Skyscanner’s US travel expert Mark Crossey today shared expert advice on how keen vacationers can use flexible travel to book future trips with confidence.
“As news of vaccines nearing readiness has broken, we’ve seen travelers turn their attention to next year. American travelers have been very engaged with the changing restrictions on travel in 2020 and are keen to get away safely within official guidance.
Skyscanner’s US travel expert Mark Crossey shares expert advice on how to use flexible travel to book future trips.
“Many airlines have scrapped domestic fare change fees indefinitely and extended the removal of international change fees until 2021. The emergence of truly flexible travel fares has not gone unnoticed and US travelers are taking advantage. Skyscanner has responded to these trends with a series of safer, smarter travel features to help US travelers book with confidence that they’re getting the right price, with the right added extras.
What is a flexible flight ticket?
“Generally speaking, a flexible flight ticket is one that allows for changes or cancellations without a fee, with a smaller-than-usual fee, or another condition that makes it easier for the traveler to change their plans. Many airlines have agreed to eliminate change fees altogether in response to the uncertainty the pandemic has created.
“When searching with Skyscanner’s “Flexible Ticket” option, this feature shows which airlines have changed their booking terms. The filter will only display airlines that offer flexible tickets, or hotels and car hire with free cancellation. And if you like to dot your i’s and cross your t’s, we also link directly to the airline’s booking policy so you can review all of the fine print.
“While Skyscanner will always do its best to show you the most up-to-date prices and policies, it’s important to check the terms and conditions of your specific ticket at the time of booking to ensure you’re fully briefed on the details of its change policy.”
Can I buy a plane ticket without a set date?
“You need to set a date when you book most flights. However, if you buy a flexible ticket, you can move the flight date and time until the ticket’s validity period (which is usually, but not always, one year from the date of purchase) ends.”
Which airlines are offering flexible flight tickets?
“There are several airlines offering flexible flights through the end of this year and beyond, some have even expanded their change fees and cancellation policies.
“During 2020 we have made some changes to our site and app to make it extra easy to find flexible airline tickets. Simply select the ‘Flexible tickets only’ box or toggle to show only those covered by flexible policies.”
American Airlines: “As of October 2020, American currently offers free changes and cancellation on all tickets, including Basic Economy fares booked through December 31, 2020.”
Delta Airlines: “Like American, Delta allows its customers to change, and, if necessary, refund all trips booked through the end of 2020. Additionally, Delta has extended the validity of all tickets until the end of 2022.”
United Airlines: “On their website, United states that the carrier will permanently eliminate change fees, presumably even after the pandemic is over. Note that you will need to pay any fare difference.”
Southwest Airlines: “Unlike most other carriers, Southwest never charged a fee for ticket changes, and that has continued during the pandemic.”
Alaska Airlines: “While Alaska allows free changes to flights booked at least through the end of 2020, your flight might not be eligible for a refund, particularly if it’s a ‘Saver’ fare.”
How can I ensure my hotel booking is flexible?
“If you’re booking flexible flights, you’re also going to want to have the option to change or cancel your accommodation booking. That way, you can book flexible travel for your whole trip now and decide if it’s still OK to go later.
“Searching for a flexible hotel price is slightly different to the process for flights. Once you have completed your hotel search on Skyscanner, navigate down the sidebar or, in the app, tap ‘Sort & Filters’ at the bottom of the results, and tick or toggle the ‘Free cancellation’ option.”
Are car hire bookings flexible?
“Flexible rental car bookings generally mean that you can cancel for free or for a small fee, up to 48 hours in advance.
“On Skyscanner, complete your search as usual and then tick the ‘Free cancellation’ box in the left-hand sidebar, underneath the ‘Cancellation policy’ heading.
“If you’re searching in our app, simply tap the “Filter” button before completing your search and tick the ‘Free Cancellation’ box to make sure your results are flexible from the get-go.”
Founded in 2003, Skyscanner is a leading travel company dedicated to putting travelers first by making booking trips as simple as possible. Skyscanner helps more than 110 million people in 52 countries and over 30 languages find the best travel options for flights, hotels and car hire every month. Skyscanner is available on desktop, mobile web and its highly rated app has 10 million downloads. Working with 1200 travel partners, Skyscanner’s mission is to lead the global transformation to modern and sustainable travel.
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