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This is a pretty crazy time. And if you are like us and have had to cancel and reschedule some trips recently among many airlines, you’re probably wondering how to change your flight.
We wondered the same thing. So, after a lot of research, and going through the process of changing and canceling flights ourselves, we decided to write up a guide all about how to change your flight.
Let’s break down most of the US airline policies for cancelations and changes both in regards to the normal course of business as well as right now.
How to Change Your Flight
Let’s talk about how much does it cost to change your flight as well as how to change your flight with many of the US’s popular airlines. Note that these are basic rules, please refer to individual airline websites for full details on their change and cancelation policies in depth.
How to Change Your Flight on Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines Cancellation Policy:
You can get a refund on your Alaska Airlines flight booked through them as long as it is not a Saver Fare ticket. If you purchased a Saver ticket, then it is only refundable within 24 hours of booking. Also, they do not offer refunds for government fares, longer than a year since the original ticket was purchased, a group or vacation package booking, and tickets with an unaccompanied minor. Purchases must also be in USD for a refund.
Fees of $125 apply unless you have elite status (Alaska MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75k Travelers) or are flying first class on a refundable ticket.
Also, for award tickets, cancellation requires a $125 fee to redeposit miles back into your account. This is waived for Alaska MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75k Travelers.
Refer to their refund policy for more details and exceptions.
Alaska Airlines Change Policy:
You can change your flight within 24 hours of booking without any fees. After this, Saver Fares are not allowed to be changed. Other tickets incur a $125 change fee for a flight change. Alaska MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75k Travelers will have this fee waived as well as those traveling on first-class refundable tickets.
Alaska Airlines Current Policy During Crisis:
No change or cancellation fees for tickets purchased on/before February 26, 2020, for travel through the end of 2020. No change or cancellation fees for tickets purchased between 2/27-5/31/2020. Travel must be one year from the original travel date, for changed tickets. This also includes non-refundable tickets purchased in these time frames.
Canceled trips will result in a deposit of funds into your My Account wallet or credit certificate to use for future travel. For award tickets, your miles will be redeposited in your account. Please refer to their page regarding this for more details.
How to Modify Your Flight on Alaska Airlines:
You can change and cancel your flight online under their Manage tab by entering your last name and the e-ticket or confirmation number. If you have Mileage Plan, you can log in to see and modify your flight. You can also call Alaska Airlines for further assistance or if you have issues modifying your flight.
How to Change Your Flight on American Airlines
American Airlines Cancellation Policy:
You can cancel for a refund if you purchased a refundable ticket. Also, you can cancel within 24 hours after purchasing a ticket for a refund on any ticket purchased. Non-refundable tickets are only refundable within the first 24 hours of purchase, death of person traveling and/or a traveling companion, schedule change of 61 minutes or more, or military orders.
However, depending on fare rules, you can cancel your non-refundable ticket and use the value for a future ticket as long as the trip begins within a year of the original ticket issue date and you have canceled the original ticket prior to the first flight. You will incur a $200 fee for domestic flights or $750 for international flights for this. Basic Economy flights cannot be canceled for any refund.
For those with a refundable ticket, you can request a refund online or by telephone. Please see AA’s website for more details on their cancelation policy.
When it comes to award flights, you’ll have to pay $150 to reinstate your miles to your account unless if you are an AAdvantage Executive Platinum member. However, additional award tickets reinstated at the same time will be $25 each.
American Airlines Change Policy:
AA is notorious for charging higher fees for changing your flight unless if you have a flexible ticket. For changing your flight, expect to pay $200 for a domestic flight and up to $750 for an international flight.
For award tickets, to change your flight, expect to fork over $150, but this is waived for AAdvantage Executive Platinum members.
American Airlines Current Policy During Crisis:
No change fees if purchased a ticket before May 31, 2020, for travel through the end of September. Also, if you book your trip on March 1-May 31, 2020, for all future travel, you can change your reservation without any fees. Refer to their site for more information.
How to Change Your Flight on American Airlines:
You can cancel your flight online on Plan Travel–>Your Trips. It will have you log-in if you are an AAdvantage member, or you can look up your trip with your first/last name and confirmation number. Then, you can hit the Cancel Trip button and confirm. They do require you to call to reinstate miles or reschedule your flight.
How to Change Your Flight on Delta Airlines
Cancellation Policy for Delta:
Cancellations are accepted for all tickets within the first 24 hours of booking and you will receive a refund. After that, Basic Fares are unable to be canceled or changed. For non-refundable tickets, you will be issued the remaining value as an eCredit minus a $200-500 cancelation fee. This depends on flights. Refundable tickets may be refunded at any time.
Check Delta’s policies on changing and canceling flights.
Change Policy for Delta:
Flight changes may be made within 24 hours of booking for all tickets without a fee. Basic Fares cannot be changed, non-refundable fares can be changed for $200 for domestic flights and between $200-500 for international flights. Refundable tickets can be changed at no cost.
For award tickets, you must cancel or change your flight 72 hours beforehand. There is a $150 reissue/reinstate fee unless if you are a Diamond or Platinum Medallion member.
Delta Current Policy During Crisis:
For flights booked prior to April 17 for travel through September 30, you can change your flight without fees or cancel your ticket and the value can be used as an eCredit for future travel. Any tickets purchased between March-May can be changed without a fee for up to a year from the date of purchase. If you purchased a ticket for travel from April through September, you can change without a fee for two years until September 30, 2022.
Plus, for flights from now until September 30, you can change your flight without a fare difference as long as the destination is the same.
For more information, refer to Delta’s website.
How to Change Flight on Delta:
Delta makes changing or canceling online super easy. Just go to Manage My Trips –>Enter Confirmation Number/Credit Card/Ticket Number and first and last name to bring it up. Also, if you have a Delta Skymiles account, you can find your trips when you log in. Select the trip you wish you cancel or change, and under Trip Details, you can choose to modify.
For more questions, you can contact Delta Reservations.
How to Change Your Flight on JetBlue
Cancelation/Change Policy for JetBlue:
You cannot change or cancel Blue Basic Fares. You can cancel or change your flight with JetBlue for the following fees:
- Blue & Blue Plus:
- $75 for fares up to $99
- $100 for fares up to $149
- $150 for fares up to $199
- $200 for fares $200+
- Mint is a $200 change or cancel fee
- Free for Blue Extra tickets
- All fees waived if a JetBlue Mosaic elite member
These fees also apply to award flights canceled/changed less than 60 days prior to departure. It is $75 if more than 60 days. Check JetBlue’s page for more details on fees.
JetBlue Current Policy During Crisis:
All cancelation and change fees are waived for flights from now until January 4, 2021. Original travel must have been booked on or before May 31, 2020.
Please refer to their page for more details. This also includes award tickets.
How to Change Your Flight on JetBlue:
You can make changes to your reservation by going to JetBlue’s homepage and clicking on My Trips. Click Manage Trips and enter your confirmation number and last name. From there you can modify your reservation. For assistance, contact JetBlue.
How to Change Your Flight on Southwest
Southwest Cancelation/Change Policy:
God bless Southwest. One of the reasons they are my favorite US airline is that they don’t charge change fees…ever. So no worries if you have to change your trip, they’ve got you covered.
You can cancel your flight for a refund if you purchased a refundable ticket, canceled a ticket within 24 hours of booking, or you can submit a request for a refund. Not all tickets are refundable.
All award tickets can be changed and canceled without a fee to reinstate miles.
In light of current events, all tickets can be canceled and the funds can be used for future travel as long as you cancel 10 minutes prior to your flight. The funds are valid for a year from the original purchase date.
However, they are extending the expiration date of funds to the following:
- If funds expire between March 1-September 7, 2020, they will now expire on September 7, 2022.
- Any funds created due to a cancellation between March 1-September 7, 2020 will also expire on September 7, 2022.
Plus, any travel planned through the end of April can be changed up to 60 days without having to pay a fare difference as long as the origin and destination are the same.
Refer to their page for more details.
How to Change Your Flight on Southwest:
On the Southwest main page, go to Flight | Hotel | Car | Vacations –>Click on Manage Reservations under the Flight tab. Enter the confirmation number and first and last name, and then you can choose to cancel or change your flight. You can also log in if you are a Rapid Rewards member, go to Upcoming Trips, and select the trip and choose to cancel or modify.
For additional assistance, contact Southwest’s customer service.
How to Change Your Flight on United Airlines
United Airlines Cancelation Policy:
All tickets can be refunded if canceled within 24 hours of purchase. Basic Economy flights will not be given a refund. For non-refundable tickets, you can cancel the reservation and make changes to that trip up to one year from the date of issue. This could incur a change fee (below). Refundable fares can be refunded.
For award flights, you will incur a redeposit fee of $75 for any Mileage Plus member, $50 for Premier Silver, $25 for Premier Gold, and no fees for Premier Platinum and Premier 1k members. This is if you cancel 61 or more days prior to departure. If you cancel under that time frame, expect to pay $125, $100, $75, $50, and none for Premier 1k members, respectively. A no-show redeposit fee is $125 for everyone.
Refer to United’s website for more details on their policies.
United Airlines Change Policy:
Basic Economy cannot be changed 24 hours after purchase. Other tickets are eligible for changes subject to a change fee of $200 for domestic flights or $400+ on international flights.
For award flights, the same fees are incurred as cancelations to redeposit your miles.
United Airlines Current Policy During Crisis:
All change fees are waived on tickets issued on or before March 2, 2020, for travel between March 3-May 31, 2020. New tickets must be reissued within 24 months from the original ticket date and travel must commence within 24 months from the original ticket issue date.
Any tickets booked on or before March 2, 2020, for travel from June 1-December 31, 2020, can change or cancel prior to the end of May 31, 2020, and rebooked travel must happen within 24 months of the original ticket issue date.
Also, any flights booked until May 31, 2020, can be changed at no cost for the next 12 months.
You can also cancel your trip now and use the value to rebook your trip later without change fees.
For award tickets, you can cancel or change your flight. At this time, it appears that you may still have to pay to reinstate your miles. Refer to United’s update as this continues.
How to Change Your Flight on United:
Go to United’s website and click on My Trips. You enter your last name and confirmation number and it will take you to your trip. From there you can make changes or cancel. You can also access your trips as a Mileage Plus member by logging in. If you need assistance, contact United.
Pro-Tips on Changing Your Flight:
Now that you know how to change a flight ticket, here are some extra tips!
- Most of the time, expect to pay a fare difference on top of change fees.
- Canceling or changing within 24 hours of purchase is applicable for almost all flights for no fees.
- If you have a higher elite status, many airlines will waive fees.
- Understand change and cancelation policies before buying and compare that amongst airlines.
- Base fares are typically non-refundable and can’t be changed. Consider this before purchasing.
- If you have a good reason (i.e. military service, death of a loved one, hospitalization) many airlines will work with you. They deal with this on a case by case basis so it helps to call.
- Consider travel insurance. If you get sick while traveling or before your trip, you can file a claim if your airline will not cancel or change your trip.
- If you booked your trip via a travel agent or travel booking service (i.e. Cheap O Air), you’ll need to contact them directly instead of the airline.
- Lastly, during this time, please avoid calling airlines if your flight is more than 72 hours away. They are super backed up now with crazy long wait times. Also, see if you can change or cancel your flight online first before calling.
Reader Questions in Regards to Changing Your Flight In Light of Current Situation
While flight change policies will definitely go back to normal after this crisis, here are reader questions in light of current events. Please see the above for specific policies for this situation under each cancelation/change policy.
Will airlines allow me to cancel & refund due to the crisis even if I didn’t purchase trip insurance?
Can you cancel your trip? Definitely! Many airlines are allowing (and definitely encouraging) you to cancel online. As far as a refund… that’s where things get tricky. Most airlines are encouraging you to rebook your travel instead if you paid cash. Delta is currently offering an option to give you eCredit for a future flight, United is encouraging rebooking by waiving change fees on tickets, as is American Airlines. Please see above for what dates qualify for rebooking/canceling.
For those trips booked using miles, I had no issues getting the miles reinstated. Delta automatically did it, American Airlines makes you call to reinstate, and United still has a fee for reinstating miles based on your status with them. We were also refunded all of our taxes and fees from American Airlines and Delta.
Has anyone had experience using a credit card’s travel insurance getting a refund?
We personally didn’t need to use it, as we didn’t have any issues getting our miles back and hotels/Airbnbs to refund us for the dates we were traveling. Before filing a claim, I recommend checking with your airline and hotel first to see if they are waiving change fees or allowing you to cancel for a full refund.
If this doesn’t work, then go to your travel insurance. Most travel insurance doesn’t cover trip cancelation due to cautiousness or events being canceled. Is it worth it to call and see if they will cover your refund? Potentially, but only if you purchased your trip on the card.
Is it better to cancel a flight and rebook from scratch later if I don’t know a new travel date yet?
Short answer: yes. Many airlines, such as American Airlines, Delta, and United, will allow you to cancel online or on their app. From our experience, Delta was really easy to cancel online and they automatically refunded our credit card for the taxes and fees and reinstated our airline miles.
American Airlines, on the other hand, we were able to cancel our trip online, but we had to call in order to get our miles reinstated and fees refunded. Per the American Airline’s website, they recommend canceling online and calling back later on when you are ready to rebook.
All three airlines, plus many more mentioned above, are waiving change fees so you can cancel now, keep a record of your old flight and cancellation, and either call back or go online to reschedule your trip.
I booked a basic economy ticket on United and we are on lockdown. Will they let me cancel?
Yes, they will allow you to cancel, but they are encouraging you to rebook within a certain time frame. If you have more questions, be sure to call within 72 hours of your original flight time and ask if they can either give you a refund or credit for future travel if you can no longer go on that trip.
I know it can get super messy and complicated when it comes to changing or canceling a flight. I hope this clears up a lot of that confusion for you when planning your trips!
Have more questions? Let us know in the comments!
Need ideas for a staycation? Check these posts out!
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Tuesday 28th of April 2020
I just read your article on how to change or cancel your flight. Our family purchased tickets with United Airlines 10/2019 for a March 14th, 2020, trip to Maui. When I called approximately 5 days before our departure, I asked the Group Bookings Dept. Agent if we could please reschedule, I informed her that we were traveling with 4 small children, and we were very nervous about being so far from home with all that was happening with the CoronaVirus. Absolutely No, that our 14 tickets were non refundable was her response to my question. The flights to and from our destination were complete nightmares. Missed connecting flights due to delays, cancellations for flights home. We ended up having to end our trip a day early because there was only 1 flight in our direction home.
Tuesday 28th of April 2020
I'm so sorry you had to go through that. That sounds terrible, and it sucks as that travel time frame was caught in the middle of no refunds for fear of travel (which is BS) and total lockdowns/cancellations galore. I see that now United is making requesting refunds easier via this link: https://www.united.com/en/us/refunds. It couldn't hurt to contact them again to see what they can do to compensate for all of the delays/cancellations. Also, did you purchase your flights/hotels with a premium credit card like Chase Sapphire Reserve or Amex Platinum? If so, they may be able to help a little, and it would be worth reaching out to them too. This is a bad time and I'm so sorry about your trip and the stress that must've caused. I hope you're able to recoup those funds from United or at least get credit for future travel.