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nina May 26th, 2006 07:01 AM

? About airfare cancellations..
I thought I knew a lot about travel but I admit, I don't know the answer to this question so can I get some advice?

I'm seeing some really excellent airfares during prime season to Cancun (we want to go to Tulum), but I'm soooo hesitant to book this early for February because who knows what could happen with hurricane season. Anyhow, if we buy air now, and a hurricane wipes out the caribbean coast of Mexico between now and February, what are our options?

Would trip insurance cover the refund of our airfare? If we don't buy insurance can we change our sirfare to another destination, or are we stuck? If we can change, are the fees expensive (ie, more than the cost of insurance?)


GoTravel May 26th, 2006 07:49 AM

Book and buy travel insurance.

Make sure your travel insurance includes "Acts of God".

wantsomesun May 26th, 2006 07:54 AM

Also check with your travel agent and/or airline. If the unexpected happens, you may have other options you can work on with hotels and your airline, so ask questions before you book the trip and insurance is a really good idea.

TheWeasel May 26th, 2006 08:20 AM

I'm not so sure about the insurance. If the hurricane was raging in February, then sure, it should be covered. But I wouldn't bet that insurance will cover a trip that takes place several months after a disaster. I would think that as long as the airport is open and you could find a hotel, you would not be able to cancel due to a hurricane that happened in the past.

You'd have to read the really fine print to make sure because trip insurance is designed to make the insurance company money, not protect the traveller.

crefloors May 26th, 2006 08:34 AM

There are some policies that cover just about any reason for canceling a trip. You could say you are ill or some other thing. I know, I'm going to be "struck down" for encouraging lying..just make sure you know what insurance you are buying and buy it at the time you book your trip or buy your ticket. Some policies are useless if you don't buy them immediately. Read the fine print.

FainaAgain May 26th, 2006 09:15 AM

Let me piggy-back on your question... if I want to cancel air reservation without a valid reason, can I use the money (or miles) toward another flight?

caribtraveler May 26th, 2006 09:29 AM

Assuming you're talking about a non-refundable ticket, yes you can change your destination. The airline will just charge you a change fee. It's usally $100 but I think it varies by airline. If you're not sure where you want to go, they can mail you a credit voucher minus the change fee. If I remember correctly, you usually have to use that credit voucher within a year. The best thing to do is to check with the airline you'll be flying for their own rules. I'm going by my experience with Continental Airlines.

caribtraveler May 26th, 2006 09:30 AM

Actually now that I think about it... I think Continental gave me a credit voucher for the entire amount and charged my credit card the change fee.

AAFrequentFlyer May 26th, 2006 09:39 AM

I'm not disputing <b>caribtraveler's</b> experience, but as far as I know, no airline will give you a voucher for cancelled non-refundable ticket. What they will do is hold the value, minus the change fee of the ticket for a year so only the traveler can use it for another ticket. If they did give vouchers out then it really wouldn't be a non-refundable ticket, would it?

FainaAgain May 26th, 2006 09:41 AM

Oh, so doesn't matter what, I won't lose all my money if I travel within a year! Good to know!

BeachBoi May 26th, 2006 09:44 AM

Faina..I assume you are talking about a domestic airline ticket,non refundable.These days, there is no &quot;valid&quot; reason to cancel.So if you choose to cancel, you can use the monies in that ticket,less the change fee,for future travel.In most cases,all travel must be completed within a year of when the original ticket was issued.So, if you buy a ticket today, May 26, then all travel associated with that ticket must be completed by one year from today, not one year from the date any voucher were to be issued.Hope this helps!

FainaAgain May 26th, 2006 09:46 AM

Thank you, BeachBoi, yes, this is what I meant, only why &quot;domestic&quot;? If I cancel an AA flight to London, is this different from cancelling a flight to New York?

AAFrequentFlyer May 26th, 2006 09:47 AM

yes, but if you are dealing with AA make sure you write down the <b>ticket number</b>, not the record locator. Record locators get recycled as soon as the flight is done or if you cancel. There is no way for the airline to locate your credit without the ticket number.

AAFrequentFlyer May 26th, 2006 09:50 AM

The only difference between domestic or international? a bigger cancellation fee.

and again, there won't issue any vouchers......

The credit will be stored electronically and you MUST have the original ticket NUMBER, no ifs buts ors.....

TheWeasel May 26th, 2006 10:04 AM

I know this is a minor point regarding Faina's question, but it's not entirely accurate to say that airlines hold the value of the cancelled ticket, minus the change fee. That may be the policy with some, but not all.

I cancelled a ticked on America West/USAirways, and I was specifically told the change fee was NOT taken out of the original $432 cost of the ticket. Instead, when I decide to rebook, I will pay the change fee, and my original $432 will be applied to the cost of the new ticket. If the new ticket is less than $432, that's my loss (plus the change fee). That's different from saying they'll subtract $100 or $50 from my original $432, leaving me with either $332 or $372 to use towards a new ticket.

AAFrequentFlyer May 26th, 2006 10:07 AM

<b>Faina</b> was asking about AA :-)

TheWeasel May 26th, 2006 10:12 AM

Actually, she didn't mention AA until after the relevant advice had been given regarding change fees and credit vs. vouchers. :)

BeachBoi May 26th, 2006 10:16 AM

Ahhh, yet another be-u-teeful thing about Southwest...You dont have to cancel your ticket in advance...and, anybody can use the credit from an unsed/cancelled ticket...AND, NO change fee......But, alas, I dont fly them that much....

FainaAgain May 26th, 2006 11:02 AM

Actually, I used AA as an example, and my question was about any airline...

Just checking my theory that it's not really necessary nor much cheaper to buy travel insurance (assuming the health coverage is worldwide) if not using the Priceline.

esm May 26th, 2006 11:34 AM

We had to cancel our trip to Israel (on Continental).

We didn't buy insurance and when I called Continental they told me there's $200 fee per ticket and the rest is credited towards a future trip. I was told I had to &quot;buy&quot; the new ticket by the issue date of the original ones but had a year to travel from the new date. They also told me they'll waive the fee when I send them proof of the reason for cancellation (death of close family).

AAFF, my tickets were electronic. How do I get a ticket number? Should I call and request before the date of original flight (tomorrow)?

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