What to Ask If an Airline Changes Your Flight

If the airline unwittingly knocks you off your flight, chances are you can ask for much more than you think, such as food vouchers, hotel stays, or just cash. But what are your rights if the airline suddenly decides to completely change the departure time of your flight? It happens; On Reddit, u / kaileen shared the experience of their family members when the airline changed their itinerary at the last minute.

“My brother bought a ticket from Frontier Airlines back in August,” they wrote. “The original flight was for this Saturday at 5:45 am. He just received an e-mail about a new route that he is leaving on Sunday at 6:00 … If this is not a mistake, is there anything you can do to get a discount or some kind of compensation for the inconvenience? I know the Frontier isn’t famous for being fun to fly with, but it seems ridiculous. “

It’s funny, but don’t expect any compensation. Generally, at best, you can ask to rebook you to another flight for free, or just get a refund that you can use to at least rebook to another airline.

Below are a few rules for several major US airlines that you should definitely pay attention to so that you can better understand what to ask about when your departure times are changing a lot:

  • American : If your new departure time is scheduled less than 90 minutes from your original time, they will offer to change your flight to another flight on the same day within the same “fare range,” that is, one Economy Class seat to another. If your new flight exceeds the original departure time by 90 minutes, you have the option to rebook your ticket for any AA flight in any class, for another day, and even for one of AA’s partner airlines. (According to the Points Guy , AA is usually quite lenient with even minor schedule changes.) To claim a refund, which can be provided in the form of a voucher, your scheduled flight must exceed 60 minutes from your original departure.
  • Delta: Delta’s politics are not that clear. Under Delta’s contract of carriage , if your scheduled departure time is more than 90 minutes from the original time, Delta will “take the passenger to their destination on the next Delta flight with seats available in the originally purchased class of service.” However, according to the customer service representative I spoke to, a passenger can change flights for free “if the departure or arrival time is delayed by 30 minutes or more.” The same goes for refunds.
  • United : “If your scheduled departure or arrival time changes by 30 minutes or more, we will be happy to try to find other available flight options that suit your needs.” (Note: This is the only airline to indicate that it will rebook you if your arrival time also changes.) For a refund, if your scheduled departure or arrival time changes by two hours or affects your ability to set connections, you may qualify …
  • Border : If the departure time changes by an hour or less, you will have to pay for rebooking and the difference in airfare. If the change in your departure time exceeds 60 minutes and your flight changes within 72 hours after scheduled departure, you can rebook your ticket for free; However, if your flight changes for more than 72 hours, you will have to pay for the difference in airfare. More than three hours and you can also request a refund.

If you would like to change your flight or request a refund, please check the policies that affect you and contact your airline immediately to request the change. It is worth noting, however, that if a planned change affects your ability to connect, chances are the airline will try to satisfy you better (although there are no rules indicating specific time limits).

Also, if you’ve booked two legs on different airlines and run the risk of missing your connection, know that your other airline doesn’t owe you anything in this scenario. If so, you can check out our airline change rate guide as soon as possible.


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