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Airlines Cancellation Fees

When we’re planning for a trip, unforeseeable changes may occur and we end having to cancel our trip. Making modifications to an itinerary can be very costly, sometimes as much as a short-haul ticket and we have no way but to pay it. In this post, we will talk about cancellation fees and how to avoid them.

List of Airlines and Cancellation Fees

Below is a list of just some airlines and their cancellation fees:

Airlines/Loyalty Program Cancellation Fee
Aeroplan $90.00 CAD
Air Canada $75.00 CAD
United Airlines $200.00 US
Delta $200.00 US
US Airways $200.00 US
Southwest $0
Alaska Airlines $100
WestJet $75-88.50
Porter Airlines Up to $75.00 (Firm Fare)
Up to $50.00 (Flexible Fare)
Air Transat $75.00 CAD (Tickets within Canada)
$200.00 CAD (Tickets betn Can and US)
$150.00 CAD(Tickets betn Can and Europe)
$300.00 CAD (1-Way Flights Only)
Air China 10% of Fare Charge (First, Business, or Economy)
30% of Fare Charge (Discounted Economy Class)
Cathay Pacific $200 CAD
China Eastern Airlines 10% of Fare Charge
All Nippon Airways Amt Equivalent to 60% of fare (13 Days before Departure)
Amt Equivalent to 100% of fare (After Departure)
British Airways $50 to 150 US
Sunwing Airlines 250 (Cancelled 45 Days before Departure)
No changes permitted (Sunwing Flex Packages)

You can see that cancellation fees vary quite a bit for different airlines. Air Canada charges $150 CAD for non-award tickets, $75 for award tickets while an airline like Sunwing charges $250 CAD for their cancellations. This is really dependent on the airline and how they want to price this.

However, you may not always end up having to pay the full cancellation fee under some circumstances. There are ways to avoid a cancellation fee:

Purchase a Flexible Fare

If you can purchase one, you should. Purchasing a flexible fare ticket allows you to make modifications to your flight. It also depends on whether you have purchased a “refundable” versus “non-refundable” ticket. Also, if you purchase from a different cabin, you can avoid the cancellation fee as most flight changes are done free of charge if you have purchases a first class or business class ticket.

Make Changes 60 Days Ahead

Some airlines will allow you to make modifications 60 days before your date of departure all free of charge. Other airlines may penalize you a smaller charge fee for those modifications.

24 Hour Change

After you have booked your flight, generally you have a 24 hour window to make variations to your flight itinerary. This method may not work for everyone as we don’t usually know within 24 hours of our booking that our plans will not work out. But if you have regrets after you book, you still have a chance to avoid that hefty cancellation fee.

Elite Status

Some airline elite statuses offer a perk where they waive the cancellation fee. Most status holders will have a threshold when dealing with flight changes and cancellations. Even if your elite status does not have this benefit available, you can throw it out there when speaking with a representative as you do have a higher advantage than non elite status flyers.

Email with Change to Your Schedule

This one is a hit or miss. If you have received an email regarding any changes to your flight, you have a 24 hour window to make changes or cancellations without any additional charges. This is because changes made by the airline may not coincide with your schedule; consequently you are permitted to make changes. If you know ahead of time that you will need to make changes to your itinerary, you can risk waiting until the last few days before your date of departure to see if you have received this email or not. Normally, emails with flight changes only occur days before your departure.

Speak with An Agent

If you go speak to an agent about your problem, chances are, you will get some sympathy points. Most agents will handle situations on a case by case basis, if you’re willing to give it a shot, you have a good chance at them working out something for you, whether it means a discounted cancellation fee or no fee at all.

The Bottom Line

We should try our best to avoid airline cancellation fees by planning carefully for our travels, however sometimes it is inevitable and we are forced to pay the cancellation fee. What we can do is book with an airline we know the cancellation fee is lower than other airline companies.

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Pointshogger aims to provide analysis and updates on earning loyalty reward points and maximizing the value of your points. We hope to inspire our readers to experience the joy of travel and make the most out of what they've already got!

  • Ottawa | Vancouver
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