A Complete Guide to Airline Ticket Hold Policies [Who Allows Them & How They Work]

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When you come across a great deal on a flight but aren’t quite sure if the timeline works for you just yet, having the ability to put the ticket on hold for a certain timeframe can be the perfect fix. That way, you allow yourself time to make any necessary arrangements and can either cancel the ticket or get a refund should those arrangements not work out in the allotted hold time.

While there are many airlines that offer holds on award tickets, you might be surprised to learn that you can also place cash tickets on hold as well, giving travelers some options and time to plan before their purchase is finalized.

DOT 24-Hour Flight Cancellation Rule

Canceled Delayed Flight Board
Image Credit: Air Images via Shutterstock

Luckily for all travelers, federal regulation set by the Department of Transportation requires that airlines must let travelers hold a reservation at the quoted fare for 24 hours without payment, or allow a purchased reservation to be canceled within 24 hours without penalty and with a full refund to the original form of payment.

Further, every airline that operates to, from, and within the U.S. must comply with the DOT’s 24-hour rule. While most carriers don’t offer a ticket hold and instead require payment upfront, they are required to refund you in full should you decide to cancel your ticket within 24 hours of purchase, no matter what type of ticket you’ve purchased.

Hot Tip: The 24-hour clock starts ticking once your ticket purchase has been made, so make sure you are mindful of exactly when the deadline is, or else you will not receive a refund. 

However, you should know that this guide does not apply in all situations. Namely, if you make a reservation less than 7 days before the flight’s departure date, the 24-hour rule does not cover your booking. The rule also only applies to fares purchased directly from an airline, so any tickets purchased from third-party providers like Expedia are not covered.

Airlines and Booking Platforms That Allow Holds Longer Than 24 Hours

Aegean Air

Aegean Air will hold your ticket, and its price, for up to 4 days for domestic flights or 6 days for international flights. To do so, you’ll need to pay a fee of €3 (∼$3.50) for domestic flights and €6 (∼$7) for international flights. The fee is applied per passenger, per segment, and is nonrefundable. However, if you’re booking a ComfortFlex or Business fare, the Hold my Booking service is free of charge.

Hold my Booking is available for flights operated by Aegean (and its subsidiary Olympic Air), and can only be used on flights up to 7 days from departure on domestic tickets and 10 days from departure on international tickets.

Aeroflot

Those flying with Aeroflot can place tickets on hold for up to 48 hours for a flat fee of $14 per reservation, which allows you to put multiple tickets on hold on the same reservation for just 1 low price.

Keep in mind that your booking must be at least 54 hours in advance to qualify, the $14 fee is nonrefundable, and restrictions do apply depending on the booking date and the selected fare.

Air France

Air France business class
Air France business class. Image Credit: Air France

The Air France Time to Think option allows you to guarantee your booking and your rate for up to 3 days. While the fee for the hold will vary based on your destination and cabin of service, there is no fee charged for children under 2 years of age that are flying with you.

When you’re ready to complete your booking, head to the Your bookings section and pay for your ticket before the end of the Time to Think hold. If you do not confirm your purchase, your booking will be automatically canceled at the end of the hold period, but the fee is nonrefundable.

Air New Zealand

The Air New Zealand Fare Hold service allows you to reserve fares for your selected itinerary at the displayed price for up to 3 days for a small service fee. The Fare Hold fee is not refundable, and it is not deducted from the final cost of your ticket. Here is what you can expect to pay based on your ticket:

  • Domestic New Zealand: $10
  • Trans-Tasman and Pacific Island Destinations: $25
  • All Other International Destinations: $45

Fare Hold is only available for Air New Zealand-operated flights booked more than 21 days prior to the date of travel and is not available to those who purchase Works Deluxe fares.

American Airlines

American Airlines does offer up to a 7-day hold period when purchasing a ticket, but there are 2 key elements to keep in mind. The first is that they are only offered on select flights, and you will not know whether or not the flight you are booking offers it until you’ve reached the payment screen. The second is that any holds longer than 24 hours are not free.

American Airlines Hold
Image Credit: American Airlines

Of course, while you do have to pay, the hold fees are reasonably priced given the added flexibility they offer to you. While the exact hold fee can vary based on the flight, in our searches, most hold fees started at $5 for a 3-day hold, $10 for a 5-day hold, and $15 for a 7-day hold. But keep in mind that your hold fee is not refundable should you decide to not complete the booking.

Hot Tip: Not only does a hold help you should you need to cancel your flight within that timeframe, but it also allows you to lock in the fare price if you find a partially good deal and are worried it might increase significantly before you are ready to finalize your booking! 

ANA

The ANA Keep My Fare option lets you hold your reservation and fare details for up to 72 hours before issuing a ticket. This service is only available on ANA-operated flights and Japan domestic codeshare flights.

The fee to use Keep My Fare is $10, and once you book the service your itinerary cannot be changed and refunds cannot be provided.

British Airways

British Airways allows you to hold your flight, and its price, for up to 72 hours. For a hold on short-haul flights, you’ll pay a deposit of £5 ($5/€5) per person, and long-haul flights for £10 ($10/€10) per person. If the price of your ticket goes down, the total price you pay will go down, too. If the ticket goes up while your booking is on hold, British Airways will cover the additional cost for you.

Keep in mind that holds are not available for flights departing within 21 days, and are excluded on select flight destinations.

Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific Airbus A330 Business Class Seat
Cathay Pacific Airbus A330 business class seat. Image Credit: Greg Stone

When booking with Cathay Pacific, you can place your ticket on hold for up to 72 hours before needing to finalize your purchase. You will need to pay a small deposit fee for this service, but the deposit is only charged for bookings not completed within the 72-hour hold window, so if you complete your payment before the hold expires you will not be charged.

Keep in mind that holds are not available for flights departing within 7 days or on flight departures from India.

Hot Tip: If you are a Marco Polo Club member, you can hold your fare without paying a deposit.

Copa Airlines

Copa Air offers a feature called PriceLock that allows you to reserve your fare at its current price and then complete the purchase of your ticket up to 3 or 7 days later.

PriceLock is only available on select tickets, the fees are nonrefundable, and you are required to pay the PriceLock fee for each passenger on the reservation.

Emirates

With Emirates, you can hold your ticket for up to 72 hours by selecting Hold My Fare at checkout. You’ll secure a spot on that flight and won’t have to pay any extra if the fare increases before you book ‑– all you’ll need is your name and booking reference when you’re ready to pay.

Ticket holds are reserved for economy class bookings on Emirates flights, with the exception of flights departing from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Greece, Japan, and Mexico.

EVA Air

eva air plane
Image Credit: EVA Air

EVA Air passengers can place tickets with the airline on hold for up to 72 hours. Like most airlines, the fee you’ll pay will vary depending on your destination and booking class. Ticket holds can only be placed on flights that are more than 7 days from departure, and they cannot be used on flights that do not have a BR flight number.

Hawaiian Airlines

The Hawaiian Airlines Fare-Hold program not only allows you to hold your ticket and flight price, but will also allow you to select a seat to hold for yourself as well.

Holds can be purchased for up to 7 days, are nonrefundable, and must be paid for each passenger on the reservation. You’ll want to make sure you’re booking well in advance, though, because flights cannot be held if your travel occurs within 14 days for Neighbor Island flights, or 21 days for flights to North America or international destinations.

Hopper

If you’re not already familiar, Hopper is a mobile app for iOS and Android devices that aggregates flight price data to help travelers make better decisions about when to purchase flights. Effectively, Hopper uses the data it gathers to predict future flight prices with 95% accuracy, up to 6 months in advance of departure, and will tell a user if they are getting a great deal or should wait for a better price.

Hopper also offers a Price Freeze feature that allows you to “freeze” the price of the flight for a specific duration by paying a small deposit, which will be displayed to you before completing the purchase.

If your purchase Price Freeze and the flight increases after purchasing, your deposit will be applied to the price increase and Hopper will cover the rest up to your maximum refund capacity. If the flight price goes down, you will pay the lower price and your deposit will be deducted from the total fare at checkout. But if you end up booking a different flight, then your deposit will be used towards the alternate flight — keeping you covered in basically any scenario!

Hopper Price Freeze
Image Credit: Hopper

Purchasing Flight Freeze is easy as all you need to do is select it on the flight price prediction page and complete the steps. But keep in mind that if you decide not to book the flight within the Price Freeze expiration date, your deposit is nonrefundable. Also, the frozen flight price is valid only for the number of passengers indicated at the time of purchasing a Price Freeze.

Hot Tip: Hopper includes virtually every major airline through its platform, so booking through the app effectively allows you to circumvent the airline’s usual policy by placing the ticket on hold — even if that is not a service the airline usually allows!

Iberia

You can hold the price of the flight you have booked with Iberia for 72 hours without having to finalize your payment. Not only is the fee quite reasonable at $5 for short- and medium-haul flights and $10 for long-haul flights, but the service charge will be deducted from the final ticket price if you confirm the purchase within the 72-hour window.

In order to place a ticket on hold, you must book at least 5 days before the departure of the first flight, and you must be flying on an Iberia flight (operated by Iberia, Iberia Express, or Air Nostrum) or a codeshare flight with British Airways.

Further, holds can only be placed on flights origination from Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the U.K., and the U.S.

KLM

KLM offers quite a generous hold policy compared to many other carriers. Travelers can choose to hold their ticket, and its current price, for up to 14 days! The hold fee will vary between €10 (∼$11) and €15 (∼$17) per ticket and is nonrefundable.

Before the option period expires, you will receive a reminder at the e-mail address you provided when taking the option. To finalize the reservation, you can follow the link in the e-mail and complete the payment for your ticket. If the option period expires, the reservation will automatically be canceled.

Lufthansa

Those flying with Lufthansa also have the option to reserve a flight for up to 48 hours via the Reservation with Price Guarantee option. If you decide not to book the flight, after 48 hours your reservation with price guarantee will lapse automatically, and you will be charged a one-off fee of €30 (∼$35).

Unlike other carriers, you’ll only need to pay the €30 fee for the entire reservation, instead of per passenger.

Qatar Airways

Qatar, QSuites, 11F & 11E, Boeing 777
Qatar Airways Qsuites. Image Credit: Alex Miller

Qatar Airways allows its passengers to hold a booking, along with a guaranteed ticket price, for up to 72 hours. Holds can be placed up to 4 days prior to departure, with a few destination exceptions that allow for 2 to 3 days prior to departure.

You can place your ticket on hold with Qatar in 3 easy steps:

  1. Select the Hold My Booking payment option when completing your booking.
  2. Select a timeframe and pay the hold fee to reserve your itinerary without immediately paying the price of the ticket.
  3. Complete your payment within your previously selected timeframe online using the My Trips feature.

Hot Tip: Hold My Booking is available for all Qatar Airways-marketed flights, with the exception of flights originating from Brazil and select itineraries that include 1 or more flights operated by a partner airline.

Olympic Air

The hold policy for Olympic Air is identical to its parent airline, Aegean Air. You can place a hold for up to 4 days for domestic flights or 6 days for international flights for a fee of €3 (∼$3.50) for domestic flights and €6 (∼$7) for international flights. Those booking a ComfortFlex or Business fare can place a hold for free.

The hold fee is applied per passenger, per segment, is nonrefundable, and can only be used on flights up to 7 days from departure on domestic tickets and 10 days from departure on international tickets.

Singapore Airlines

The Singapore Airlines Secure My Fare option costs just SG$5 (∼$3.60) to secure your fare for up to 72 hours. However, it is only eligible on flights at least 30 days from the departure date for Premium Economy or economy class tickets and your itinerary must be comprised entirely of flights operated by Singapore Airlines.

Like other airlines, the holding fee is not refundable and is charged on a per passenger, per segment basis.

SWISS Air

SWISS Air will allow customers to place a hold on their ticket, including seat selection, for up to 72 hours for all passengers on the reservation. If you decide not to follow through with the booking, you can cancel within the 72-hour window free of charge for a small hold fee.

The fee for the hold will vary based on your itinerary, and the service is only offered on flights with a SWISS (LX) flight number.

TAP Air Portugal

TAP’s hold program is called Time to Think and allows you to place a ticket on hold for up to 48 hours. Time to Think is only available for reservations made at least 96 hours before the flight departure, and the nonrefundable fee ranges from $7 to $13 based on your flight destination.

Turkish Airlines

Turkish allows travelers to purchase multiple hold options, including a 24-hour hold for a flight departing in 5 to 10 days, or a 1- to 3-day hold for flights departing in more than 10 days. You can also select a 7- or 14-day hold on select flights.

While the price you pay for the hold will vary based on cabin class and destination, those who are Miles&Smiles Classic Plus, Elite, Elite Plus members can use this service free of charge. If you do have to pay the hold fee, though, after ticketing the hold fee will be refunded to you.

United Airlines

United Polaris cabin 787 9 dreamliner
United Polaris cabin 787-9 Dreamliner. Image Credit: Chris Hassan

United offers its proprietary FareLock feature, allowing customers to hold their fare for either 3, 7, or 14 days. The price of your itinerary is guaranteed during the hold period until you decide to complete your purchase.

Like other carriers, FareLock is available on select flights and the fee you’ll pay is based on the flight details and length of the hold. Also, the FareLock service charges are nonrefundable and will not be applied toward the price of your ticket.

WestJet

With WestJet, for a fee of $10 per guest you can hold a fare price for up to 72 hours. You can hold a fare on WestJet flights traveling more than 30 days out as long as the flight is operated by WestJet. The hold fee you pay is nonrefundable, and will not be applied toward the price of your ticket.

Wizz Air

The Wizz Fare Lock service gives the opportunity to hold a selected fare for a period of 48 hours, as long as your flight is more than 7 days away from departure. The Fare Lock fee ranges from $4 to $9 per passenger and per flight and the fee is nonrefundable.

Hot Tip: Unlike other airlines, Wizz Air allows you to use the Fare Lock feature without adding any passenger names to the ticket hold.

Final Thoughts

While there aren’t many airlines that offer holds on tickets for longer than 24 hours, the ones that do present the perfect opportunity for customers by allowing them to lock in the flight price and giving them added flexibility, all for a relatively low fee.

Of course, Hopper is the perfect work-around for those who want a place a ticket on hold with any airline that doesn’t usually offer such a service.

Either way, remember that you always have the 24-hour guaranteed refundability thanks to the DOT requirements, as long as you’ve booked the ticket at least 7 days in advance. So no matter what, if you see an incredibly good fare deal, jump on it and then figure out the details after!


Frequently asked questions

What is the airfare 24-hour rule?

Federal regulation from the Department of Transportation requires every airline that operates to, from, and within the U.S. to allow a purchased reservation to be canceled within 24 hours without penalty and with a full refund to the original form of payment.

Again, this applies to all airlines operating within the U.S., as well as on every ticket type — even basic economy tickets.

What airlines allow holds longer than 24 hours?

The following airlines allow holds longer than 24 hours:

  • Aegean Air
  • Aeroflot
  • Air France
  • Air New Zealand
  • American Airlines
  • ANA
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Copa Airlines
  • Emirates
  • EVA Air
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Iberia
  • KLM
  • Lufthansa
  • Qatar Airways
  • Olympic Air
  • Singapore
  • SWISS Air
  • TAP Air Portugal
  • Turkish Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • WestJet
  • Wizz Air

Additionally, the booking platform Hopper allows you to place holds on any ticket by any airline on its platform. This is a nice workaround for those who want to put a ticket on hold for an airline that usually does not offer holds as an option.

How long can you place an airline ticket on hold?

That will vary from airline to airline. For the most part, eligible airlines will allow for a hold between 3 and 7 days, while United will allow you to place a ticket on hold for as long as 14 days.

Why should you place an airline ticket on hold?

Placing a ticket on hold gives you significantly more flexibility if you aren’t certain about your travel plans just yet. That way, you can pay a small fee to put the ticket on hold, and should you decide that you no longer want to book the ticket, the only cash you are out is the hold fee.

Further, placing a ticket on hold allows you to lock in the current price. This is especially helpful if you find a fantastic flight deal because it allows you to lock in that price with a hold, giving you a few days to decide if the trip will work for you without worrying about the price going back up.

Jarrod West

About Jarrod West

Jarrod first became fascinated with the world of points and miles as the perfect way to visit dream destinations without breaking the bank. On his first major award trip, he spent 3 months traveling through Europe, financed nearly entirely with points; while flying in premium cabins and staying in 5-star hotels along the way. Now, he is on a mission to help others realize their travel goals and upgrade their travel experiences. Jarrod has been writing about credit cards and travel loyalty programs for 4 years, and his work has been featured by Travel and Leisure, Matador Network, Yahoo Finance, and U.S. News.

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