Many readers have asked me if they can get a refund instead of a travel credit for flights that they cancelled due to coronavirus.
There’s never a good reason to cancel a non-refundable flight that you won’t take before the day of the flight.
Even in regular times if you have a non-refundable flight that you know you won’t take, you should wait until the day of the flight to cancel. That way if there is a fee waiver or if the flight is cancelled or heavily delayed you can try to get a refund. There’s no benefit to cancelling early.
While many airlines are now allowing a travel credit if you cancel your flight, there’s still no reason to cancel your flight early. If the airline cancels your flight you have a much better shot at getting a refund then you will if you cancel the flight.
It’s also worth noting that while some airlines require that you cancel your flight before the time of departure, Delta for example has announced that if you don’t take your flight it will automatically turn into a travel credit, even if you don’t cancel it.
If you are having a hard time reaching your airline over the phone, don’t forget that you can also try direct messaging many of them on Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp, or SMS. But if your airline does cause problems about not cancelling a flight despite trying to call them, I’d recommend documenting the hold time and disputing the charge on your credit card.
Will you be changing your travel plans due to coronavirus?