Yisroel F. wrote to me last month,
“I booked a ticket on AA.com last night and now when I try to cancel (less than 24 hours) they are telling me I can’t cancel because they offer a hold for flights more than 7 days in advance.”
Alas he was told correct info.
Tickets booked on AA.com more than 7 days in advance can’t be cancelled as they offer a hold option that you are able to use. Because they offer the hold option they are exempt from the DoT mandate to allow refunds within 24 hours of booking.
I advised him to use Priceline the next time. Had he done so he would have been able to cancel that ticket. Priceline makes it easy to cancel tickets for flights departing from the US until 11:29pm the business day after booking. That means a ticket bought at 12:05am EST on Wednesday can be cancelled until 11:29pm EST on Thursday. A ticket bought at 12:05am EST on Friday can be cancelled until 11:29pm EST on the following Monday.
You can cancel online by just clicking through from your email confirmation to view your itinerary.
The Priceline free cancellation policy even applies within 7 days of a flight when the DoT mandate doesn’t even apply.
Jacob G wrote to me last month,
“I booked a ticket online with Turkish and I before I checked out I didn’t realize that the price doubled. I called them yup they say there is nothing to do because its non-refundable”
I asked him how and what he booked. And why he booked direct instead of with Priceline.
And he replied,
“A few hours ago. From NYC to Israel through Istanbul. I thought its better by them.”
Of course there’s no advantage to booking direct. Had he booked through Priceline he could have clicked cancel and been done with it.
Now the rule is that he deserves a refund within 24 hours. However more customer service reps of foreign carriers aren’t familiar with US laws.
I first advised him to call back, but he had no luck with that. The rep incorrectly told him that the DoT rule only applied for domestic US flight. Jacob asked me if he should dispute the charge.
Disputing a charge can be a messy affair and is really just for a last resort. Instead I told him to file a DoT complaint against Turkish and give as much detail as possible.
Within 5 days he had his refund thanks to the DoT.
All is well that ends well in that case, but life would have been easier by booking through a site like Priceline (or Orbitz for that matter, though Priceline seems to have the easiest and most generous cancel time.)