I noticed on Twitter last week that JonNYC, source of all great information on American Airlines, shared a useful improvement for people who have a change of heart after booking flights. You can now cancel your reservation within 24 hours as long as you booked a minimum of two days before departure.
Change to AA 24hr refund policy (new; only 2-day requirement): pic.twitter.com/1hK86KxF6B
— JonNYC (@xJonNYC) May 19, 2017
The free cancellation benefit offered by the Department of Transportation confuses many people. It allows you to cancel most flights within 24 hours of the original reservation and receive a full refund — even if you booked a non-refundable fare. (An airline may also allow you to place a free hold for 24 hours instead of a free cancellation, but I don’t know of any that still do this.)
However, it comes with conditions: the Department of Transportation only extends this protection to people who book at least seven days before departure, and it only applies for flights that touch American soil, where the DoT has jurisdiction. I know of a few people who have booked closer to departure and mistakenly thought they were protected, which can be an expensive mistake since fares close to departure are more expensive.
Some online travel agencies like Expedia or Orbitz still allow a cancellation less when booked less than seven days before departure. American Airlines joins their ranks by allowing a free cancellation as long as you book at least 2 days before departure. You still need to request your cancellation within 24 hours of booking, and any booking fees (e.g., by phone) are nonrefundable.
Thanks to One Mile at a Time for reminding me to write a post about this.
Featured image credit: Glenn Beltz from Goleta, USA (CC BY 2.0) via Wikimedia Commons