Flight Change Fees and Refunds – Guidelines by Airline

by Sara Williams

Updated March 20th, 2020

With so many flights cancelled, and passengers wanting to change their travel dates, many airlines have implemented new guidelines for changing your flight. Most are at least waiving the change fee, some are even waiving the difference in price compared to a future ticket for a set period of time. Below you can find flight change fees and refunds guidelines by airline for major U.S. carriers.


flight change fees and refunds

Delta, as well as every carrier listed below, all have a notice at the top of their updates page stating that they are dealing with passengers who are scheduled to fly in the next 72 hours only. If you will be traveling soon, but not in the next three days they would like you to wait or use My Trips online to cancel your flight yourself. You do not need to rebook right away.

Any Delta ticket expiring in March or April can now be used until Dec 31st 2020, and you can rebook at a later date (not right now while everything is crazy.)

If you don’t take your flight your ticket number automatically becomes an unused eCredit within 24 hours. The credit will be applied when you book a flight in My Trips when selecting a trip that starts prior to Dec 31st 2020. If the new flight costs less than your original flight, you will receive a Delta travel voucher. If the new flight costs more, you will see that balance due.

Change fees – all travel departing in March or April and tickets purchased in March 2020 will not be assessed a change fee.

For flights departing after May 1st 2020 check back as the dates get closer and new developments arise.

Read more about flight change fees and refunds for Delta here.


flight refunds and cancellations

Image courtesy of Devan Mayer

Southwest has always taken great pride in their, “no change fees ever,” policy.

Wanna Get Away fare – The only type of ticket that is not regularly fully refundable in cash or credit. Right now if you need to change your flight or cancel a Wanna Get Away fare you will get Southwest, “travel funds,” that can be used toward a new ticket and have an expiration date of one year.

You can cancel as late as 10 minutes prior to your departure.

Read more here.

American Airlines

flight refunds and cancellations

With American Airlines, as with Delta, you can cancel your ticket online and call when you’re ready to rebook, you don’t need to rebook immediately.

Change fees have been waived for tickets purchased before March 1st 2020, for travel through April 30th 2020 and if you booked your trip March 1st – March 31 2020 for travel through January 30th 2021.

If you don’t take your flight, and couldn’t get through to the reservation line to change it, American Airlines will honor the value of your ticket. Instructions on their site say to call when you are ready to rebook. When you rebook you will need your ticket number, and the confirmation to use the value of the ticket you didn’t use.

Read more here.


flight change fees and refunds

If you’re scheduled to travel March 11th, 2020 – April 30th, 2020 and want to change there is no fee.

If you are traveling to a country that has a travel ban, and you are unable to reschedule, United will honor the value of the ticket in the form of a travel credit to any destination within 12 months. If you do not use the credit within 12 months you will receive a cash refund.

Any new travel that you book in March 2020 can be changed with no fee for the next 12 months. Read more here.

Hawaiian Airlines

flight change fees and refunds

Hawaiian airlines has specific waivers for flights that have been cancelled to specific destinations. With Australia closing its boarders they are the latest to be added to this list of special waivers. A list of these special waivers is on this page.

Hawaiian Airlines will not only waive the change fee but also waive the change in fare if the flight you are changing to costs more than your original ticket if you meet certain criteria. They are also offering new flight buying confidence allowing people who book new flights in March 2020 to take advantage of the change fee waiver. (Update: Previously they had offered fare cost waiver as well – stating that if the price of the ticket has gone up you won’t need to pay the difference if you travel before December 31st, 2020. That wording has since been removed from the website.)

Read more here.

Virgin Atlantic


virgin atlantic

As with all of the airlines above, Virgin Atlantic has waived change fees, however they have more specific date guidelines and rules. You can see a full list here.

Virgin Atlantic also has specific waivers, and a form for people who are mid-trip and away from home. You can read more here.

Going Forward

We will update this page if there are any drastic changes with flight change fees and refunds for the above airlines. If you need information, and are having a hard time finding it, about a specific airline not listed above let us know in the comments below.

Forbes has put out a list of international airlines and their change fee waivers and policies regarding flights at this time here.

It has been nice to see nearly every airline offering to waive fees and even cost differences! It offers hope that in just a few weeks or months travel can return to normal. I think we are all looking forward to that.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


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Angie W March 18, 2020 - 1:25 pm

Any update with Singapore Airlines?

Sara Williams March 21, 2020 - 10:13 am

Forbes has a great article with a lot of the international carriers. Singapore is on this list about two-thirds of the way down the page. https://www.forbes.com/sites/advisor/2020/03/11/master-list-of-airline-coronavirus-policies/#3feeabc26827

tim March 18, 2020 - 1:55 pm

What about AWARD TICKETS? Which airlines are allowing customers to redeposit miles without a fee?

Sara Williams March 20, 2020 - 7:37 am

I’ve looked around a bit, but I haven’t seen much about award ticket change or cancellation fees being waived, or depositing back to your account without a fee. I did find this one mention on Delta’s site: “The same rules apply whether a flight is booked with cash or miles. For award flights that qualify for a change fee waiver, we are also waiving the mile redeposit fee.” We’ll keep updating as more information comes in.

Sara Williams March 21, 2020 - 10:12 am

Hi Tim,
I put together what I could find for a handful of the major U.S. airlines – https://pointmetotheplane.boardingarea.com/award-ticket-change-fee-waivers-by-airline/ I hope that helps!

Ron March 18, 2020 - 3:14 pm

I cancelled two AA award flights today that I booked last month. They waved the redeposit fee and refunded the tax.

Sara Williams March 21, 2020 - 10:11 am

Ron, that’s great! Thank you for sharing with us!

BlackHill March 18, 2020 - 3:56 pm

Will southwest return early bird check in fee? As that comes to $180 for a family of four roundtrip fare.

Sara Williams March 21, 2020 - 10:10 am

That’s a great question. I don’t see any mention of this on their waivers page.

Taylor March 18, 2020 - 4:33 pm

I booked a flight and completed the outbound portion of the ticket, but was forced to rebook my return leg separately because I was unable to connect with Delta. Any idea or indication if there are likely to be refunds available in an instance where travel on the ticket was started, but not completed?

Sara Williams March 21, 2020 - 10:09 am

Hi Taylor, I know that Virgin Atlantic has a waiver for this. I didn’t see any mention of it on Delta’s coronavirus waivers page. I would hang on to the ticket number and call them when it’s less hectic. You can also check to see if there is a credit in your My Trips account.

jerry March 18, 2020 - 4:40 pm

I see that question a lot and never an answer. My plan is to wait as long as possible before trying to get points and money back. The hope is that the flight will be cancelled by then. YMMV Good luck!


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