Last week I was supposed to fly to San Francisco to cohost a #TravelSkills Twitter chat but I got sick, then my wife caught it and I couldn’t leave her alone with the baby. My non-refundable ticket cost $288 (I bought it 10 days in advance) and I knew that if I canceled it, American would charge me their obnoxious and outrageous $200 change fee.
Since I have elite status on American and I can make same-day changes for free, I decided to call just before my 2pm flight was about to board. I didn’t want to make a change too early in case that flight was delayed or canceled, which would entitle me to a full refund (exactly what I wanted).
When it was clear that the flight was going out on time, I called and changed it to the last one of the day. I saw the weather at SFO wasn’t going to be great so the chances of the last flight being delayed were very good. Sure enough, I soon received a notification that the flight was indeed delayed by an hour, which is exactly the amount of time that American requires to give full refunds. I called and received the whole $288 back. Score one for the little guys! BTW: That flight didn’t end up departing LAX until 1:57am (see above)!
This is a great trick for those who have elite status. Those who don’t should fly Southwest Airlines, since they don’t charge a change fee. JetBlue would be my next option since they charge a much more reasonable $70 fee.
Tried this tip? Let me know in the comments!
Have your own tip? Email it to email@example.com!
Want to see more tips? Click here for all 867!
Want even more travel tips? Sign up here for the Daily Travel Tip newsletter! Just fill in your email address and check the Daily Travel Tip box—and you’ll have Johnny’s best tips, straight to your inbox each day!
If you already subscribe to our weekly newsletter, you can sign up on the same page. Just fill in your email and check the Daily Travel Tip box on the same page and you’ll receive an email with a link to update your JohnnyJet.com preferences. On that page, just click the Daily Travel Tip box and Update Profile.
The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered. Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.