One of the most frustrating parts of travel is seeing the tickets you purchased in advance drop in price just before your departure. Overpaying for something that others have paid significantly less for can leave you feeling cheated. The good news is that there is a way to get a refund if your plane ticket price goes down.
Monitor airline and travel sites to find your tickets at a lower rate. In order to be eligible for a refund, the lower rate you find must match your ticket in every way, from the flight number to the seat and cabin categories. Check the specifics of each ticket offer to make sure you have a perfect match. If one detail is different, the lower rate will not be honored. Note where the offer can be found so that you can notify the airline when you contact them for a refund.
Contact your airline within 24 hours of purchasing tickets to obtain a refund for the difference if ticket prices have dropped. The first 24 hours is the best time to get a refund on refundable and nonrefundable tickets alike. Call the customer service number for the airline in question or visit a ticketing office and explain that you found a lower rate for your tickets within the first 24 hours. Provide the details of your discovery and the airline should not charge any fees for the service because you booked and re-booked on the same day within the industry-wide grace period for ticket changes. Either a cash refund or a future flight voucher will be issued for the difference.
Contact your airline customer-service department by telephone or visit a ticketing office if you notice a lower fare for the same flight and seat category anytime after 24 hours has passed since the time of purchase and before the flight has departed. Request a refund for the difference in price and ask what the penalties are for making the change. If your ticket was purchased as nonrefundable, charges will likely apply for the change. If your ticket is refundable, the change will likely be made free of charge, but the refund will be issued in credit toward your next flight.
- Plan ahead and purchase tickets from an airline that does not charge for ticket refund or itinerary changes. Should the ticket prices drop over time, there won't be any unexpected fees to deal with. Some airlines also offer refundable tickets, which tend to cost more than nonrefundable tickets, but eliminate future charges for changes to your trip.
- Check the expiration dates on your ticket voucher. Use the credit on time or it will disappear.
- Even if your airline offers refunds for ticket price differences, there may be prohibitive fees involved that make the process a net negative anyway. The range for reissued tickets runs from about $75 for domestic travel to more than $150 for international carriers and flights. In some cases, the fees charged to change your ticket can be more than the money you would save.
Robert Morello has an extensive travel, marketing and business background. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University in 2002 and has worked in travel as a guide, corporate senior marketing and product manager and travel consultant/expert. Morello is a professional writer and adjunct professor of travel and tourism.