Is It Cheaper To Cancel A Flight Or Change It?

Is It Better To Cancel A Flight Or Change It

Last Updated on Jul 10th, 2024 by Renu Dahiya, Leave a Comment

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where your perfectly planned travel itinerary suddenly takes an unexpected turn? Whether due to unforeseen circumstances or a change of plans, we’ve all been faced with the dilemma of canceling or changing our flights. But here’s the question: What’s the better option – Cancel or change flight? Don’t worry! Here, we’ll guide you toward making the most informed decision for your upcoming travels. We will delve into the crucial factors that influence this decision-making process, such as airline policies, ticket types, fees, and potential consequences. 

Cancellation Of Flights

In certain circumstances, canceling your flight may become unavoidable. It is crucial to be aware of your airline’s cancellation policy and the terms and conditions associated with it. Airlines may have varying policies, some of which offer flexibility, allowing you to receive a refund or credit for future travel. However, it is important to note that certain fares may be non-refundable or subject to cancellation fees.

By knowing the specific policies of your airline, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your travel needs and budget. Also, here you can check our guide to flight cancellation compensation & your refund rights for more clarifications.

Changing Flights

There may be instances where canceling your flight entirely is not necessary, but rather making changes to your travel itinerary can provide the desired flexibility. Changing flights allows you to adjust your plans while minimizing the costs typically associated with cancellations. However, it is important to review your airline’s policy regarding flight changes and to consider any applicable change fees or fare differences. This allows you to maintain the convenience of your booked itinerary while accommodating unforeseen circumstances or adjusting your schedule to better suit your needs. 

Cancel Or Change Flights: What Is Better? 

Planning and booking a flight to your dream destination is an exciting experience. However, unforeseen circumstances can sometimes lead travelers to consider changing or canceling their existing travel plans. If you find yourself in such a situation and are unsure whether it is cheaper to cancel or change your flight, carefully consider the following factors – 

  • 24-Hour Rule: Some airlines offer a 24-hour window where travelers can receive a refund or make changes to their flights without incurring additional fees. However, this policy may vary among airlines, so it’s important to check if this option is available to you within the designated time frame.
  • Nature of the Ticket: Whether your ticket is refundable or non-refundable plays a significant role in deciding between canceling or changing the flight. If you have a refundable ticket, canceling the flight and receiving a refund may be the more cost-effective choice. Conversely, if your ticket is non-refundable, opting to change the flight can be a preferable option.
  • Program Schedule: Assess the schedule of your travel program to determine the most suitable course of action. If you have completely canceled your travel plans, it is typically best to cancel the flight. On the other hand, if you need to postpone your trip, changing the flight may be a more viable option.
  • Compliance with Airline Rules: Know the specific rules and policies set by the airline regarding flight cancellations or changes. Each airline may have different guidelines, fees, and restrictions, so adhering to their rules can help you determine the most cost-effective approach.
  • Fees and Consequences: Canceling or changing flights often involves additional fees. These charges can vary depending on the airline, ticket type, and timing of the modification. It’s essential to weigh these fees against the potential consequences of sticking with your original plans.

Airlines’ Change & Cancellation Policies

AirlinesChange & Cancellation Policies
American AirlinesFor award trips, all change fees are eliminated. You may also cancel your flight anytime before the first flight departs and reinstate miles, at no charge, anytime up to one year after the ticket issue date. For trips ticketed, change fees vary depending on the ticket purchased. Miles can be redeposited to your AAdvantage account.
Delta AirlinesAll tickets for Main Cabin or above do not charge any change or cancellation fees, and you may change or cancel prior to departure. However, Basic Economy tickets are non-changeable and nonrefundable unless it qualifies for a Basic Economy Changeability Waiver. Miles for canceled award flights are automatically redeposited to your SkyMiles account.
Alaska AirlinesNo change fees for main and first-class fares. For canceled flights, miles will be re-deposited into your Mileage Plan account.
JetBlueFor purchased bookings, change and cancellation fees are waived, except for Blue Basic bookings.
For TrueBlue redemption bookings, changes are not allowed, though you may cancel and rebook your un-flown flight depending on availability. There is no redeposit fee to have TrueBlue points added back to your account.
United AirlinesFor most Economy and premium tickets with travel originating in the U.S., change fees have been eliminated.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2023, there are no fees to change award travel. Miles can be redeposited to your account with no fee unless you no-show your flight (then it’s around $125 or more).

Other Points To Consider While Making The Decision 

In this fast-paced world, where life’s uncertainties often throw curveballs at us, flexibility becomes a valuable asset. Flights are no exception to this rule, as the need to adapt and adjust to new circumstances can arise at any moment. The decision to cancel or change a flight can be a pivotal one, affecting not only your travel arrangements but also your finances and overall peace of mind. So, consider the below-mentioned factors while making your decision between canceling or changing your flight tickets – 

  • Urgency
    Evaluate the urgency of the situation. If immediate cancellation is required, such as in the case of emergencies, canceling the flight might be the best option. However, if you have some flexibility and can work around the changes, modifying the flight could be more suitable.
  • Financial Considerations
    Assess the financial implications of canceling or changing your flight. Compare the potential losses from cancellation fees or non-refundable tickets with the change fees associated with modifying the flight. Consider whether you can utilize the value of the ticket towards a future trip.
  • Overall Travel Plan
    Evaluate how canceling or changing the flight will impact your overall travel plan. Will it disrupt other arrangements, such as connecting flights, accommodation, or pre-booked activities? Choose the option that maintains the integrity of your travel itinerary while accommodating any necessary adjustments.

Suggested Read – Travel Safe With Trip Cancellation Insurance


In the domain of air travel, where uncertainties and unforeseen circumstances can disrupt even the most meticulously planned itineraries, the decision to cancel or change a flight requires careful consideration. But, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to whether canceling or changing flights is better. It depends on your specific situation and priorities. So, weigh the pros and cons, evaluate the factors, and make an informed decision that aligns with your needs and preferences. 

May your travel adventures be filled with flexibility, convenience, and unforgettable experiences!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much does it cost to change a flight?

A: The cost of changing a flight varies based on the airline you have booked with and the fare class you have purchased. Many airlines have recently waived change fees for economy fares and above, while basic economy fares may still incur change fees. The specific fees can range from approximately $25 to $100 or more, depending on the airline’s policy. 

Q: How much does it cost to cancel a flight?

A: Similar to change fees, the cost of canceling a flight can vary depending on the airline’s policy. However, many airlines have recently reduced or eliminated cancellation fees altogether. To determine the specific cost of canceling your flight, it is advisable to contact your airline directly. 

Q: Is the airline required to provide a hotel room or compensation in case of flight cancellation?

A: According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), airlines have their own policies regarding customer assistance during flight cancellations. While not mandatory, many airlines do offer accommodations. It is advisable to check with airline staff for specific information and assistance.

Q: Can I request to be rebooked on another airline’s flight?

A: Yes, while airlines are not obligated to rebook you on another airline’s flight, they do have the discretion to do so, as stated by the Department of Transportation (DOT). Depending on the circumstances, some airlines may accommodate such requests, but it is subject to availability and their own policies.

Q: Will my boarding pass automatically update if there are involuntary changes to my flight?

A: Yes, in the case of involuntary changes to your flight, such as rescheduling or rebooking, your mobile boarding pass will update automatically. However, to ensure a smooth boarding process, we recommend arriving at the gate well in advance of your flight as a precautionary measure.

That’s almost everything! So, the next time you get confused about what to choose – Cance or change flight, consider this helpful guide.

If you have any further questions or concerns about air travel, our team of knowledgeable travel experts at MyTicketsToIndia is here to assist you. We are available 24/7 to provide you with the necessary information and guidance.


With over 13 years of experience, we specialize in offering the best deals on cheap flights from USA to India and vice versa. Our dedicated team of travel experts strives to assist customers in booking their flight tickets at the most affordable prices. Contact us today or join our live chat to avail of our excellent customer service and secure the best airfare deals.

About Renu Dahiya | View Posts

Renu Dahiya is a passionate writer who worships her profession. Her love for writing has encouraged her to pursue her career as a writer. Her friends call her a “travel worm” and always come to her to know some interesting traveling tips and destinations. Renu is a repository of knowledge about traveling who knows which place should be visited in which season. Oh yes, she is insanely in love with dancing too. Writer, traveler and dancer, a perfect combination! Without a doubt, she is a complete package.

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