How to Cancel an American Airlines Flight and claim refund – The American Airlines Cancelation policy
In this super busy world, where everyone is too occupied with work and overloaded with responsibilities, it is often difficult to make travel plans in advance and stick to them. Life is so unpredictable these days and things go so much out of control at times that canceling your flight ticket and dumping your travel plans seem to be the only option in sight. But what about the money you spent on air tickets? Is that refundable? These are the questions that fog your mind in situations like these. And that is where the knowledge of an airline’s cancelation and refund policies becomes absolutely indispensable.
The American Airlines Cancelation policy is a well-prepared blueprint that ensures hassle-free flight cancelations and refunds in unexpected life situations. Here is what you need to know about the policy so that you can make informed decisions while booking your flight ticket and avoid forfeiting your booking amount if something unforeseeable happens in your life.
The American Airlines Cancellation Policy
The American Airlines Flight Cancellation Policy is a system of guidelines, instructions and terms and conditions that help passengers stay prepared for eventualities in life and guide them on cancelation and refund processes to avoid possible monetary losses. The policy talks about who to contact for flight cancelation and refunds, what are the conditions for eligibility and how to claim refunds if eligible. The policy also specifies passengers’ rights to compensation and refunds if American Airlines cancels or delays their flights due to mechanical problems or various other reasons within their control. All of these and more have been discussed below.
Now, for a better understanding of the American Airlines cancellation policy, familiarity with the airline’s fare structure, ticket types and various travel credits is utterly necessary. Therefore, go through the following section first before learning in detail about the different aspects of the policy.
The American Airlines Fare Structure and Ticket Types
American Airlines has a complicated fare structure. It introduces new fares time and again to provide more flexibility to passengers and meet their various travel needs. Currently, the airline offers 9 basic fare types for passengers with various refundable and non-refundable options. These fare types are
- 1. Basic Economy
- 2. Main Cabin
- 3. Main Select
- 4. Main Cabin Extra
- 5. Premium Economy
- 6. Business
- 7. First Class
- 8. Flagship Business
- 9. Flagship First
Many of these fare types are fully refundable while the same are sold to passengers at discounted prices and with lesser privileges as non-refundable fares. Both the refundable and non-refundable options are discussed below.
Flight tickets on which full refunds can be obtained after cancelation are known as refundable tickets. Usually, American Airlines sells the full-fare Economy, Premium Economy, select Main cabin and Business fares as fully refundable tickets. For example, the recently-introduced Main Select is a fully refundable fare. The airline also offers select Economy and Business class tickets as discounted refundable fares at reduced rates. Partial refunds can be obtained on these types of fares.
But passengers can’t claim and receive monetary refunds on non-refundable tickets under normal circumstances.They are issued travel credits for future use equivalent to the value of the non-refundable tickets they canceledupon submission of refund requests. Exceptions are made when a flight is disrupted due to an airline’s fault and under certain permissible emergency reasons. American Airlines offers select Main Cabin, Premium Economy, Business and First Class tickets as non-refundable tickets on which refunds can’t be claimed. The Basic Economy ticket is also a non-refundable ticket but such tickets aren’t allowed to be canceled under normal circumstances as per the terms and conditions of the American Airlines Cancelation policy.
American Airlines Travel Credits
American Airlines issues travel credits to passengers who cancel their non-refundable tickets. Most of the time these are automatically issued in passengers’ names after the ticket cancelation process is complete. Once issued, travel credits reflect on passengers’ online American Airlines accounts. The travel credits issued by American Airlines can be used for future travel. They have an expiry date which is usually one year from the dates of their issuance unless specified otherwise by American Airlines at the time of flight ticket purchase. American has three types of travel credits which are non-transferable, non-refundable and non-returnable. They can’t be advertised, bartered, sold, or exchanged for cash or cheques. They are also non-replaceable if lost, misused or stolen. Here they are,
Flight Credits are issued by American Airlines after passengers cancel their reservations due to any reason. Flight Credits can be redeemed online on the official American Airlines website or by contacting American Airlines Reservations up to one year from the dates of their issuance. They can also be redeemed at the airports. Flight Credits can be used to purchase tickets in the future. They can be redeemed to pay for base fares, taxes, fees and charges. But they can’t be used for buying additional services or travel options such as preferred seating, extra baggage or any product associated with award travel or American Airlines Vacations. Flight Credits can only be used by passengers on whose names they were issued for their own flight bookings in the future. They can’t be used for purchasing tickets for someone else. Also, if flight credits are used for online ticket booking through the official website, the itinerary would be limited to flights within the US, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
Trip Credits are issued to passengers as compensation for disrupted flights and as refunds to passengers who have no problem with storing the value of their canceled flight tickets for future use. They are also issued to settle the remaining value after redeeming the flight credits. Though Trip Credits are non-transferable and non-changeable, passengers, in whose names these were originally issued, can use them to book flight tickets for others in the future. Trip Credits can only be redeemed online or by directly contacting American Airlines Reservations. They can’t be redeemed at the airport kiosks and through any other ticketing channel including travel agencies.
Electronic Travel Vouchers
American Airlines also issues Electronic Travel Vouchers or eVouchers for US passengers. These eVouchers are not redeemable at airports or through travel agencies. They can only be redeemed online or by calling the American Airlines Reservations for flights originating within the US, to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
American Airlines Award Tickets
Award tickets are purchased by redeeming accrued miles and reward points. American Airlines rewards passengers who fly with it regularly in the form of accumulated miles under its AAdvantage frequent flier program. Passengers who book tickets with these award miles can also cancel them anytime if there is a sudden need. Though the cancelation terms depend on individual fare rules, passengers can get their miles on eligible tickets redeposited to their AAdvantage accounts within up to 1 year from the original ticket issue date. American Airlines doesn’t charge any cancelation fee or redeposit fee from passengers to cancel award tickets and reinstate miles. More on award tickets have been discussed later in this article.
The American Airlines Cancelation Policy Guidelines
The basic rules, guidelines and terms and conditions associated with American Airlines Cancelation policy are mentioned in the points below.
- i. The American Airlines Cancelation policy allows passengers to cancel their flights anytime in the event of unavoidable circumstances subject to individual fare terms and conditions.
- ii. American Airlines has stopped charging passengers any cancelation fee irrespective of fare types. It also doesn’t charge any cancelation fee on award tickets.
- iii. American Airlines offers fully refundable, partially refundable and non-refundable air fares. Most refundable fares are offered in the Main Cabin, Premium Economy and premium First Class and Business Class sections. It also offers Basic Economy tickets which are completely non-changeable, non-cancelable and non-refundable. Basic Economy tickets come with additional restrictions imposed on them.
- iv. As per the American AirlinesCancelation policy, Passengers are eligible for full refunds on refundable tickets. They are not allowed to claim and obtain full refunds on non-refundable fares under normal circumstances.
- v. The word, full refunds, as per the American Airlines Cancelation policy, refers to the value of canceled tickets minus non-refundable taxes which must be paid as per law irrespective of whether the passenger travels or not.
- vi. Passengerscanceling non-refundable tickets are issued travel credits that can be redeemed for future flight bookings. The American Airlines Cancelation policy doesn’t allow passengers to use travel credits for purchasing additional products and services and trip options associated with American Airlines Vacations.
- vii. All refunds are made to the original forms of payment within 7 business days. More on the American Airlines Refund policy has been discussed later in this article.
- viii. American Airlines has a 24-hour cancelation policy which allows passengers to cancel their flight tickets within 24 hours of purchase and claim full refunds on them irrespective of the fares they have booked. Even Basic Economy tickets are eligible for full refunds if canceled within 24 hours of purchase. The American Airlines 24-hour cancelation policy has been discussed in detail in later sections of this article.
- ix. As per the American Airlines Cancelation policy and the terms of the general Conditions of carriage, passengers are eligible for receiving full refunds irrespective of the fare types they have booked if their flights are canceled or delayed by American Airlines without prior warning due to mechanical problems or reasons within their control.
- x. Passengers with award tickets under the American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flier program are allowed to cancel their flight tickets anytime due to changes in plans, and get their miles redeposited to their AAdvantage accounts as per the rules of the American Airlines Cancelation policy.
- xi. American Airlines doesn’t charge its passengers any redeposit fee for reinstating miles.
- xii. American Airlines has a stringent no-show policy. Passengers missing their flights and failing to cancel up to 2 hours before departure have to forfeit their entire booking money under the American Airlines Cancelation policy.
- xiii. All connecting flights are automatically canceled and the value of the tickets become zero if a passenger doesn’t cancel his booking up to 2 hours before departure and misses his first flight.
How to Cancel Flights with American Airlines?
Dumping your travel plans and canceling your flight ticket may not be the most ideal thing as per your scheme of things, but, sometimes, those are the only options you have in the events of unavoidable circumstances in life. Therefore, knowledge of the flight cancelation process is a must to reduce the hassles and fix things fast.This section educates you on how to cancel an American Airlines flight. It discusses both the online and offline procedures systematically. Here they are.
Online Ticket Cancelation
You can cancel your American Airlines flight ticket online in a few easy steps discussed below.
- i. First, visit the homepage of the official American Airlines website, www.aa.com . Click on the blue ‘Log In’ button right under the search bar. You need to be registered on the website to log in this way. If you are yet to sign up, click on the ‘Join’ button right beside ‘Log In,’ fill up your complete personal details and submit.
- ii. Once you are signed up, click on the ‘Log In’ button and you’ll be redirected to the login page. No need to worry if you are not yet an AAdvantage member. You can still log in to your account by entering your last name, your American Airlines username and password in the designated boxes and clicking on the blue ‘Log In’ button below.
- iii. On the new page, click on ‘Your Trips/Check In’ between the ‘Book’ and ‘Flight Status options. Enter your first and last names and your booking confirmation number in the designated boxes and click on the “Find your trip” button below.
- iv. If you are an AAdvantage member, you’ll not be required to enter these details on this page, as all your upcoming trips will show here as soon as you log in.
- v. Assuming that you are not an AAdvantage member, once you click on the “Find your trip” button, your entire trip details including your booked flight number, flight date and time would be retrieved.
- vi. Here, you will find the options, ‘Change Trip’ and ‘Cancel Trip’ on top of the trip details page. Now, click on ‘Cancel Trip’ to cancel your flight.
After you cancel your flight, American Airlines will send you a cancelation confirmation email with the canceled ticket number for future reference. The process of applying for a refund has been discussed separately later in this article. If you are an AAdvantage member, the travel credit you are eligible for would be automatically added to your account.
Ticket Cancelation by Calling American Airlines Reservations
Passengers who booked their flights directly from American Airlines can also cancel their tickets offline by contacting American Airlines Reservations. They can contact Reservations by dialing the toll-free phone number, +1- 800-433-7300 or +1-888-261-0054 and talk to an American Airlines representative before submitting their cancelation request.
Cancelation through Travel Agency
The American Airlines Cancelation policy specifically instructs passengers to return to their original source of booking for canceling flight tickets. Therefore, passengers should go back to the same travel agencies for canceling their reservations from where they booked their flight tickets. Travel agencies have their own reservation systems, and passengers can get their reservations canceled online in a quick time without any hassle.
American Airlines A Advantage Miles Cancelation Policy
American Airlines, under its A Advantage frequent flier program, rewards passengers who frequently travel on its flights with reward points and miles that accrue over time with every air travel undertaken. Passengers can redeem these points and miles to book flights, hotels and vacations and purchase various other travel-related products and services. But if their travel plans change due to unavoidable situations, passengers are allowed to cancel the award tickets as per the rules of the American Airlines Cancelation policy and get their miles back into their accounts. The rules, terms and conditions for canceling award tickets and reinstating miles are listed below.
- i. Passengers, who booked their award ticketsdirectly from American, must cancel their award trips through the official American Airlines website or by contacting the American Airlines Reservations.
- ii. If passengers cancel their award tickets online through the official website, miles are automatically redeposited to their AAdvantage accounts in most cases even if no additional request is made.
- iii. American Airlines doesn’t charge any redeposit fee for reinstating award miles.
- iv. American Airlines refunds the taxes and fees paid by passengers up to 1 year from the original ticket issue date minus the non-refundable taxes that must be paid irrespective of whether they travel or not.
- v. There are certain situations when passengers must contact American Airlines Reservations by phone to get their miles reinstated even if they canceled their award flight ticket online through the website. These special situations are as follows.
(a) If the travel has already started and the passenger wants to cancel the remaining part of the journey.
(b) The travel involves connecting flights operated by partner airlines.
(c) The award ticket was originally booked outside the US on any other language version of the official website.
The American Airlines 24-Hour Cancellation Policy
American Airlines has a 24-Hour Cancelation policy that allows passengers to cancel flights within 24 hours of purchase and obtain full refunds on them irrespective of the fare type they booked. The rules of this policy override the general terms and conditions of the American Airlines Cancelation Policy. The rules of the 24-Hour Cancellation policy are applicable under the following conditions.
- i. The tickets must be canceled within 24 hours of purchase. The 24 hours are counted from the exact time the ticket is purchased till the time the cancelation request is submitted.
- ii. The original ticket must be purchased at least 2 hours before the scheduled departure.
- iii. To qualify for full refunds under the policy, the trips must be canceled first within 24 hours of booking.
- iv. The bookings must be canceled through the original booking sources.
Also, passengers should remember the following points to benefit from the American Airlines 24-Hour Cancellation Policy.
- i. The full refunds issued to passengers by American Airlines under its 24-Hour Cancellation Policy are not equivalent to the total booking amounts paid. The word, full refunds, means refunds minus non-refundable taxes, fees and charges imposed by law and service charges paid during booking through American Airlines Reservations.
- ii. The rules of the 24-Hour Cancellation policy do not apply to group bookings.
- iii. The rules of the American Airlines 24-Hour Cancellation Policyhold true irrespective of fare types and associated terms and conditions. The policy rules apply to Basic Economy tickets as well.
American Airlines No Show Policy
As per the rules of the American Airlines Cancelation policy, the tickets that haven’t been canceled before the departure of flights lose their value if their owners don’t show up. The value of such tickets becomes zero and they can’t be converted to future flight credits. In cases of connected travel, the value of the remaining flight tickets becomes zero if passengers miss their first flights. Also, the remaining flight tickets can’t be used for future travel in such cases. To express it differently, Passengers lose their entire booking amount if they miss their flights as per the rules ofAmerican Airlines No Show Policy.
American Airlines Cancellation Fees
Post-COVID, American Airlines has completely eliminated all kinds of cancelation fees on domestic non-refundable tickets, all short-haul international non-refundable tickets and select long-haul international non-refundable flight tickets. This No Cancelation fee policy applies to all Business, Premium Economy, and Main Cabin fares. However, it excludes the Basic Economy fare on which changes, cancelations and refunds aren’t allowed under normal circumstances.Cancelation fees and Redeposit Fees have been waived for award tickets as well. The below table provides a quick understanding of the American Airlines Cancellation Fees structure.
||Cancelation Fees ($)
The American Airlines Refund Policy
The American Airlines Refund policy is short and simple that reiterates the basic principles of flight ticket refund in a fuss-free manner. The key takeaways from the policy have been put down in the points below.
- i. The first and the most important point is that as per the American Airlines Refund Policy, all American Airlines tickets are not eligible for a refund.In American Airlines terminology, the word, refund, is used in its original sense, referring to only the cash paybacks. The word doesn’t indicate value-based future credits and points or miles.
- ii. American Airlines doesn’t issue any refund against non-refundable fares under normal circumstances. However, exceptions to this rule are made under the following conditions.
a. The non-refundable ticket is canceled within 24 hours of purchase
b. The scheduled departure of the flight is delayed by more than 4 hours due to reasons within American Airlines control and the passenger decides to cancel his trip.
c. There is a change in the flight’s schedule within 72 hours of the original departure and the new departure time is already behind the original schedule by 90 minutes or more and the passenger decides to cancel the trip.
d. The passenger who was supposed to undertake the air travel or his travel companion is dead.
e. The passenger is a military personnel and he has a change in duty or orders.
- iii. Future travel credits can be issued against non-refundable tickets depending on individual fare rules. Passengers can store the unused value of the canceled American Airlines tickets into these travel credits which can be used for future flight purchases.
- iv. New trips purchased with future travel credits must begin within one year of the original ticket’s issue dates.
- v. As per the American Airlines Refund policy, the word, full refund, refers to the refund issued after the deduction of the following from the value of the canceled tickets.
a. Non-refundable charges, fees and taxes
b. Service charges paid at the time of booking flight tickets through the American Airlines Reservations
- vi. The American Airlines 24-hour Cancelation and Refund policy allows passengers to obtain full refunds on their flight tickets irrespective of the fare types they booked if they cancel their reservations and apply for a refund within 24 hours of purchase.
- vii. To be eligible for refunds under the 24-hour Cancelation policy, passengers must cancel their flights at least 2 days before departure.
- viii. Group bookings aren’t eligible for a refund under the 24-hour Cancelation and Refund Policy.
- ix. As per the rules of the American Airlines Refund policy, passengers can submit online refund requests or process their refunds by contacting American Airlines Reservations only if the tickets are directly purchased from American Airlines sources.
- x. The American Airlines Refund policy doesn’t stop any passenger from submitting refund requests online if he has hard copy paper tickets with him, but it directs such passengers to send the original paper tickets to the American Airlines office in Phoenix by postal mail. The address is given below,
Attention: Passenger Refunds
4000E, Sky Harbor Blvd.
Phoenix, AZ - 85034
- xi. As per the American Airlines Refund policy, individual refund requests must be made for each product purchased along with the refund request submitted for the flight ticket.
- xii. All refund requests submitted will go through a review from American Airlines. The airline will check the eligibility of the passenger regarding refunds and suggest the available options.
- xiii. As a procedural requirement, it is mandatory to cancel the reservation before applying for a refund.
- xiv. All refund requests must be submitted before the canceled tickets’ validity period is over which is one year from the original date of ticket purchase. As per the rules, refund requests are not processed on expired tickets.
- xv. As per the standard norms of the American Airlines Refund policy, all refunds are made to the original forms of payment used during the purchase of tickets.
- xvi. Refunds are processed within 7 business days if a credit card was used as the original method of payment at the time of ticket purchase.
- xvii. The processing time for refunds is up to 20 business days for payments made by cash or cheque.
- xviii. Under the American Airlines Refund policy terms and conditions, certain destination-specific charges, fees and taxes are refundable and can be sent back to the original forms of payment used by passengers if they submit written requests.
- xix. As per the standard rules, charges, fees and taxes that are non-refundable by law and which American Airlines is obligated to pay to the Government regardless of travel, can’t be refunded to the passengers despite written requests.
- xx. As per the terms and conditions of the American Airlines Refund policy, passengers are eligible for a refund of travel options and additional services purchased such as pet fees, bag fees, priority boarding and same-day flight change or standby if they cancel their flights and are unable to use any of these.
- xxi. If the travel options and products and services specified above are used on an alternate flight, no refund on the same is provided to the passenger.
How to request an online refund from American Airlines?
To request an online refund with American Airlines, passengers must cancel their reservations first and as a prerequisite the original tickets must have been purchased directly from American Airlines sources. The step-by-step process for requesting an online refund is discussed below.
- i. First, visit the homepage of the official American Airlines website and scroll all the way down to the footer menu.Check out the first column named ‘Help,’ and click on the 2nd menu called “Receipts and Refunds.”
- ii. This would land you on the “Receipts and Refunds” page.Now, click on the blue “Request a Refund” hyperlink under the Refunds section.
- iii. This would take you to a new page with an “Important Refund Notice” written below the “American Airlines” heading.
- iv. On the right-hand side, just below that “Important Refund Notice” there are these two boxes where you need to enter your last name and ticket number and then click on the blue ‘Submit’ button.
- v. This would retrieve your flight details.Now, request your refund from the trip details page by following the instructions given.
Please note that to obtain refunds on the additional products and services you purchased, you must submit separate refund requests for each of the items, apart from the one you submit for your flight ticket. Also, all refund requests submitted are subject to eligibility checks from American Airlines who inform passengers about the available refund options.
How to check the refund status online for your American Airlines ticket?
Checking the refund status online for your American Airlines flight ticket is even easier than requesting a refund. Here are the steps.
- i. Start the process by visiting the homepage of the official website and scroll down to the footer menu.
- ii. Click on the “Receipts and Refunds” menu under the ‘Help’ column. This would land you on the “Receipts and Refunds” page.
- iii. Click on the blue hyperlink called “Check the status of a refund”under the Refunds section of the page.
- iv. This would open the “Refund Status” page with three boxes placed horizontally on the same line one after another.
- v. Enter details like your first and last names and your original ticket number inside the designated boxes, and click on the blue ‘Search’ button on the right-hand side. This would open your current refund status.