Can You Refund Plane Tickets? Learn How to Get Plane Ticket Refunds!

It often happens that we need to cancel our flights, whether we’re traveling for business or pleasure. If your travel plans have suddenly changed, you have come to the right place. Read on to find out all you need to know about whether and how you can get a refund on canceled plane tickets.

Do Airlines Refund Tickets?

In case you’re canceling your flight, your first question should be if airlines give out refunds for unused plane tickets. Unfortunately, the answer to this is a bit tricky, but we’ll do our best to break it all down for you.

Refund Policy on Airline Tickets

There is no single policy when it comes to airline tickets and refunds. Whether you can be compensated for your canceled or missed flight depends on the variety of aspects, such as:

  • The country you’re traveling to/from
  • The reason and time of cancelation
  • The airline itself

Generally, in the U.S., airlines will not compensate travelers for unused plane tickets, while in the European Union, the case is a bit different, and travelers have more rights

There is more to this, though, so we need to look deeper into some specifics when it comes to airline refund policies. There are also several useful hacks for canceled plane tickets you should know, especially if you’re a frequent flyer.

U.S. Air Refund Policy

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, airline companies are usually not responsible for canceled flights and are, therefore, not under the obligation to refund your unused ticket. To make things even worse, if you wish to cancel or change your flight, you usually need to pay a change fee, so it’s you who’s losing more money.

There are situations in which you might be eligible for a refund, like:

  1. You bought a refundable plane ticket
  2. The alternate flight doesn’t suit your travel arrangements
  3. You’re canceling your flight within 24 hours of booking

Refundable Plane Tickets

The name itself means that if you bought a refundable fare when booking your flight, you are eligible for a refund. These tickets cost much more than nonrefundable ones, so many people don’t choose this option.

If you bought a nonrefundable ticket, you may contact the airline by phone, email, or letter, and your refund request should be granted.

Alternate Flight Considerably Changes Your Initial Plans

When a company has to cancel the flight you booked, the first step they’ll take is to find you the next best thing. Usually the new flight doesn’t change your travel schedule remarkably, so if you’re arriving at your destination an hour later than you originally planned, you are not eligible for a refund.

If the new flight the airline put you on changes your initial travel plans significantly, you can file a request for a refund

Airline companies have a reputation for keeping this detail from their clients, so make sure to make your request if this happens to you. Chances are you are going to get fully refunded, or you will at least get a schedule change compensation.

Department of Transportation’s Free Cancelation

Under the Department of Transportation’s 24-hour reservation requirement, passengers have the right to cancel their flights within 24 of booking and get fully refunded. It works because the airline company doesn’t actually charge you but rather holds your reservation during those 24 hours. If you cancel your booking within that time frame, you will get your money back and won’t be charged any cancelation fees.

There are three forms of flight refunds:

  • Cash
  • Credit card
  • Travel Coupons

EU Air Refund Policy

In Europe, travelers are better protected in cases of canceled flights. It also doesn’t apply to Europeans only. As an American citizen flying to or from Europe or using a European airline, you are also eligible for refunds on canceled plane tickets.

There are three ways in which passengers are compensated for their canceled flights in the EU:

  • Full or partial refunds
  • Alternate flights
  • Rebooked flights

Full or Partial Refunds

The first thing to understand here is that the cost of plane tickets covers several services. Only one of those costs is the plane ticket cost, called the “base fare,” and the others are taxes, transaction fees, and fuel charges. When you cancel a flight, you are eligible for a refund on all the costs besides the base fare. It often means that you can request and get up to 80% of your money back.

Just be sure to have all the documentation and communication with the company with you when you file your refund request.

Alternate Flights

In case your flight has been canceled, airline companies must find you a different one as soon as possible. Under EU Flight Compensation Regulation, they are obliged to arrange the new flight with the least number of changes to the canceled one. They also take care of the additional costs you may have because of the change, e.g., when you have to change airports.

Rebooked Flights

Similar to the alternate flight, the law in EU states airline companies can and must move your flight to a later date if it suits you better than an immediate rebooking.

Get a Refund for Flights With DoNotPay

We understand you might be even more confused now after reading how refunds on plane tickets can vary according to a number of aspects. In many cases, travelers don’t get refunded because they don’t know their airline passenger rights.

It never hurts to try and request a refund on unused plane tickets, but because the rules and companies are so tricky, your best bet is to go with DoNotPay. No matter which company you booked your flight from, we will do everything in our power to get your refund as quickly as possible. All you need to do is follow these simple steps:

  1. Create an account on DoNotPay using your web browser or iOS
  2. Go to Chargeback Instantly
  3. Give us your flight payment details
  4. Tell us the airline in question
  5. Verify your email and sign your name

DoNotPay will fax your request immediately and send you an email to confirm the completion of your request. We also make sure to collect the evidence on your behalf, so your chances of getting the refund are higher than if you did it manually.

If you want more on airline flight compensation hacks, we’ve got your back. Learn how to deal with canceled or delayed flights by some of the biggest carriers in the U.S., as well as with other common issues with flights:

Delays

Cancelations

Other Issues

Delayed flight compensation hacksCompensation for canceled flightsOverbooked flight compensation
American Airlines delayed flightsAmerican Airlines canceled flightsFlight cancelations due to weather
Delta Airlines flight delaysDelta Airlines flight cancelationUnited Airlines overbooked flights

Refund on Nonrefundable Airline Tickets

As a rule, nonrefundable airline tickets are just that — nonrefundable. There is a reason why they are so inexpensive compared to the refundable ones, after all. With all this being the case, there have been instances when passengers managed to get their money back for their nonrefundable tickets as well. Usually, you just have to be smart, so here are a couple of hacks:

  • Pick companies that don’t impose change fees
  • Don’t change companies often 
  • Request refunds for canceled flights when the company is in fault
  • Keep all your documents
  • Choose DoNotPay to help you out 
  • Keep schedule changes in mind

Airline Company Did You Dirty?

Fox details how DoNotPay makes it easier to fight companies by suing them in small claims court

Sometimes, big companies can trick us out of our money, and there is no shame in that. If you think the airline you traveled with did you dirty, DoNotPay is here for you. We can help you sue any individual or a company in small claims court.

Explore DoNotPay Further

When you see how to sue someone in small claims court or request a plane ticket refund, be sure to check out other benefits of DoNotPay. You can do that by creating an account using any web browser or iOS. We go out of our way to help people deal with issues, big and small, such as: