Tickets, Schedule Changes and Fares

Guidance on tickets, schedule changes and fares

After you purchase your ticket, you may need to amend or cancel your flight. You can be charged for making any changes to your ticket and the charges can vary from around £50.00-£160.00.

Should I book a flexible fare?

There are many different ticket types, but the key difference is whether you have booked a flexible fare or a ticket or a fixed fare / ticket.

A fixed ticket allows you to travel only on the date and time you chose when you booked. If you are likely to want to amend these, you might want to consider purchasing a flexible fare which is fully refundable and you might not be charged for any changes that you wish to make. Many airlines offer this and it may cost you more than your standard airfare, but after you purchase your fare you won’t have to pay any extra to make any changes.

What if I have not booked a flexible fare?

If you decide not to purchase a flexible fare, but you need to make some changes, you may incur additional charges.
 
Will I be charged for making changes to my booking?

Some airlines will allow small corrections to names for a few hours after you book your flight, sometimes for a fee but other airlines will not charge. If you need to change your details at a later date, you might be required to pay for a new ticket or the increase in the fare price, plus any amendment fees.  The cost of the amendment fee will be a fixed price or the price may vary depending on the proximity of your departure date from the date you have requested your change. The charges airlines can make for changing your booking can vary from around £50 - £160. The amount will depend on the airline you are travelling with and the type of change or amendment you are requesting. In addition to any fees, you may also be charged an agent fee (if you booked through an agent).

The following might be useful to bear in mind when booking your ticket:

  • Consider whether your plans might change, as this might mean that a flexible fare would be appropriate.
  • Make sure that you spell all passenger names as they appear on passports – you may be charged for making a correction.
  • Check if the changes can be made online, as this might be cheaper than using the telephone.
  • If you need to make changes to your journey due to exceptional circumstances, e.g. bereavement, the airline may waive its fee.

Where can I find information about charges to change my flight?

  • Many airlines publish a fees and charges table on their website, which will advise a passenger of the different type of charge attached to each change. On other airlines’ websites, there won’t be a table as such, but it may be placed in the small print. If in doubt, or if you cannot find the information, you will have to call the airline.
  • If you opt for a refund, the amount refunded will not include any debit or credit card charges you incurred at the time of booking; it might not include any extras you have paid for either.

Where the airline has made a change to your flight

What changes can an airline make to my flight?

Where an airline has made a change to your flight (the flight time for example) it is known as a schedule change. This is not the same as cancelling flights. Schedule changes should always be notified to passengers at least 14 days in advance, and the change should only be to the time or the date and not the flight number.

Airlines typically advise in their terms and conditions that the time of the flight does not form part of the contract and that it may be subject to change. 

What can I do if the time is significantly altered and the new time does not work for me?

What is a significant change? This has not been defined in any legislation or court of law and may vary from case to case. However, if the change is significant to you but does not fall within the airline’s definition, we suggest that you advise the airline why the change is significant.

If the airline changes your flight time significantly, you may be entitled to a refund or a more suitable alternative.  In many cases airline terms and conditions set out this right, but even if they do not you can still request it.  If you have used a part of your flight (i.e. if you are using your return leg or a connection flight) and you ask for a refund, you will only be refunded the amount for that part of the journey.

What if I have booked a hotel or hired a car but I am affected by a schedule change?

Airlines have no responsibility for any losses you may incur through schedule changes. So if you’ve booked a hotel, and can’t stay in it due to your airline changing their schedule, then the airline is not liable for the costs of the hotel. Check if your insurance covers you for this.

Check the terms and conditions as not all airlines will provide you with the same alternatives, some airlines will provide you with a credit rather than a refund.

We suggest that you should check the following:

  • Before you accept a schedule change, check that the flight number has not changed. If the flight number has changed, it might be a cancellation.
  • If it is a cancellation within 14 days of your departure date you might be entitled to compensation and a refund.
  • Check the airline’s small print; they might not be offering you what they are obliged to, such as a similar but alternative flight to the one you booked or a refund if this cannot be arranged.
  • Check if you are entitled to a refund or a credit voucher of some sort.

Airlines should tell you about the changes to your flight schedule. So that this message can reach you, make sure you give the agent or the airline correct contact details. Just in case the message has not reached you, it is important to check that your flight times are still the same as you get close to departure. You may have to buy a new ticket if you turn up at the airport and your flight has left.

Providing up to date contact details to the airline helps them to keep in contact with you and let you know about any schedule changes. Check your junk or spam email folder for any updates from the airline.

Other information:

The level of air fares is not subject to CAA regulation

The CAA decided in 2006 to remove the last remaining elements of fares regulation, the focus of which had already been narrowing as increased competition removed the need for it. The CAA believes that the interests of users are best served if airlines are free to set their own prices without regulatory intervention, subject only to the application of normal competition policy.