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The Cheat Sheet to Flight Refunds (Within 24 Hours)

Shit, booked the wrong connection? Each airline gives customers 24 hours to cancel and change their ticket, without penalty. And we’ve got the deets.

Though it’s not something widely publicized—can you imagine what would happen if they did?—the airline industry actually has a consumer-friendly policy out of all things. At the risk of ruining a good thing, I’m not going to question it. Instead, we’ve just compiled a quick chart of all the airlines’ policies and any stipulations you might want to be aware of when booking your ticket.

The friendliest of the bunch are United, Frontier, Southwest and Virgin America. Everyone else has got something else you may want to be mindful about — especially in the case of American. But if you learn to play your cards right, you can even hold a flight for 48 hours before you decide to change your mind. Shh, it’s my dirty little secret.

Airline Time Period Stipulations
Alaska 24 hours Can receive Alaska air credit if after 24 hours. 
American* 24 hours It’s not a 24-hour refund policy in the truest sense; instead they offer a 24-hour hold period for itineraries booked up to seven days in advance. Can receive credit to use towards different flight through American within one year after 24 hours. 
Delta 24 hours Must originate and depart from the United States or its surrounding nearby territories.
Frontier 24 hours Flight must be purchased more than a week (168 hours) in advance.
JetBlue 24 hours None. (After 24 hours, flight can be cancelled 60 days in advance with no fee.)
Southwest 24 hours Flights can be cancelled up to 10 minutes before departure.
Spirit 24 hours Flight must be purchased more than a week in advance.
United 24 hours Possible to hold for 48 hours using this cash trick.
US Airways 24 hours Flight must be purchased more than a week in advance. Doesn’t apply to award tickets.
Virgin America 24 hours  None.

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