If you’re like most people, when it comes to booking an airline ticket, you see the option of booking a refundable or non-refundable airline ticket and hesitate deciding which one to choose.

Refundable airline tickets tend to be much more expensive, so you no doubt go for the cheaper option.

But is purchasing a non-refundable ticket the right choice, or should you splurge and enjoy the security of a refundable ticket?

Why You Should Buy Refundable Airline Tickets

1. You Have an Unpredictable Schedule

If you have an unpredictable schedule, such as needing to travel around a sick relative or a family member who is due to give birth but are unsure exactly when, it can be beneficial to be able to have that flexibility when you need to change your plans at the last minute.

2. You Have a Business

If you have a business, you know that meetings and priorities can change, sometimes at the drop of the hat.

So yourself or your employees may occasionally need to be able to make changes and cancellations at the last minute with as little hassle as possible.

3. You Want to Upgrade

Airlines prioritize certain consumers when it comes to upgrades, namely travelers who spend more with the airline.

If you purchased a refundable ticket, you are more likely to be able to obtain an upgrade.

Why You Shouldn’t Buy Refundable Airline Tickets

Cost

The main reason not to buy refundable airline tickets is due to their high price.

Refundable airline tickets can cost at least 4x the price of non-refundable tickets.

Considering that the vast majority of travelers fly as intended when they book a ticket, it simply isn’t worth it for most.

Are Non-Refundable Airline Tickets Ever Refundable?

In some instances, non-refundable airline tickets are refundable – in the sense that you will receive your money back and not just a travel voucher from the airline.

  1. If your flight is cancelled or “significantly” delayed, you are entitled to a cash refund.
  2. If you booked your ticket at least seven days before departure, you can cancel the ticket within 24 hours of booking and receive a full refund.

Is it Better to Buy a Refundable Ticket or Travel Insurance?

In many instances, it is better to purchase travel insurance instead of refundable airline tickets, as these tickets can cost 4x as much as non-refundable tickets.

The caveat is that a standard travel insurance policy only covers some reasons for cancellations, such as getting ill and natural disasters.

Instead, you can add a Cancel For Any Reason upgrade to your insurance, which is true to name, and allows you to cancel in the event you don’t want to or can’t fly for any reason.

Keep in mind that not every trip insurer offers Cancel For Any Reason insurance, though.

Additionally, CFAR insurance:

  • Won’t reimburse you with 100% of the price of the ticket (50-75%)
  • A flight needs to be canceled no later than two days before scheduled departure
  • You have a limited number of days after purchasing a non-refundable ticket to add the CFAR option.

See Also:

Robert Davis - Seasoned Flyer

Robert is a seasoned flyer who knows more about commercial air travel than practically anyone else out there due to the time he has spent at airports and on planes over the years for work.