Changing your flights? Here’s how to avoid paying sky-high fees, from steering clear of discount fare categories to making adjustments online
- The rules specific to your ticket should always be available before you book
- If you’ve booked directly with the carrier, it’s cheaper to make changes online
- Many budget carriers such as easyJet offer more flexible ticket options
We’ve all been tempted by a bargain air fare, but what starts out as a steal could end up costing you hundreds in penalty fees should you want to change your plans.
If flexibility is important, steer clear of discount fare categories such as Virgin Atlantic’s ‘Economy Light’ or American Airlines’ ‘Basic Economy’, as these come with the very highest fees.
The rules specific to your ticket should always be available before you book.
When it comes to bargain air fares, what starts out as a steal could end up costing you hundreds in penalty fees should you want to change your plans
If in doubt, ask your travel agent or search online for the ‘conditions of carriage’ of your carrier.
If you’ve booked directly with the airline, it’s almost always cheaper to make changes online.
British Airways will typically charge £30 per ticket for changes made via their call centre and £40 at an airport ticket office.
This is on top of any other penalties incurred, which can rise to hundreds of pounds once any change fees and fare difference are added on.
To make changes online, look for the ‘Manage my booking’ section of the website.
Don’t forget that many budget carriers also offer more flexible ticket options.
Flexible ticket options such as easyJet’s ‘Flexi’ fare and Ryanair’s ‘Flexi Plus’ may cost more up front, but could save you hundreds if your plans are likely to change
For example, easyJet’s ‘Flexi’ fare allows free flight changes a day either side of your original departure, with route changes possible at a reduced rate.
Even Ryanair has a more passenger-friendly choice. Its ‘Flexi Plus’ ticket has no change fees, with only a difference in fare payable.
Both of these options cost more up front, but could save you hundreds if your plans are likely to change.