Refund Madness

Tracy Stewart, June 12, 2007
Fares from Washington DC:

    Q: I've read that if you purchase a plane ticket and the price goes down you can get a refund. How does this work?

    A: Southwest, United, Alaska, JetBlue, and US Air will refund a difference in fare if you buy a non-refundable ticket and it goes down in price before you depart. The refund issued by these airlines is in the form of a voucher good for future travel for up to a year, and they do not deduct an administrative or change fee. You cannot change your flight times or days of travel. Only the fare may have changed. Other airlines also offer refunds, but they deduct between $25 and $100 (on a domestic ticket) from any voucher they issue you. So it's wise to check your fare even after you purchase, and to fly with airlines that don't deduct fees. A new site called Yapta promises to alert you if a fare you purchased has gone down in price and you qualify for a refund. Yapta works with most major US-based airlines but not with Macintosh computers or the Mozilla Firefox browser (only Internet Explorer).