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What are Cancellation Charges?

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    Jonathan Chum

What are cancellation charges? Cancellation charges are applied when you decide to cancel your flight.

If you go through the process of planning a vacation, there is nothing more frustrating than having to change your plans. You may have to change taxis, hotel rooms, restaurant reservations, and plane tickets. Sometimes, you may simply have to change your flight to a different time or day. In other cases, you may have to cancel your flight entirely. In this situation, you may be hit with a bunch of cancellation charges. This can be incredibly frustrating, particularly since you aren't even getting on the plane that you paid for. We have traveled all over the world, and we have had to change our plans before as well. Therefore, trust us as we take an in-depth look at cancellation charges.

First, we will review some of the most common reasons why you, or the airline, may cancel the flight. Then, we will review how you can get cancellation charges waived so that you can save money.

Why Might My Plane Get Canceled?

First, there are two broad categories of cancellations. The first category involves you canceling your flight. The second category involves the airline canceling your flight. Of course, these are very different issues.

If you have to cancel your flight, there is a good chance that cancellation charges are going to apply. Whether you have a medical emergency, have to change your plans because you are a member of the active military, your vacation did not get approved by your work, or simply because you do not need to travel anymore, you could face cancellation fees. Even though it is a good idea to explain to the airline why you are canceling your flight, the airline is probably going to look at this the same way.

On the other hand, the airline canceling your flight is incredibly different and could leave you in a difficult situation. The most common reasons why an airline may cancel your flight include bad weather, mechanical difficulties, or a plane that simply isn't full. If the airline cancels your flight, they should rebook you automatically on another plane. If this doesn't happen, you will need to go to customer service to get this issue rectified.

When Do Cancelation Charges Apply?

First, if the airline cancels your flight, you should not face any cancellation charges at all. Clearly, this is not your fault and the airline should simply book you on a different flight automatically. Furthermore, if you have to spend an extra night somewhere because the airline isn't able to fly you out until tomorrow, the airline should pay for your hotel accommodations as well. There are some situations where you may need to go to the customer service agent and ask for these accommodations; however, they should be more than willing to accommodate you.

On the other hand, if you are canceling your flight, cancellation charges are probably going to apply. If you can produce medical documentation proving your emergency, or show that you are a member of the active-duty military and your flight is being changed for this reason, they may be willing to waive the cancellation charges for you. Furthermore, if you book a plane ticket and change your plans within 24 hours of booking the ticket, most airlines will waive any cancellation fees.

How Can I Get Cancelation Charges Waived?

If you are trying to get cancellation charges waived, there are a few steps that you could take. First, if you do have a medical emergency, be ready to produce a doctor's note and show this to the airline. This is one of the fastest ways to get your cancellation fees waived. Most airlines are more than willing to waive cancellation fees if you can prove that you were in the hospital or had some form of a medical emergency.

Even if a medical emergency does not apply to you, there are other ways you can get cancellation fees waived. If you fly with an airline on a regular basis, particularly if you have Elite Status with this airline, you may be able to leverage your recurring business in an effort to get cancellation fees waived. You can point out how many years you have been flying with the airline, how often you fly with them, and that you have other options available when it comes to your travel plans. If you are able to effectively leverage your recurring business for the airline, you may be able to get cancellation fees waived.

What Other Fees Might I Have To Pay?

Importantly, cancellation fees are not the only fees that an airline may charge you. The airline industry is famous for charging you extra money at every turn. In addition to a cancellation fee, you may need to pay something called a change fee if you are switching your flight to another day or time. Then, if there is a fair difference between your original flight and the new flight, you may also be hit with something called a fair differential fee. Essentially, this is a fee that you are charged for “upgrading” to a more expensive flight. Therefore, you need to read the fine print carefully to make sure you understand any additional fees that the airline may charge you. Even if they waive cancellation fees, you may be responsible for paying these other fees as well.

Understand the Reasons Behind a Flight Cancellation

Ultimately, whether you are going to pay cancellation fees or not is dependent on the reason why the flight has been canceled. If you are canceling the flight, you are probably going to face cancellation charges unless you respond appropriately. On the other hand, if it is an airline canceling the flight, you should not be charged at all. Furthermore, the airline should rebook you on another flight automatically and may compensate you for the inconvenience. If you are interested in getting these fees waived, you may have to ask for that.