200 USD fee.

Frontier Airlines

  • Domestic Change Fee: $0 at 90+ days before departure, $49 at 89 to 14 days before departure, $99 within 13 days before departure
  • Same Day Change: $99
  • Cancellation: $0 at 90+ days before departure, $49 at 89 to 14 days before departure, $99 within 13 days before departure
  • Exclusions/Waivers:
    • Same day standby for earlier/later travel is available to EarlyReturns Elite members at no extra cost.

Garuda Indonesia

  • Change Fee: Check your terms and conditions at time of booking as change fees are not detailed on Gauda’s website or during the flight search process. Rumors on the web state no change fees but that fare differences are payable.

Cancellation Fees

  • More than 72 hours before departure:
    • Economy Fare: 75% of basic fare
    • Business Fare: 15% of basic fare
    • First Class Fare: 10% of basic fare
  • 72-24 hours before departure:
    • Economy Fare: 75% of basic fare
    • Business Fare: 40% of basic fare
    • First Class Fare: 35% of basic fare
  • Less than 24 hours before departure:
    • Economy Fare: 95% of basic fare
    • Business Fare: 80% of basic fare
    • First Class Fare: 50% of basic fare

Hainan Airlines

These fees are a guideline. Contact Hainan Airlines for the most accurate fees as charges are calculated based on seat availability, fare basis and itinerary changes

  • Change fees:
    • Economy Fare: $200
    • Business Class Fare: $250
  • Cancellation fees:
    • Economy Fare: $450
    • Business Class Fare: $400

Hawaiian Airlines

  • Domestic Change Fee$200
  • International Change Fee: $50-$300
  • Intra-Hawaii Change Fee: $30
  • Intra-Hawaii Same Day Change: free (only available for Pualani Platinum and Gold members, plus some corporate customers)
  • Cancellation Fee:  None

Iberia Airlines

  • Change Fee:
    • Express Fare: 65€
    • Classic Fare: 45€
    • Business Fare: 60€
    • Flex / Business Flex: Free
  • Cancellation:
    • Express / Classic Fare: Non-refundable
    • Flex Fare: 60€
    • Business Fare: 90€
    • Business Flex: Free
  • Exclusions/Waivers: N/A

Japan Airlines

  • Change Fee: $50 USD (changes depending on country)
  • Domestic Cancellation (Japan):
    • A base charge of ¥430 (~$4 USD) per flight ticket / flight sector will be applicable, plus additional fees per Route Zone and fare types.
    • Before Departure: ¥500-4,000 (~$4-36 USD)
    • After Departure: ¥1,000-12,000 (~$9-107 USD)
  • International Cancellation:
    • $50 USD service fee + fee based on the fare; see terms and conditions at time of booking
  • Exclusions/Waivers: Changes may be made until up to 24 hours before departure.

JetBlue Airlines

Note: These changes apply to tickets booked on or after 8/27/18. For tickets booked prior to this, change fees are similar, however see JetBlues cancellation page.

  • Change Fee (Blue and Blue Plus):
    • $75 for fares under $100 (plus fare difference)
    • $100 for fares $100-$149 (plus fare difference)
    • $150 for fares $150-$199 (plus fare difference)
    • $200 for fares over $200 (plus fare difference)
  • Other Fare Change Fees:
    • Blue Flex: difference in fare only
    • Mint: $200 + difference in fare
  • Same Day Change: $75 (waived for Mosaic members)
  • Cancellation: $75 (up to departure)

Hot Tip: If you are a TrueBlue Mosaic member and traveling with others, you can change or cancel flights for everyone for free.

Korean Air

  • Change Fee: 
    • $50-100 USD (Economy fares)
    • $50-150 USD (First/Prestige fares)
  • Cancellation:
    • 30,000 KRW ($30 USD) service charge is applicable on top of refund penalty
    • Refund Penalty 91+ days: Free
    • Refund Penalty 61-90 days: 30,000 KRW (~$26 USD)
    • Refund Penalty 15-60 days: 50,000-300,000 KRW (~$44-262 USD)
    • Refund Penalty 4-14 days: 60,000-360,000 KRW (~$52-315 USD)
    • Refund Penalty within 3 days: 80,000-450,000 KRW (~$70-394 USD)
    • No-show/Partial Refund: 50,000-300,000 KRW (~$44-262 USD)
    • A 1,000 KRW fee is applied for each one-way for Domestic refunds
    • A 8,000 KRW fee is applied for each one-way for no-show Domestic refunds
  • Exclusions/Waivers: 
    • Fees depend on specific fare type, be sure to check your fare’s terms and conditions
    • Refunds processed 91+ days from departure and originating in Korea are exempt from refund fees.

Norwegian Air

  • Change Fee:
    • LowFare, LowFare+ and Premium: 55€ (100€ for international long haul)
    • Flex and PremiumFlex: Free
    • Changes made by phone or at the airport cost 25€ per person, each way. Changes can be made up to 30 minutes before departure.
  • Cancellation:
    • LowFare, LowFare+ and Premium: Not allowed
    • Flex and PremiumFlex: Free

Ryanair

  • Change Fee: 
    • Online: €35 – €65 (~$40-75 USD)
    • By Phone/Airport: €50 – €95 (~$58-109 USD)
  • Cancellation: Non-refundable
  • Exclusions/Waivers:
    • If you can’t use your outbound flight, you can still use your return flight (no notification necessary).
    • Change fees are per one-way flight, per person. Changes can be made up to 2.5 hours before flight.

Singapore Airlines

  • Change Fee: A $50 USD service charge may apply on top of a change fee per your purchased fare; check your fares terms and conditions
  • Cancellation:
    • Cancellations may only be made on refundable fares; if you cancel a non-refundable fare, only taxes will be refunded.
    • In some cases, a cancellation fee may apply.
  • Exclusions/Waivers:  N/A

Southwest Airlines

  • Domestic Change Fee: free + fare difference
  • Same Day Change: only permitted on Anytime or Business Select tickets and for A-Listers
  • Cancellation: free

Bottom Line: Southwest Airlines makes changing and canceling flights easier than just about any other airline. When you cancel a flight, you will receive a credit to your account. Keep in mind, this credit can only be used by the holder of the original ticket.

Spirit Airlines

  • Change Fee: $90 (online); $100 (phone/in-person); $50 (group booking)
  • Cancellation: $90 (online); $100 (phone/in-person); $50 (group booking)
  • Exclusions/Waivers:
    • If you cancel a ticket through the online system, you will be issued a $10 voucher (per one-way) for a future booking if your ticket is less than the canceled ticket.

Hot Tip: For $35, you can purchase Flight Flex at the time of your booking. You will then be allowed 1 flight modification at no extra cost if done more than 24 hours prior to your flight.

Thai Airways

  • Change fees:
    • Flexi Saver Fare: Minimum charge of $100 and maximum charge of $150
    • Flexi Saver Plus Fare: $100
    • Flexi Fare: $100
    • Full Flex Fare: Free
    • Royal Silk Plus Fare: Free
  • Cancellation fees:
    • Flexi Saver Fare: Minimum charge of $200 and maximum charge of $250
    • Flexi Saver Plus Fare: $100
    • Flexi Fare: $200
    • Full Flex Fare: $100
    • Royal Silk Plus Fare: $100
  • Exclusions/WaiversAfter travel commenses, no refund will be issued. Changes must be made before ticket expiration to the same booking class and within the same seasonality of travel. Any fare changes will also be chargeable. Refunds must be requested no later than 90 days of ticket expiry.

Turkish Airlines

  • Change fees:
    • Economy Promotion Fare: $200
    • Economy Restricted Fare: Reservation and route changes will be permitted for a penalty fee.
    • Economy Flexible Fare: Free
    • Business Promotions Fare: $200
    • Business Restricted Fare: $400
    • Business Flexible Fare: Free
  • Cancellation fees:
    • Economy Promotion Fare: Non-refundable
    • Economy Restricted Fare: Permitted before the flight, subject to defined deductions. After the flight, refunded amount is the cost of the flight taken deducted from the total cost.
    • Economy Flexible Fare: Permitted before the flight, subject to defined deductions. After the flight, the refunded amount is the cost of the flight taken deducted from the total cost.
    • Business Promotions: Non-refundable
    • Business Restricted Fare: $400
    • Flexible Fare: Free

United Airlines

  • Domestic Change Fee: $200
  • International Change Fee: up to $400
  • Same Day Change: $75
    • Waived for Gold, Platinum, and 1k members
  • Cancellation: If you cancel a non-refundable ticket, you may return to the reservation up to a year after the date of issue. Change fees may apply.
  • Exclusions/Waivers:
    • If your departure or arrival time is altered by more than 30 minutes because of a schedule change, you may change your flight at no extra cost or request a refund.

Change and Cancellation Policy by Travel Agency

If you’re booking through an online travel agent, it’s important to be aware of their change and cancellation policies too.

Orbitz

If you book a nonrefundable ticket through Orbitz, you have 24 hours to cancel it without a fee. However, you won’t receive a refund of the Orbitz service fee.

Once you have passed the 24-hour cancellation window, airline change and cancellation fees will apply. Additionally, you will be responsible for a $30 fee paid to Orbitz.

In exceptional circumstances, such as the death of a family member, Orbitz will work with the airline on your behalf to see if the change or cancellation fee can be waived.

To change or cancel a booking with a low-cost carrier, you will have to contact the airline yourself.

Low-Cost Carriers
AirAsiaInterjetTigerair Singapore
easyJetJetstarVivaAerobus
EurowingsNorwegianVolaris
FireflySpirit
FrontierTigerair Australia

Priceline

You have 24 hours to cancel bookings without a fee, but Express Deals are not changeable or refundable.

Beyond 24 hours, all applicable airline change and cancellation fees will apply, plus a $30 service fee will be charged by Priceline.

Bottom Line: When booking with online travel agents like Expedia, Orbitz, and Priceline, remember they will charge you a service fee on top of the airline’s change or cancellation fee if you need to make a change.

Final Thoughts

By now, you can see how vastly different these carrier change and cancellation policies can be. Some are as easy as Southwest Airlines, while others (such as Spirit Airlines) are much more strict.

Hopefully, once you have booked a nonrefundable ticket, you won’t need to make any changes. Your life will be much easier that way!

If for some reason you do need to make a change, you now have all the info you need to prepare.


Like this? Pin it on Pinterest!

Airline Cancellation & Change Fees (Cash Tickets)

FAQ

How do I make a refund request for my refundable ticket?

Call the customer service line of your airline to process your refund. See details above for applicable contact information.

How much time do I have to put in a cancellation request on my airline ticket before I have to pay a fee?

Law requires 24 hours from the time of purchase of an airline ticket to do a full refund without paying any fees, as long as you are booking more than 7 days out.

Spencer Howard

About Spencer Howard

Always a fan of flying, it was only natural that Spencer was drawn to finding a way to improve the travel experience. Like many, he started this journey searching for cheap flights to take him around the world. This was fun for a while, but Spencer was intrigued by the idea of flying in business and first class! Throwing himself into what became an extensive research project, Spencer spent 3-4 hours per night learning everything he could about frequent flyer miles over the course of several months (he thinks this is normal).

Advertisement

The Platinum Card® from American Express

SPECIAL OFFER: Do You Qualify for a 100,000 Welcome Bonus with the Amex Platinum?

=====

Want The Best Lounge Access?

The Amex Platinum is the best card for airport lounge access; no other card even comes close. Get into more than 1,200+ airport lounges across 130 countries including the amazing Centurion lounges.

We get ~$1,500+ in value each year with The Amex Platinum.

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

24 comments

  1. David Webster · November 22, 2018 · Reply

    It seems wrong to me that an airline can keep the fees and service charges added to a non refundable ticket if I have to cancel it. They do not need to pass this on to the airport provider. So they have my money that they would have to spend if I travelled.
    Your advice would be appreciated. I purchased my flight from AA in England so UK law should apply.
    Regards
    David Webster

    • Stephen Au · November 25, 2018 · Reply

      Hi David,

      Unfortunately, your case may be unique. We would suggest seeking guidance from American Airlines in this matter. Sorry to hear that.

  2. Please could you assist me about what the airline means by “penalty apply per transaction”. What do they mean by transaction?

  3. Gary Hoover · December 27, 2018 · Reply

    We purchased airline tickets through Expedia for my wife and myself. I purchased thru Citi cc because of insurance. I had a bad health problem and had to cancel. The two tickets were $1297 they refunded $400 and gave it as a credit balance. Problem is I will not be able to fly again to use the credit. It seems like they really won’t do anything for us. Would Expedia let me us the credit for hotels, or is there any way of them refunding?

    • Hey Gary, you’d need to read the terms and conditions of the refund and how you can use the credit — but I imagine that if you have Expedia credit then you’ll be able to use it for any type of purchase on Expedia. Again though, have a good look at the terms as I’m sure it’ll be stated clearly there for you.

    • Hi.. if I book a round trip for $2400 on Qatar airways and the cancellation fee is $500, if i travel one way and then cancel the other way, would I lose $500 and get back the remaining part of the amount ($1100)?

      Thanks

      • Christine Krzyszton · March 16, 2019 · Reply

        Hello Reddy. We would need more information to answer your question. For example, is the ticket a non-refundable ticket? We also don’t know if the fare classes for each segment are different. One way could be a more expensive fare class than the other. You can view the fare rules when you book your ticket and they will spell out the terms of the fare and how the cancellation fee is applied. In the scenario you mentioned, the best case may be that you receive a credit voucher for $700 (1/2 of $2400 minus the $500 fee) but this is speculation. You could also receive nothing based on the fare rules.

  4. nadia · May 6, 2019 · Reply

    Hi, I booked a multicity trip via Justfly.com. I need to change the date of the first leg but when I called, I was told at first that Brussels Airline was charging $300 for cancellation + $455 for the difference of the price between the two dates + taxes. I was then told that actually, I had to pay $300 per “leg” so 3 x $300 since I was heading to three different cities. I asked why since I was only initially changed one, the first one?

    I called Brussels Airlines directly, which cannot do anything for me since I booked via Just Fly but they confirmed that for the change of the departure flight I should be charged a $300 fee for that first leg and that the difference in the price of the ticket itself was $259…

    I won’t book again on JustFly but in the meantime, I have to call them back to tell them that they gave me the wrong information… Regarding the taxes, since I paid them once when I first booked my multicity flights, is it true that they are allowed to charge me more taxes? And if yes, should it be only on the first leg and not the other two destinations? Thank you.

    • Andrew Kunesh · May 7, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Nadia,

      Sorry to hear about this situation! JustFly should not charge additional airport taxes unless the cities you’re flying between have changed. However, it’s possible that they may be charging sales tax on the change fees. I would check with JustFly to see exactly what taxes they’re charging you for.

      I hope this helps!

  5. Orna H. · May 21, 2019 · Reply

    British Airways charges $275 penalty for changes to the flight… you should update this information.
    Thank you

    • Catherine Luther · May 22, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Orna,

      Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Are you referring to a penalty fee for changing the flight, or was the $275 the difference between the ticket you originally purchased and the price of the flight you changed to? We only state flat transaction fees for changes/cancellation in this article as every situation is different, depending on the type of ticket you have and the cost difference in flight prices for changes.

  6. Hi,

    When you cancel a nonrefundable ticket, do they refund you the fare you paid minus the cancellation fee? I have an international ticket on United and their cancellation fee is 190 Euro per fare rules. It’s not clear if they will charge 190 Euro on top of the fare I paid, or they will keep the 190 Euro and refund me the rest in case I cancel the entire flight before any legs are flown.

    Thanks.

    • Stephen Au · May 23, 2019 · Reply

      Hey NS,

      With United Airlines, a non-refundable ticket means that you will be given a credit minus any cancellation fees. Let’s say you paid 1,000 Euros for the ticket. If the cancellation fee is 190 Euros, you will receive a credit of $810 that is valid for future tickets booked with United Airlines.

      Hope this helps.

      • Ah!! It’s a credit, not a refund, got it! That makes so much sense now. Just wasn’t understanding why on the one hand they said it’s non-refundable, yet there was a cancellation fee. I was assuming non-refundable to mean you forfeit the entire fare! Duh! Thank you!

        • Stephen Au · May 23, 2019 · Reply

          No problem! Remember that most basic economy tickets are entirely nonrefundable and non-cancellable, which means you also won’t get a credit either. Thanks for reading.

  7. Steven · May 23, 2019 · Reply

    I’m looking at a ticket SFO-TPE-HAN, SGN-TPE-SFO on China Airlines. Each of the legs has the same fare rules stating $100 fee to cancel and refund. Does this mean it’s $400 to cancel the whole trip (i.e. $100 per leg x 4 legs), or is it $100 to cancel the whole trip (i.e. the highest penalty listed)? Thanks!

    • Stephen Au · May 23, 2019 · Reply

      Hey Steven,

      If you pay the $100 fee, you will cancel the entire itinerary. You may not cancel just 1 leg of the trip. This is typically against an airline’s contract of carriage, and it leads to something called hidden-city ticketing, which many people have abused in the past.

      If you skip your TPE-HAN leg, for example, the entire rest of your ticket will also be cancelled. The only “segment” that you can technically skip is TPE-SFO, since there are no segments after that. You will not receive any EQMs or redeemable miles for the skipped segment.

      Hope this helps.

  8. Rusty · June 1, 2019 · Reply

    When purchasing refundable airline tickets on American Airlines (aa.com), the site simply says in small print that “cancellation or change, fees may apply”, but American Airlines does not list a fee schedule anywhere. Since purchasing airline tickets is effectively a contract, shouldn’t the airlines be required to disclose the penalty amount(s) before the contract can be made binding? Otherwise, American can simply charge whatever arbitrary fee they feel like for a cancellation or change.

    • Hi Rusty,

      If you have a refundable ticket (full-fare), then there are no cancellation or change fees. Cancellation or change fees only apply to non-refundable tickets.

      • Rusty · June 2, 2019 · Reply

        Hi Jarrod, or anyone else that can help,

        I would love to know where it says that refundable tickets are not subject to cancellation or change fees. Can you point me to that?

        American Airlines wrote, “With regard to your ticket purchase, the original ticket that you purchased was a refundable fare. Most refundable fares will allow a refund or change less the applicable change fee. After reviewing the fare structure of ticket number xxxxxxx, I see that the fare rules state that a $300 fee would be applicable upon making a change, refund or no-show for travel. Since you requested a refund of your original ticket to purchase the lower fare, the $1,990 value less the $300 fee was returned to you on February xx, 2019 in the amount of $1690. Therefore, while I am sorry that we are disappointing you, our position stands that a fee of $300 applies for canceling your ticket and it will not be refunded.”

        I maintain that if airlines are going to charge any kind of fee, that information needs to be disclosed up front along with the amount of any fees. Otherwise the airline can just STEAL whatever amount they want.

        The real kicker is that I cancelled my ticket a full 25 days before I was scheduled to fly, and subsequently purchased the very same ticket minutes later in the identical manner I purchased my original ticket (directly from American Airlines), but for a lower fare — it isn’t like I took my business elsewhere. And, NEVER was I notified that cancelling my ticket would cost me $300 — at least not until AFTER I asked American Airlines why my refund was $300 short! During the ticket purchase process, American Airlines provided me absolutely nothing — I completed the transaction entirely online; they didn’t send me any tickets; there was never any human intervention required; the entire transaction was completed electronically and I was only provided a single e-mail with my itinerary — yet American Airlines STOLE $300 from me when making the refund.

        In contrast, when I cancel an order with Amazon, Wal-Mart, and virtually any other online presence, they happily refund 100% of money paid to them as long as they have not yet shipped my order. And as I said, I cancelled my American Airlines ticket 25 full days before I was scheduled to fly!

        So, I would surely love to know where it is written that refundable tickets are not subject to cancellation or change fees. Any help will be appreciated. Thank you!

        • Hi Rusty,

          I’m sorry you’re going through this, I am sure it is very frustrating. I’ve reached out to our American Airlines expert on the team and he believes the issue lies with the fare class of your ticket, which may be why they have charge you a change fee. Would you be able to share the fare class of the ticket you purchased with us so that we can provide you with more information?

  9. I recently booked reservations with Frontier and they changed our flight time from 6:34pm to 7:53pm changing our arrival time in Orlando from 10:05 to 11:28pm which will simply not work. Their next flight is not until 2 days later plus they changed our flight home by 1.5 hrs which also would not work. Frontier sent me a form to accept the changes which we could not accept so I contacted them. They would not allow us to change our flight and will not refund my money. I filed a dispute of charges with my credit card company and, in the meantime, Frontier canceled my flight reservations and my Den Club membership. They refunded my membership charge and have blocked me from their website. Terrible customer service and I would never fly with them now even if the flights were free. Do you know what rights I have?

    • Hi Dana,

      Did the provide a reason for why your flight was delayed? If it was due to weather-related reasons then it is often difficult to get any sort of refund. Did you purchase “the works” add on to your ticket?

Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

Email needed if you'd like comment updates. It will NOT be published.

Advertiser Disclosure

Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which we receive financial compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). However, the credit card information that we publish has been written by experts who know these products inside out, and what we recommend is what we would (or already) use ourselves. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers that are on the market. For more information on our advertisers, see here.