Navigating the Airline Industry

Refundable or Nonrefundable: Which is Right for You?

The commercial airline industry is highly competitive these days. Major airlines must compete with the several, highly successful “discount” airlines. The difference between a major airline and a smaller discount airline is the typical customer makeup. The major airlines like, Delta, United, and US airways, revolve their flight schedules around the business travelers. This means more first class and business class tickets and several flights on Mondays and Fridays. The discount airlines, such as, Southwest, and Sprint, cater to anyone that wants to fly for the lowest cost.

The Pros vs. The Cons

The big choice to make when you are traveling via the friendly skies is whether to buy a fully refundable ticket or a non-refundable ticket. Both tickets have advantages and disadvantages for the airline and the consumer. Before the major differences are explained, I’ll provide you with a warning that all airlines have their specific policies and procedures. Therefore, you should read your airlines policies so that you understand the specifics.

One big advantage of a fully refundable ticket is the ability to change your travel plans up to 30 minutes prior to your departure for no additional cost. These changes include flying a different time or city without any additional penalties. Also, a fully refundable ticket could be transferred to another passenger at no additional cost. The non-refundable ticket could not be changed or transferred to another passenger without an additional fee. Although all airlines are different, the current industry standard is a $100 fee for each change.

Who Are You, Exactly?

So, which choice is better for the consumer? That really depends on the nature of your trip. Let’s say that you are flying to Miami for the NFL Super Bowl. Well, there hasn’t been a change or cancellation of the Super Bowl since it began many years ago. Therefore, a non-refundable ticket is probably your best bet. How about a business trip to your company’s largest client? That would probably require some flexibility in your schedule, so, a fully refundable ticket would be wise.

Regardless of what type of ticket you buy familiarize yourself with the policies of the airlines you are considering before making a purchase.


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