Some things always happen like get sick, or your boss reschedules your shifts, or your travel buddies change their minds. But in all these cases, airlines allow plenty of provisions for exchanging one airline ticket for another. There are just a couple of catches. You might find yourself stuck with an airline ticket you can no longer use if your travel plans change unexpectedly. Most tickets you are classified as non-refundable. These tickets are cheaper than refundable tickets.
You can turn a non-refundable airline ticket into a full refund, but you might still be able to derive some value in the form of future travel plans by returning it. There are very few chances you can exchange airline tickets or your name for someone else’s on the same ticket. But in some cases, you often have to pay hefty change fees.
- Making Changes Within 24 Hours
Every airline has different ticket change policies, but as US Department of Transportation, you can change or cancel the ticket at least 24 hours after making your reservation at no extra charge. So if you want to exchange itinerary, or even want to cancel your ticket, then you can do it either online or through a customer service representative.
Note: You should always check the fine print in the airline’s booking policy. For example, some airlines have historically allowed you to place a 24-hour hold on the fare without paying but won’t refund your money if you’ve already paid.
- Do It 60 days ahead of time
That 24-hour window long gone? Well, if you still have a couple months or more before departure, consider making that flight change now. Some airlines, including JetBlue and Alaska, will go easier on you for making any changes at least 60 days in advance. Alaska will let you change for free and JetBlue will only charge about half the regular change penalty.
- Buying A Higher Fare Class
Yes, it is true airline tickets come in different fare classes whether you end up seated in economy class or first class. The different fares will be marked either as nonrefundable or flexible. It may be worth booking the flexible ticket if you know your travel plans are likely to change. As someone with a nonrefundable fare, you have to pay more for sitting in the same seat. But you will not have to pay change or cancellation fees when it comes time to exchange your itinerary with a new one.
- Exchanging Nonrefundable Tickets
If you purchased a nonrefundable ticket, then your travel plans may changed. In most cases, airlines will not offer compensation and allow you to cancel the ticket and then apply the money you already spent toward a new ticket. Basically, they exchange the one ticket for the other. But, most airlines also charge a “change fee,” and due to that, you have to pay. If you’re lucky enough to have elite status in the frequent flyer program of the airline, then having change fees waived is a perk. If you have a genuine medical problem or family emergency, the the airline may be compassionate and reduce or waive your change fee as well.
- Other Circumstances
There are a few situations in which airline may cancel your ticket, or put you in a situation where you are entitled to a free exchange because each airline has different policies, which is tend to change over time. But if reschedule flights significantly delay flights or cancel flights entirely, you can usually exchange your tickets for almost any matching itinerary at a higher fare class with no cost.
Note: Your best option to cancel the ticket and applies for the credit or refunded money to a new ticket with the correct name if you exchange your ticket. But not all airlines allow this. If you have a new name, then the airline might be reissuing the ticket for your updated name but they will charge a change fee too.