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Verifying a ticket’s refundable status

This is not a Europe travel question, but I’m hoping someone can help me out.

I just bought tickets for us to fly to the Caribbean in a few months on American. The tickets are economy, main cabin. After selecting the flights, I was offered the option (“click here”) to make the tickets refundable for an additional $50. I clicked, and the cost went up by the right amount. I purchased the tickets and received my confirmation email.

My question is: how can I confirm that these are actually refundable tickets? I can’t find any verification anywhere. I printed the terms and conditions as I was making the purchase, but the language references only “if the tickets are non refundable,” etc. it’s not specific to MY tickets.

I’d really love to find the specific wording and print it in case I need it for future reference/cancellation.

Can anyone point me to the right place?

Posted by
8632 posts

Doing a dummy booking I see that when "make this refundable" is selected the ticket description changes from 'main cabin' to 'main cabin flexible'

Do you see that on your ticket ?

Posted by
21724 posts

Call American and ASK !!!! Look for ticket class on the ticket that should tell you. And finally you may have purchased insurance to make them refundable. Does your cost breakdown on your ticket show the additional $50?

Posted by
489 posts

joe32F -- I remember that, and it did change to "main cabin flexible." But now that it's booked, those words (or even just "main cabin") do not appear anywhere that I can find when I look at my itinerary on or the app. Wish I would have taken a screen shot as I was booking.

Frank -- Hoping to avoid a call if possible, but I'll definitely do that if I can't find the info. Ticket class says only "economy." I did not purchase insurance (declined the offer), and the $50 is not broken out anywhere on my receipt or the fees list -- the fare is listed only as "Fare," one lump sum.

Thanks for the suggestions.

Posted by
21724 posts

Not to be argumentative, but call them. They are the authority. Rest of us are just guessing. In this situation I would like to have the facts and not an opinion. Especially since it might save you some headache.

Posted by
489 posts

Hi, Frank. Not arguing either, I was just assuming there would be something in black and white available for me to see and that someone could point me to the right place. If it doesn’t exist, I’ll call.

Posted by
11253 posts

There should be a long number--with letters--in regard to fare code. Does it start with an "L"? If yes, and you're looking at the right number, then you have the "flexible" fare.

It may look something like this: L7AIZRN1

Posted by
489 posts

Frank II, thank you for responding.

The only fare code I'm seeing is the booking code that displays when I click on "Print trip and receipt" or e-mail my itinerary to myself. It's just a 1-letter code, in my case "S" for the outbound flights and "N" for the return flights. There is no other fare code anywhere.

Sounds like I'll just have to call them. Sigh.

Posted by
203 posts

I purchased refundable tickets on American Airlines website in December. When I needed to cancel the flights the process was simple and easy online.

Additionally, I had another ticket with them which was non refundable. The flights were changed significantly. Again a refund was issued promptly.

Posted by
310 posts

Hi Deb--
Well, join the club. I purchased a one way domestic non-refundable AA ticket in April 2021. I also thought it was a good deal to click on the "refundable" button during checkout for an extra amount of money. As you pointed out, I should have taken a screen shot to document this extra fee I was charged to make the ticket "refundable".

Then my son's medical condition (the reason I was taking the flight) improved and I cancelled the flight. When I asked about a refund AA said I could get a travel voucher. When I pointed out that I had clicked on the "click here" button to make the ticket refundable for an extra fee, the AA rep said she had never heard of this and I was only allowed a travel voucher that was good for a year from the day the ticket was first issued. This was the time I realized I should have taken a screen shot or hit the WYSIWYG button. So I went into a sulk and criticized my self.
Fast forward to February 2022. Even though I was not planning to fly anyplace due to the virus, I called AA to make sure the voucher was still good until April 2022. During the discussion the AA rep said I had to make the RESERVATION to use the voucher within 1 year of when the ticket was issued, but the actual flight could be sometime within the NEXT year. I was pleasantly surprised by this new information (which turned out to be incorrect).

So I called AA again about a week ago to be sure the extra year to fly was still valid. Actually I asked what happens if I make a reservation before April 2022 for a flight between April 2022 and April 2023 and then made a change during the year April 2022 and April 2023. Do I get another year to take the actual flight? At this point the AA rep went into a huddle with some other folks @ AA. When she came back she said I would have to get a refund. Then I could take the flight whenever I wanted to. After I explained that the other AA reps I had been talking to indicated that I could only get a travel voucher, she said that was funny because the ticket we were talking about was fully refundable if I requested a refund on line. I asked her how to do this and, to make a long story short, she stayed on the telephone and led me through every ( convoluted ) step to apply for a refund. She said the refund should show up in my Credit Card account within 5 to 10 business days.

I just checked and the money has been deposited to my Credit card!!!!! YEA !!!!!!!!

I hope you have the same result- Keep hounding them until you get a rep that will work with you !!!


Posted by
3030 posts

Different airline, but I bought a refundable ticket from Lufthansa last spring. There was nothing in the e-mail or in the online reservation about refundable. It had the same “if refundable” verbiage as you reported.

I had to cancel the flight. When I called, the customer service rep said she could not tell if the ticket was refundable and attempted to get me to take a credit about 14 times, including after putting me on hold allegedly to check with a supervisor. I kindly responded to each credit offer with “I want a refund.” She seemed annoyed and entered the refund request, lecturing me that I was probably going to get a credit. The next day, the $ were back on my credit card.

Moral of the story? Never trust an airline CSR on refund issues. I don’t know if she really couldn’t see the refundable status (I couldn’t!) or if the airline pushes the CSRs to try to get customers to accept credits. If you buy a refundable ticket, stick to your guns and persist in asking for a refund; if nothing else, the refund department seems to be able to see the refundable status.

Posted by
489 posts

Wow, those are some great stories.

raymonelee -- Thanks for sharing, and I'm glad your refund experience was good.

Ken and Dave -- Yup, you are both so right! I've had some great interactions with airline customer service reps over the years (including a fantastic supervisor at Delta last November) and a bunch of other ones where I knew within seconds I'd be (politely) hanging up and trying again. Unfortunately, I think that experienced travelers who know more of the ins and outs have an advantage over folks who don't fly much, which really isn't fair.

I did call American this morning (no wait at 7:30 a.m., nice!) and the rep verified that my tickets are refundable. I asked if I could see this myself somewhere on the reservation, and she said "hmmm.... I don't think so...." She called her help desk, and they verified that this is information that is not visible to me.

So, long story short, you need to call to verify the refund status, at least for American Airlines. And, based on Ken and Dave's experience, if you don't like the answer, be persistent and try another rep.

Thanks for sharing all of your experiences!

Posted by
489 posts

Aimee, I did receive an email confirmation, but it does not indicate if the ticket is refundable. The only “class” designation is “Economy (N)” or “Economy (S).” Nothing else. The fare details show only a total amount for the fare, plus additional fees and taxes, nothing to do with the fare itself.