Author Topic: Please tell me I can recoup at least some of my flight cost  (Read 4415 times)

EconDiva

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1130
Please tell me I can recoup at least some of my flight cost
« on: October 21, 2015, 10:36:57 AM »
I purchased a flight to Miami from Chicago on American Airlines about a month ago. The dates are for Thanksgiving (Nov 26-30).

 I just found out I'm traveling to Tokyo for work the 2nd week of December. I may add on 1 or 2 days to this trip because my brother lives there, I haven't seen him in 7 years, and I've never been to Japan/Tokyo. Also, I may be paying for most of my mother's flight to join me on this trip as well as her expenses (food, etc.). So this could be expensive, and with about 6 weeks or so to plan, I don't have much time...or money, either because I just returned from a week (vacation) in Italy (yikes).

Anywho, although my mom is very excited about going to Miami for Thanksgiving as she never ever travels anywhere, I know she'd prefer to see my brother with me. I just don't think I can afford to keep the Miami vacation on and go to Japan 2 weeks after that.

Am I right that there's 0% chance of me getting any portion of my flight costs back? I've never just let a flight go like this before and I hate to see that money go down the toilet! (Luckily I hadn't booked the Miami hotel or my mother's ticket yet so those costs aren't an issue.)

Argyle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 909
Re: Please tell me I can recoup at least some of my flight cost
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2015, 10:43:46 AM »
You can most likely change the ticket to a later date for $125-200.  You'll need to keep the same routing, though.  Looks like it's only $75 if you wait till the same day to change -- you have to not forget, though, and change it before the flight takes off.  Take a look at http://thepointsguy.com/2014/10/airline-change-and-cancellation-fees-how-to-avoid-them/.  But you'll also want to take a look at the actual American page, though.  The exact class and fare of your ticket is important, which is why you'll want to phone American (1-800-433-7300) rather than take advice from strangers off the internet. 

I'm confused about what's happening.  You were going to take your mother to Miami, but now you're going to take her to Toyko?

EconDiva

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1130
Re: Please tell me I can recoup at least some of my flight cost
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2015, 10:48:50 AM »
You can most likely change the ticket to a later date for $125-200.  You'll need to keep the same routing, though.  Looks like it's only $75 if you wait till the same day to change -- you have to not forget, though, and change it before the flight takes off.  Take a look at http://thepointsguy.com/2014/10/airline-change-and-cancellation-fees-how-to-avoid-them/.  But you'll also want to take a look at the actual American page, though.  The exact class and fare of your ticket is important, which is why you'll want to phone American (1-800-433-7300) rather than take advice from strangers off the internet. 

I'm confused about what's happening.  You were going to take your mother to Miami, but now you're going to take her to Toyko?

Thank you for the advice.

So to clarify in case the original post was confusing, yes, I was going to go to Miami for Thanksgiving.  My mom who lives in another state was going to meet me there.  My mom isn't working so any travel/trips would be mostly covered by me.  I had only booked my flight to Miami so far; I was holding off on a good deal for our hotel and simply hadn't booked her bus ticket yet. 

But then last week I found out about going to Tokyo for work.  My mother and I have been discussing going to Tokyo to see my brother for years.  So since my flight and hotel in Tokyo will be covered by my job I have asked if she wants to join me and she said yes.  Which means on about 6 weeks notice I need to plan for Tokyo expenses.  If am able to stay 1-2 days past my job portion of the trip, I still need to cover a hotel for herself and myself those extra 1-2 days (my brother says he cannot accommodate us in his place).  Plus any food/other expenses for herself and myself those extra 1-2 days.  Lastly, the biggest expense will be her flight to Tokyo as we fly United at work and she needs to be on the same flight as myself.

So I'm cancelling the Miami trip during Thanksgiving because I just really can't afford to do Miami during Thanksgiving and turn around and do Tokyo 2 weeks after that.  Which means I'd be losing out on the cost of the Miami flight that is already booked.

Axecleaver

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3385
  • Location: New York
Re: Please tell me I can recoup at least some of my flight cost
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2015, 11:11:05 AM »
You probably bought a non-refundable ticket, which just means they won't give back your money in cold, hard cash. You can still change the flight and use it at a later date. So you haven't "lost" it, you just need to use those dollars within a year of purchasing the flight. You can use it to go somewhere totally different, even.

EconDiva

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1130
Re: Please tell me I can recoup at least some of my flight cost
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2015, 11:16:43 AM »
You probably bought a non-refundable ticket, which just means they won't give back your money in cold, hard cash. You can still change the flight and use it at a later date. So you haven't "lost" it, you just need to use those dollars within a year of purchasing the flight. You can use it to go somewhere totally different, even.

On the phone they said I'd have to pay a $200 change fee.  Flight was $300...

Argyle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 909
Re: Please tell me I can recoup at least some of my flight cost
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2015, 12:26:04 PM »
First, see if the same-day change works for $75.

Then think if you'll be going to Miami soon.  If yes, you'll pay $500 rather than $600 if you change the ticket ($300 for original ticket, plus $200 change, instead of $300 for original ticket and then $300 for another ticket).  If not, then let the ticket go.

GizmoTX

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1396
Re: Please tell me I can recoup at least some of my flight cost
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2015, 12:36:47 PM »
Southwest is currently the only airline that doesn't charge a fee for changing flights, & you don't have to keep the same itinerary either. It does keep your money, but you have a year to apply the full amount of the ticket to another reservation. You get 2 free checked bags & free carry on as well.

We fly a lot on American but have used miles when there was a chance that we'd have to change or cancel our reservations.

Dicey

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10887
  • Age: 61
  • Location: NorCal
Re: Please tell me I can recoup at least some of my flight cost
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2015, 12:44:13 PM »
Any way they will let you pay the change fee and apply the remaining $100 to a different person/destination? Specifically, your mom's flight to Tokyo? Better $200 down the drain than $300. Otherwise, I'd consider the day-of change and use it for a future trip. The problem with this is the airline already knows you want out of this flight and might bar you from using the last-day trick. Perhaps somebody around here works for this airline and can provide other options. Good luck. BTW, taking your mom to see your brother sounds like the right thing to do.

Finally, if nothing else works, can you donate the ticket to charity?

Blonde Lawyer

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 735
    • My Student Loan Refi Story
Re: Please tell me I can recoup at least some of my flight cost
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2015, 01:44:32 PM »
I believe the day of change requires you to fly that day.  Meaning, you had a 7 pm flight and now you want to take the 10 am flight.

Argyle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 909
Re: Please tell me I can recoup at least some of my flight cost
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2015, 02:07:59 PM »
Tickets are non-transferable now, so I doubt whether you could donate the ticket to charity.

lhamo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9835
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Please tell me I can recoup at least some of my flight cost
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2015, 09:53:22 PM »
Any chance you could get your mom's ticket to Japan using miles?  There should still be saver seats in early December -- the Christmas rush usually starts a week or so before Christmas, when international schools in Asia start their breaks. 

The United Milageplus visa typically has good signup bonuses.

Also I wouldn't stress too much about making sure you are on the same flights -- Narita is a pretty easy airport to navigate, and easy to find English-speaking staff. 

LeRainDrop

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1841
Re: Please tell me I can recoup at least some of my flight cost
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2015, 10:04:48 PM »
I believe the day of change requires you to fly that day.  Meaning, you had a 7 pm flight and now you want to take the 10 am flight.

That's exactly correct.  The lower $ same-day change fee is for changing your flight within the same day only.

EconDiva

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1130
Re: Please tell me I can recoup at least some of my flight cost
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2015, 05:53:23 AM »
Any chance you could get your mom's ticket to Japan using miles?  There should still be saver seats in early December -- the Christmas rush usually starts a week or so before Christmas, when international schools in Asia start their breaks. 

The United Milageplus visa typically has good signup bonuses.

Also I wouldn't stress too much about making sure you are on the same flights -- Narita is a pretty easy airport to navigate, and easy to find English-speaking staff.

Unfortunately I only have about 10k points with United. I used 35k of them
for a trip in September. And my mom won't fly unless she's on the same flight as me. Once we get to Japan while I'm working I promise you she will not leave the room until I'm done with work and can go with her somewhere. She has a lot of anxiety.

Blonde Lawyer

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 735
    • My Student Loan Refi Story
Re: Please tell me I can recoup at least some of my flight cost
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2015, 10:56:30 AM »
Any chance you could get your mom's ticket to Japan using miles?  There should still be saver seats in early December -- the Christmas rush usually starts a week or so before Christmas, when international schools in Asia start their breaks. 

The United Milageplus visa typically has good signup bonuses.

Also I wouldn't stress too much about making sure you are on the same flights -- Narita is a pretty easy airport to navigate, and easy to find English-speaking staff.

Unfortunately I only have about 10k points with United. I used 35k of them
for a trip in September. And my mom won't fly unless she's on the same flight as me. Once we get to Japan while I'm working I promise you she will not leave the room until I'm done with work and can go with her somewhere. She has a lot of anxiety.

Funny how anxiety works.  I'm an anxious flyer but much prefer to fly alone than with friends and family.  Interacting w/ "normal" people makes it to clear to me how much higher my anxiety is than theirs.  It doesn't calm me down.  It puts more pressure on me to be able to be conversant.  I much prefer having headphones on and an eye mask and no one but me knowing the level of my heart rate.

Dicey

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10887
  • Age: 61
  • Location: NorCal
Re: Please tell me I can recoup at least some of my flight cost
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2015, 11:31:21 AM »
Tickets are non-transferable now, so I doubt whether you could donate the ticket to charity.
It's possible the airline might have an arrangement with a major charity or even a transplant organization. It's worth it to ask.