Flight Ticket Cancellation Refund

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Canceling an airline ticket can be an unpleasant and stressful process for every airline passenger, especially if you are not familiar with airline rules and procedures. In this article, we’ll take a look at the main steps you need to take to successfully cancel your ticket, and show you how to avoid possible difficulties and unforeseen expenses.

Passenger Rights

Knowing your rights is crucial when you decide to cancel a flight ticket. So, the most important thing to keep in mind is that, as a passenger, you have a legal right to return at least a part of the ticket price, if you are the one who cancels a flight. And it is possible to do so regardless of the reasons behind this decision.

Now, if you cancel a flight do you get your money back? First, you should know that the tickets consist of three parts:

  • The base fare;
  • Taxes;
  • Fees.

Everyone can get a refund for the two last parts: fees and taxes. And it doesn’t matter if you forget to inform the airline company that you will miss the flight or cancel the flight right before departure. On average, this will be up to 70% of the total price you paid for your ticket. As for the base fare (the actual price of the tickets), it can also be refunded in full if the airline can still resell it and it aligns with the company’s terms and conditions. It is not quite right to call such tickets fully refundable flight tickets. However, passengers can get around 95% of the total price, which is great news!

At the same time, it is worth remembering that the whole procedure of getting a refund can be time-consuming and quite difficult. For that reason, we highly recommend that you speed up the process and seek the services of specialized companies. Qualified specialists can help you get a legal refund faster.

Nonrefundable Tickets vs. Refundable Tickets

Basically, there are nonrefundable and refundable flight tickets. As you may have noticed, many airline companies offer two different fares for the same flight on their sites. And you can decide whether you want to buy a premium ticket (a refundable one) or get a nonrefundable one. Unlike non refundable airline tickets, refundable ones have a higher class price. Yet, buying these, you can be calm about the considerable reimbursement.

If you get a nonrefundable ticket, it is cheaper, and these are extremely common among passengers. You can find this option in various fare classes: economy, business, premium economy classes, etc. However, a nonrefundable option also means you will give up the right to get a reimbursement if you cancel your flight.

Flight Ticket Cancellation Refund

The first thing to remember is that a passenger has a right to cancel the flight at any time before departure and for any reason, according to EU261, the European Union regulation.

This regulation defines common rules on reimbursement and help for passengers in case of a canceled flight, denied boarding, or extended flight delay. It is worth remembering that you can claim compensation from €250 to €600 depending on the delay’s length and the flight’s distance:

EU261 applies to:

  • All flights that depart from a European airport (regardless of the airline company you choose);
  • All flights arriving in the European Union from outside the EU. Important: It is applicable if the airline is an EU carrier.

The compensation size, according to EU261:

  • €250 for flights of up to 1,500 km or less;
  • €400 for flights across the EU territory of above 1,500 km and for all other flights of 1,500-3,500 km;
  • €600 for flights outside the EU of above 3,500 km.

Breakdown of Costs

As it was mentioned before, the base fare, fees, and taxes make up the total ticket price. And as the taxes and fees have nothing to do with the unused flight, you can expect reimbursement for these. According to Judgment C-290/16 issued by the Court of Justice of the European Union on July 6, 2017, airlines must list these elements separately:

  • The base fare (actual ticket cost): the price charged by the airline company for the transportation from point A to point B;
  • Service fees (processing): the ticket’s issue and distribution cost. Important: travel agencies get this instead of commission, starting from 2004;
  • Fees and taxes: costs that the airline company gives to third parties, for instance, the airport. These include security fees, customs, and taxes specific countries impose. Also, the fees presuppose the luggage charge — it is not included in the actual ticket price for low-cost flight companies;
  • Transaction fees: fees for bank transfers;
  • Fuel surcharges: the cost of the aircraft fuel calculated per passenger. In fact, the fuel surcharge should be included in the ticket cost, considering the fact that it won’t be passed on to third parties. However, it deals with the taxes and fees section;
  • Additional fees: personal services, such as serving meals and on-board services.

Refundable Fees

Can you get a refund on a plane ticket when you cancel the ticket? Here is a list of what the airline must reimburse:

  • Airport fees and taxes;
  • Security duties and taxes;
  • Fuel surcharges.

Most of the fees from the list are passed on to third parties, such as airports. All of these must only be refunded when you take the flight. Important: This is also applicable to nonrefundable tickets. While a fuel surcharge is not a tax, and third parties do not handle it, the airline must fully refine its cost, as you are not using the fuel if you are not on a plane.

Keep in mind that some of the amounts are not always refundable:

  • The base fare;
  • Transaction fees.

You can’t claim a refund if the airline’s terms and conditions highlight that the ticket cost will not be reimbursed. If there is no specification regarding this, the airline must provide proof that it couldn’t resell the ticket. You will get 95% of the ticket’s reimbursement if the airline fails to provide evidence. Importantly, the transaction fees from bank transfers when purchasing the ticket won’t be repaid.

Ticket Refund for Canceled or Missed Flight

Unpredictable circumstances can upset you and disrupt your plans considerably. It can be some health condition, an enormous traffic jam on your way to the airport, and many other reasons. If something like this happens, you will naturally ask “can I get my money back if I cancel my flight” or if you miss your flight do you get a refund? Let’s see what can be done.

First, regardless of the reason for the flight cancellation or the time, when you cancel it, the airline must refund the ticket taxes and fees; it is your right as a passenger. It is simple to explain: you didn’t use the flight, so you don’t have to pay for these. Yet, if you miss the outward flight and want to take a return flight, it might be problematic as the airline company may confiscate the entire air ticket. Considering this, we recommend that you check with the airline company if you can travel on the return flight. By doing so, you can ensure there are no misunderstandings on your way back home.

Free Changes and Refunds Within 24 hours of booking

Now, can you refund a plane ticket, and what are the intricacies to remember? And can you cancel a flight within 24 hours or is it too late? For instance, for flights across the United States, the passengers can change their flight or get a reimbursement in case of cancellation within 24 hours of the ticket’s booking. Important: This is applicable only if you have at least seven days left before the departure date.

  • Passengers should be aware that the Department of Transportation foresees protective measures for those who book flight tickets in advance. Suppose you buy the tickets at least seven days before the flight. In that case, the airline company is obliged to offer one of the options: 
  • Passengers can get full reimbursement for a ticket if they buy and cancel the ticket within 1 day (24 hours);
  • Passengers can hold their tickets without paying for 1 day (24 hours).

When wondering, “can I cancel my flight and get a refund” if your travel dates are less than seven days, you should verify this information with the airline company. The thing is, some airlines can allow cancellations in this case, even though federal regulations specify that the tickets must be bought at least 7 days in advance to get a reimbursement.

Important: All the rules mentioned above apply only when you buy a ticket from an airline. On the other hand, offline and online travel agencies don’t follow these regulations. 

Nevertheless, there might be some exceptions, for example, if these institutions decide to adhere to the mentioned regulations. 

Flexible Tickets

When you think you can get a refund for plane tickets, you should also consider the existence of flexible tickets, also known as rebookable flights. So, what are these? When you purchase flexible flights, you are allowed to make some changes to the flight or cancel it. Another name for such tickets is open tickets.

By purchasing these, you can change the dates at least once or cancel the flight at the last minute, and there will be no fee or a much smaller fee compared to regular tickets. It is a perfect option for business trips or spontaneous passengers who require more flexibility in departure dates and times.

Tickets Bought with Miles

It’s crucial to understand that getting a full reimbursement for a ticket is impossible if you think of cancellation if only you have an expensive nonrefundable flight ticket. Nonetheless, using miles or points to book an award ticket gives you a chance to receive a full reimbursement in case you change your plans and decide not to travel.

If you’re considering traveling using airline miles, a bunch of airlines allow passengers to either cancel or change the flight without paying any penalty. However, you will have to pay the difference in fare if the flight you are rebooking costs more miles. Before cancellation, you should specify if your airline charges a fee based on your elite status.

How to Claim Flight Ticket Cancellation Refund

We have covered some information on a flight ticket cancelation refund. And what about the process of claiming your tickets? Basically, there are two ways of doing this. The first one is to get assistance from specialized companies that offer legal services. The second one is to make everything on your own via an airline company. Let’s have a closer look at these two options.

Legal Representation

Out of the two ways to claim a flight ticket cancellation refund, we recommend seeking assistance from our licensed and trusted partners. These companies’ lawyers provide legal services in terms of the protection of passengers’ rights based on the EU261 regulation. You can be sure of our partners’ first-class approach. Based on your individual case, we can select the best service provider, increasing the chance of receiving proper compensation.

Contact the Airline Directly

Another way to get a reimbursement for your tickets is to apply directly to the airline company. You will also need certain documents to provide evidence to the airline company to have the right to do this. Here is a list of the papers for the ticket reimbursement enforcement:

  • A copy of passport or identity card;
  • Booking confirmation or proof of a purchase which indicates the cost of the ticket;
  • Ticket cancellation information (if available);
  • Documented communication with the airline company (if available).

Yet, you should understand that the entire ticket refund-claiming procedure takes time and energy. It is up to you what you choose, of course. However, consider choosing professional help from people who deal with such cases to never puzzle over “can you get a refund on plane tickets” in your life.

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