So you’ve booked a flight, but for one reason or another, you won’t be able to make it.
Getting a refund on your flight might be a challenge, but Skyscanner Australia has gathered the best tips on how to get your plane ticket refunded or changed with as little stress as possible.
The fact is, humans don’t have crystal balls to predict when our travel plans are going to change. Sudden illnesses, family concerns, natural disasters, or even just a change of heart can cause us to cancel our flight.
It’s likely that you didn’t purchase a refundable plane ticket in advance because at the time of booking, you were sure that you’d make this flight.
Fear not, with these tips, you can have a better chance of getting a refunded plane ticket even if you booked a non-refundable fare.
Is your ticket refundable or flexible?
When you purchased your flight ticket, you likely had the option to upgrade to a flexible or refundable option. Go into your booking or call the airline to confirm what type of ticket you’re holding. No matter what type of ticket you have, read your airline’s terms and conditions for flight cancellations. Ticket types often have their own criteria for being refunded or changed.
If you’re a budget savvy traveller, you likely booked the cheapest plane tickets that you could find. While cheap tickets are tricky to refund, not all hope is lost.
Call your airline as soon as possible.
When you know you won’t make your flight, call the airline immediately and ask for customer service. Though many airlines are notorious for being as helpful as a lifejacket during a fire, there are still some airline angels out there who can help you change your ticket or start the process of getting a refund.
First ask for a refund, then pursue a voucher or flight change. Note that the closer you get to your departure date, the harder it is to get a refund.
Many Australian airlines also have a policy where you can change your flight details within the first 24 hours of booking, free of charge. When you know you won’t be boarding that flight, act fast.
When to ask for a flight change vs. flight refund.
If you’re a frequent flyer, a flight change might be a more realistic option than getting a flight refund. Many airlines allow flight changes for a fee plus the cost of the price difference between flights. If you change the dates or destination to a cheaper flight, you can often cover the flight change fee or even get a flight voucher for the excess.
Don’t assume that flight change fees are non-negotiable, sometimes they’re waived if you have a strong argument or buddy up to the customer service agent.
Getting a flight refund is when you have the cost of your flight fully or partially refunded. This is a lot harder to obtain if you’ve purchased a non-refundable ticket, as the airline isn’t going to relinquish those precious dollars easily. For non-refundable tickets, you will almost always receive a flight voucher in lieu of cash.