It can be frustrating when you book a flight only to see the price decrease shortly after.
If this has happened to you, the good news is that you might be able to get a complete refund or at least be refunded the difference in the form of travel credit.
If Flight Prices Drop Within 24 Hours of Booking
According to the Department of Transportation, legally, all airlines are required to refund you the full price of your ticket if you cancel your flight within 24 hours of having booked and as long as at the flight is booked at least seven days before departure.
So, if this applies to you, it’s probably easiest to just cancel your flight and rebook if the price of the flight has dropped.
Airline Price Drop Refund Policies
If the price of your flight has dropped after that 24 window that entitles you to cancel your flight and obtain a full refund, we need to refer to each airline’s specific policy.
If you need to cancel or change your flight and have booked a main cabin or first-class ticket, Alaska Airlines will allow you to do so without any fees.
You will receive a travel credit instead of a cash refund, though, and it will expire one year after it has been issued.
If you booked a premium cabin, premium economy or main cabin fare with American Airlines, there are no change or cancellation fees.
Additionally, if the flight price drops after having booked your flight, you may be entitled to a travel voucher that will cover the difference, which is good for up to a year.
Delta Air Lines
Except for Basic Economy tickets, Delta do not charge a change fee for flights departing from North America to anywhere in the world.
If the price of your flight has changed after booking, you can contact Delta and ask them to re-price the cost of the ticket, with the difference being paid in the form of travel credit.
With Frontier Airlines, if your flight is 60 or more days away, you are able to cancel your flight for no fee. So, you cancel your flight and rebook if the price has changed.
If the price change has happened fewer than 60 days before departure, you are entitled to a refund in the form of eCredit if you purchased “The Works” bundle when you booked your flight.
Except for Blue Basic fares, you are entitled to change and cancel your flight without incurring a fee.
You will receive travel credit that can be used to book your new flight.
Regardless of fare, Southwest do not charge any change or cancellation fees.
So, if the price of any flight you have booked has changed after booking, you can contact Southwest and receive travel credit for the difference in fares.
Spirit also offer the option to cancel your flight for free if canceled at least 60 days from the date of departure.
However, while most airlines offer passengers ecredit that is valid for a year, Spirit’s travel credit must be used within 90 days of having been issued.
For most economy and premium cabin tickets, United Airlines do not charge a change fee.
So if you want to change your flight, you will be given flight credit for the difference in fare and use it to book your new flight.
Why Flight Prices Drop After Booking
Flight prices might drop after you have booked your flight because airlines are always trying to maximize profitability.
So if an airline is not seeing the sales they want for a route, they may decrease the price of the flight.
As airlines use automatic ticket algorithms that take into account a number of factors, the price of a flight may change depending on factors like supply and demand, time left until departure, competitor pricing etc.
Do Flight Prices Usually Drop Closer to Departure?
Generally speaking, flight prices do not drop closer to the date of departure, with prices being cheapest when booked between 4 months and 3 weeks before the departure date.
This is quite a wide timeframe, and airlines use automatic ticket algorithms to determine the price of tickets, so there is no guarantee that you will get a better deal if you wait to book.
What we do know for sure, though, is that last minutes flights are not cheaper.
Lindsay is a former travel agent and current travel enthusiast and writer.
After backpacking across Europe after college, she caught the travel bug and has since visited over 100 countries (with more planned!).
With her extensive travel experience and industry knowledge, Lindsay is well-versed in all things surrounding commercial air travel, from TSA regulations to finding the best flight deals.
Lindsay's love of travel has led to recognition by being mentioned or quoted in major publications, such as Insider and Trip Savvy.
Get in touch with Lindsay by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org