Avoid Costly Airline Fees Airlines now get one-fourth of their revenue from sources other than fares, and one of the biggest is a charge of up to $200 to change or cancel a ticket.
The fee galls consumers who find themselves with an unexpected need to change their travel plans. In some cases, the fee is more than the price they paid for the ticket.
When all the receipts are counted, it is likely that consumers paid the airlines more than $3 billion in fees to cancel or change a flight in 2015. That is triple what they paid in change fees in 2007.
Avoiding these hefty fees will take a bit of planning before you book your flight. Once you pay for the ticket, you're at the mercy of the airline. Experts have some tips:
Grace Period– If your flight is at least seven days away, federal regulations require airlines to give passengers 24 hours to change their mind at no cost.
Ticket Types– Refundable tickets cost more, sometimes substantially more, but they might pay off if you have any doubts about your ability to make the trip. Some experienced fliers suggest that you buy two one-way tickets if you can replace either one for less than the change fee on a round-trip ticket.
Time Your Purchase– If you book your flight many months in advance there is a greater chance that a crisis at work or an illness could cause you to miss the trip. Booking ahead of time can be cheaper because fares do rise closer to the flight, but wait until you are as confident as possible that you're actually going to make the trip.