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Some sudden change in plans, or even a slight alteration can lead to canceling flight. But the struggle is real! Your mind is bombarded with so many questions. Like if we can cancel within what time period. What are the rules of cancellation? How is the refund initiation process going to work? And so many other thoughts that just make this complicated.

Well, relax. We understand your issues and have listed down all the things you need to know about how to cancel your flight. Flight cancellations will not seem tedious any more. Before making any flight bookings, you must know the rules for cancellations and must have a copy of it in hand when you call the airline. The airlines have different cancellation rules and one must confirm with the airline directly also before making the booking or initiating a cancellation.

The 24-hour Cancellation Policy

Though there is no universal policy in place for airline cancellations, one thing that will work to your advantage is the 24-hour cancellation policy. The Department of Transportation (DOT) in the US allows a person to cancel a non-refundable booking made a week in advance from the departure date, if the cancellation is initiated within 24 hours of making the booking. The airline will not deduct any cancellation charges in such cases. This rule is applicable for all bookings made directly with the airlines operating in the US whether located in the country or outside. You can reach out to the airline or the travel agent.

For Booking made through Miles

If you’ve paid your airline fare through the miles earned by flying with the airline previously or by using your credit card with the airline’s program, different cancellation rules will apply to your booking. You must call the airline to check their rules in such a case. Different airlines treat these cases diversely such as in case of Southwest Airlines, the airline credits the miles back into your account upon cancellation whereas the American Airlines, requires one to pay a fee of $150 to get the miles credited back in the account.

Case of Involuntary Refunds

As per the contract of carriage which is automatically initiated upon purchase of an airline ticket, the airline is obligated to transfer you to your destination. Any problems or situations hampering the transfer or delaying it significantly can result in a cancellation and will make you eligible for a full refund. In case the airline cancels the flight, or the flight is delayed by a large extent or if there’s a schedule change in advance or a route change, you can claim for a full refund cancellation, even if your ticket is non-refundable. The airline cannot keep you on a plane without your consent for more than three hours, on a domestic flight or four hours, on an international flight. Some airlines also provide hotel accommodation, meals, or a substitute flight in such cases.

On the other hand, in case a domestic flight is delayed by one or two hours and an international one is delayed between one and four hours of the original time of arrival at destination, you are entitled for a compensation of 200% of the one-way fare, up to $675. For domestic flights, arriving even later than two hours, the airline will compensate 400% of one-way fare in cash, up to $1,350.

Upon Death or Illness

In most cases neither death nor illness can result in a refunded cancellation, but the airlines might treat some cases separately hence, it is best to check directly with them. Some airlines do allow cancellations in case of demise of the passenger’s travel companion or any immediate family member. The cancellation policy is subject to certain terms and conditions including the presentation of a death certificate. For example, Spirit Airlines sometimes refunds the money to the passenger in case of own or travel companion’s death provided that no part of the ticket has been used. Not all airlines but some also review cases where a passenger falls ill before the flight departure. It is best to opt for travel insurance to cover such cases.

Apart from the things above, CheapFareGuru highly recommends to thoroughly read all cancellation policies and check with the airline directly before booking a flight or upon initiating a cancellation request.

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