Saved By Free Cancellation Of Airline Tickets Within 24 Hours

I’ve started to develop a really bad habit when it comes to booking airline tickets.

Most of the tickets I book are via Alaska Airlines, and my MVP Gold elite status allows me to change or cancel bookings with no fees. That policy not only applies to award tickets, but all revenue tickets as well, even when traveling on American Airlines or Delta. So while it seems completely obvious to double-check that you’re actually booking a flight on the correct date, I haven’t had to pay much attention due to the ease of re-booking with Alaska Airlines.

Well, that bad habit came back to bite me in the ass yesterday. I’ve been in the process of planning a trip to Japan that involves stops in several cities, and it’s been an iterative process to say the least with an itinerary that is probably on version 12.0 at this point. Last night, with one eye on my computer and the other on Better Call Saul, I fired up the ANA website and hastily booked my domestic flights around Japan.

I was feeling great about checking this item off my to-do list, and pulled up my hotel bookings to enter my arrival information. Oh, crap. In my head I thought that I had all of the dates straight, but I’d forgotten that I had made some final tweaks to the schedule. The end result was 2 sets of tickets that were off by 1 day each.

Since I had booked the special “Experience Japan” fare through ANA, I figured that my $90/ticket was long gone. But I pulled up the terms and conditions anyways, and to my surprise while generally quite restrictive, the fare still allowed free cancellations within 24 hours. This policy is standard for fares booked with US airlines, but I wasn’t positive that it would be the case for international tickets not touching the US.

ana experience japan fare

I wasn’t allowed to cancel online, but made sure to call early the next morning to cancel via phone which was an easy and smooth process, despite the 30 minute hold time.

So just a reminder that it’s usually a good idea to double-check your itinerary before you book your flights (duh). But it’s always a good idea to check your flight confirmation immediately after to ensure that your booking is 100% accurate (name, DOB, departure time and date, etc.) and to take advantage of the 24-hour free cancellation period.

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