Sometimes a need to rebook a flight may arise. This can happen due to a schedule change. The original flight may have been taken. Or it could happen because you have to change your travel plans for your own reasons. This article explains the tasks your travel agent has to perform if you have to change an air ticket.
If the change occurs before a ticket is issued, the airline will not charge a penalty, although your travel agent may ask for a service fee. If the change occurs after a ticket is issued, a change penalty as specified in the fare rules of the original ticket applies, if you are liable for the change. If the airline is responsible for the need to rebook a flight, no change penalty will apply.
Different Rules for Different Changes
There are different types of changes for flights. Important is the time of the change. There may be a change
- Before departure
- After departure
- After no show
The scope of the change is also important. There may be a change of the
- Flight date
- Flight path
It is generally not allowed to change a traveler name on an air ticket.
Change before Departure
If you change your flight before the departure date, a new ticket will be issued according to prices and rules in place at the day of the change. All conditions for the new fares must be met, including advance purchase requirements, ticketing time limits etc. You will pay the price difference between the old fare and the new fare plus the change penalty specified in the old fare. If there are restrictions in the old fare rules regarding a refund in case of cancel, the nonrefundable amount of the original fare remains nonrefundable. The last flight of the new ticket must be completed within the maximum stay period specified in the rules of the original ticket.
The change before departure is pretty complicated. For this reason many special airfares can not be changed before departure. In this case the original ticket must be taken completely, the fare minus the cancel penalty will be refunded and a new ticket will be purchased.
Change after Departure
If you rebook a flight after starting your journey, the fare rules in place when the original ticket was issued will be used. If you do not change the routing and find space allowed with the original fare for your new flight, you pay only the change penalty and a service fee charged by the travel agency or airline help desk for handling the change. If you need to use a more expensive fare for the return flight, or if you want to change the route of the return flight, and the new combination is allowed according to the original fare rules, you will pay the price difference between the original return Flight and the new return flight plus the change fee. The fare for the already used part of the ticket will not be changed.
Change after No Show
If you did not show up for a flight on time, or if you could not use the flight because of reasons within your own responsibility, and you did not cancel the reservation before the plane started, a no show has happened. Many airlines reply to honor or refund a ticket after a no show. So, if you are stuck in a traffic jam on your way to the airport and you know that you can not reach the plane, it is important to call the airline and / or your travel agent to cancel the reservation and avoid a no show.
If there is a need to change a flight, two steps are necessary:
- The reservation needs to be changed
- The ticket needs to be changed
Sometimes you will not realize that two steps are done, because the travel agent or customer support representative reissues the ticket immediately after the change of the reservation. Some airlines demand in the fare rules that the ticket must be changed immediately after the flight reservation has been modified. If you rebook a flight through the airline website, the ticket will be changed automatically.
Delayed Change of Ticket
Some airlines allow you to change a reservation without immediately changing the ticket. This helps if you can not use the return flight as booked, but you are not yet sure which flight you will be able to use. Your travel agent could enter a return flight and wait with the change of the ticket until you are sure. But, again, this is not always possible, and there may be a short time limit for adapting the ticket to the new schedule after you rebook a flight.