How to Rebook Your Flight After Price Drops – AFAR Media | Gmx Pharm

Sometime this past spring, I began to get slightly annoyed with booking my family’s fall vacation flights for four people from San Francisco to Raleigh, North Carolina. Reports began to surface that both domestic and international air fares would rise due to the rapid return of travel demand, so I felt that if we wanted to fly anywhere at a reasonable price during a more popular travel season, we had to act quickly.

After an initial sticker shock of finding flights for around $4,500 for all of us who could travel during Thanksgiving, I found much cheaper fares closer to $1,500 when we tinkered with the dates (for example). example to fly on Thanksgiving). “We need to book our flights to North Carolina!” I told my husband whose family we are going to visit.

A few months later we still hadn’t booked the flights, due to the usual combination of communication errors and the need to coordinate holiday requests (aka life) among other things. I went to check on the flights and they had gone up to $3,500. Dismayed and frustrated that I hadn’t just booked them when they were $1,500, I bought the tickets at the new price – two months of hesitation cost us just $2,000 (womp womp).

A few months later, a new twist emerged: flights had gone back down a bit, and I remembered a tip AFAR received from flight offer tracking service Scott’s Cheap Flights earlier this summer about rebooking your flight if the price decreases.

During the pandemic, all major U.S. carriers — Alaska, American, Delta, JetBlue, Hawaiian and United — have abandoned their long-standing change fee policies on all but basic economy fares. (Southwest didn’t charge a change fee before the pandemic either.)

That means flight changes are now much easier and you don’t incur any costs. It used to often not be worth it even if the airfare has gone down because a $200 change fee meant you wouldn’t pay less and could even pay quite a bit more to change a flight to take advantage of a lower fare.

But now, if a fare goes down, you can cancel the flight, get travel credit, and rebook at the lower fare without incurring any fees—as long as you’re not on a Basic Economy fare. You’ll get your money back in flight credits instead of cash, but it’s still worth a try if you think you’ll use the credits within the year they’re expected to expire.

How to rebook your flight when the price drops

Since then I have literally done this protocol Before I write this story, I’m going to walk you through exactly what I did.

1. Book the overpriced flight. (Oops!)

2. Check the fares again days, weeks or months later if you feel you may have overpaid. I booked the Raleigh flights with United on the 5th July and was looking up the fares as of last week so a few weeks later.

3. Browse Google Flights and check the airline’s website to see what fares you can get for both days for the same dates. Or play around with dates if you have some flexibility. In my case, I knew I would stay with United, but I could see the case of rebooking with another airline with heavily discounted fares and simply depositing the credit with the original airline you booked with.

4. When you find that tariffs have dropped, it’s time to pounce. In my case, I saw some United fares as low as $2,600, down from the $3,500 we paid last month.

5. Each airline may be a little different, but I’ll tell you what worked for United. I went to my United booking, but when I tried to simply ‘change’ the flight, United didn’t offer me flight credit to make a change. So instead I canceled the return flight (which had a 50-minute layover in Washington Dulles, which I kicked myself about booking after writing stories about how everyone should pad their layovers). I immediately received flight credit for that flight and then rebooked it at a lower fare (and slightly longer stay) and now have $540 in flight credit (or $135 per family member) in my United account.

6. In hindsight, and with a little more confidence, I should have canceled and rebooked the whole flight for two reasons: 1) The outward flight might have been cheaper as well. I can still repost that part just to find out. 2) After canceling only the round trip, I realized that the single fares may have been higher than the lower round trip fares I had seen online.

7. It definitely worked! I have the lower fare and some flight credits left.

Scott’s Cheap Flights confirmed my strategy. “If you want to rebook your original flight, most airlines obfuscate the process. In many cases, your original flight doesn’t even show up as an option when you click “change,” the deal-tracking site reports. “Instead, you cancel your original flight in return for flight credit and can use it to quickly rebook on the new one [lower] fare.”

Every airline is slightly different, so it’s a good idea to hop around and try a few strategies before committing. For example, I toyed with the option of changing my flight a bit before realizing that canceling and rebooking was my best bet.

Again, note that this option does not apply to basic economy fares, so you should take this into account when booking for the first time. How do you decide whether the cheaper Basic Economy tariff or the potentially cheaper higher tariff is worth it? “If we’re looking for a fare that’s already very cheap, or a flight in a couple of weeks that’s not likely to go down in price, we’d book Basic Economy,” says Scotts Cheap Flights. “If we book a flight six months in advance and the economy fares are only $30 or $40 more, we go for it. In those six months there is ample opportunity to lower the fare and when it does, we want to take advantage of it.”

And of course, don’t forget that the “money” you get back is in the form of flight credit, which will likely need to be used within a year of being issued. So mark your calendar to make sure you don’t lose it because you haven’t used it.

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