When Change Fees Eat Up Your Fare Drop Refund

Jason Ma, February 02, 2009
Fares from Washington DC:

    Q. I booked a flight only a few weeks ago thinking that prices would soon being going up. I'm bringing my boyfriend home with me to Ireland to introduce him to my family for the first time and we wanted to get a good deal for an expensive trip in hard times.



    We paid $460 per ticket on Delta.

    Well, I just searched on Delta again and saw that the exact same flight is now costing $305 total per ticket!! That's insane!!

    How are they allowed to charge you one price one week and not reimburse you for the price difference? If I bought an item in a store before a sale I would be entitled to return it for whatever reason and then if I so chose, could buy it at the reduced sale price. How come airlines don't allow this?

    Could I ask for a refund and repurchase the flights at the reduced cost saving a whopping load of bucks?

    A. Some airlines, like Delta, will issue vouchers for the difference in fare if there is a price drop, but there is a catch... the dreaded change fee.  In your case, the change fees are a whopping $200 each for an international fare.  So much for your "refund." Southwest, Alaska, and JetBlue also issue refund vouchers for the full fare drop amount, without extracting a fee.

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