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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 one 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 to be aware of when booking a ticket.

The friendliest of the bunch are United, Frontier, Southwest and Virgin America. Everyone else has got something else up their sleeve — especially in the case of American, which used to only be a hold. 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.

AirlineTime PeriodStipulations
Alaska24 hoursCan make one change, or request for a refund.
American24 hoursRefunds are available for flights booked up to two days in advance.
Delta24 hoursMust originate and depart from the United States or its surrounding nearby territories. Cancellation for itineraries originating outside the United States, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico or Canada cannot be completed online.
Frontier24 hoursFlight must be purchased more than a week (168 hours) in advance.
JetBlue24 hoursFlight must be purchased more than a week (7 days) in advance. Does not apply to JetBlue Vacations reservations. (Note: They will refund any difference if the price drops within 5 days of booking, in the form of a voucher.)
Southwest24 hoursNone.
Spirit24 hoursFlight must be purchased more than a week in advance.
United24 hoursPossible to hold for 48 hours using this cash trick. Flight must be purchased more than a week in advance.
Virgin America24 hoursNone.
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