Don't Rebook your Flight, Ask for a Refund: Here's How!

Travel has been hard hit during this global pandemic, and for many of us, myself included, we've had vacations and travel that has had to be canceled. Airlines are hemorrhaging money right now, and their goal is to keep as much money in their operating budget as possible so that they can continue to operate and run as a business once all of this is over and people can get back to travel. But that doesn't mean consumers don't have rights. You know you are entitled to a full refund {even on a non-refundable ticket} if an airline cancels your flight? Here is how you can get the refund that you are entitled to from the airline for your canceled travel plans.

get a refund for a canceled flight

Don't Rebook your Flight, Ask for a Refund: Here's How!

how to get an airline refund for a non refundable ticket

Non-refundable flights are refundable IF your flight is canceled!

I travel a lot and rarely do I buy a refundable airline ticket. They basically double the price of the ticket and when I set off to travel, I travel. If you have a non-refundable airline ticket, don't be in a rush to rebook. 

Sure, for peace of mind, you can cancel your travel plans now and the airline will be happy to help you bank your funds or rebook your tickets for future travel. But why? I'd rather have the money in my pocket! 

I'm going to travel again someday, so why have someone else control my travel options? 

Airlines want you to rebook to a later date or take a credit because they have basically no money coming in right now since most travel has been halted.

But friends, you don't owe them this! Remember the last flight you went on and they charged you $50 to check a bag, $10 for a snack, and $30 for more legroom? 

As your flight gets closer, you'll probably get a text or e-mail from the airline. With the click of a button, you can easily bank a credit for future travel {price and participation may vary...for up to a year...extra fees may occur...}.


According to the US Department of Transportation, you are entitled to a full refund {even during a global pandemic}, if the airline cancels your flight.

Does this mean you can get a full refund for International travel?

Yes! I have requested a full refund for international flights I had booked in early April. {stay tuned...the refund is still processing...}

how to get an airline refund for a non refundable ticket

Want to know how to save money so you can travel the world?

How do I get a full refund for airline travel?

So how do you get the refund you are entitled to? You will have to call and speak to an agent. You can find the customer service phone number on the airline website.

When you call, they will inform you that there is a higher than normal call volume coming in and that you probably be on hold for quite some time. If the airline has their poop in a group, you can drop your number into a queue so you can get a call back instead of listening to tacky elevator music interrupted occasionally with another message from the airline to let you know how very busy they are. 

If you have to wait on hold, remind yourself that it's worth it. We were looking at thousands of dollars for a refund, so my cost to stay on hold per hour was pretty high.

I was expecting my Iceland Air call to take the majority of the morning. I fully expected to have to "fight" for my refund. Neither of which was true.

I received the message that there was a higher than normal call volume and to anticipate at least an hour on hold. It took five minutes for the delightful agent to pick up. She wasn't forthright in sharing the option of a refund. I had to ask for it. She obviously had been instructed to offer a rebooking or a travel voucher. Neither of which put money back in my wallet. 

The airline will need to verify that your flight has been canceled and then will process your refund.

Feeling the pinch? How to live cheap without feeling cheap! 

What you need to make sure you get your airline refund

Make sure that you get a cancelation number with the promise of your refund status. I asked for her to send me this information through email and I also wrote it down as a hard copy for my records. I waited on the phone to make sure I received the email.

how to get an airline refund for a non refundable ticket

When to call the airline for a refund?

Keep an eye on your email for flight notifications. 

If the airline reschedules your flight, but with a significant change, {in an attempt to combine flights}, you may still be eligible for a refund depending on the policy for what constitutes significant change. This varies by airline.

Watch the airline's website within a week of your travel. 

The closer you get to travel, the greater the possibility of your flight being canceled. Most airlines have been canceling flights within a 48-hour window if not more.

Don't let your flight happen without doing something. 

If you wait until after your flight should have happened, you basically waive your rights to any of your potential rights. The best-case scenario, the flight will be credited in your travel wallet on that airline. Worst case scenario, you lost all of your money because you did nothing.

Remember, be kind. The person on the other end of the line is a human who is probably overworked. Know your rights and be firm, but also be respectful and kind. 

Travel will happen again one day. And my prediction is that it will be on a major sale for quite some time, so why not get that money back in your pocket, rather than in theirs so that you can be in control over your future travel and not them. Good luck!

disclaimer: this post may have affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing through them, I may receive a small commission. These small purchases help me to continue to keep writing content and creating at Rachel Teodoro. Thank you!


AK Blogger said...

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