Non-refundable airline tickets

Has anyone ever gotten a refund on nonrefundable airline tickets? I do understand the term “nonrefundable” but wondered if anyone had ever gotten around that.

The distant relative I planned on visiting passed away recently and the need to visit no longer exists. I have no desire at this time to reschedule a trip somewhere else and to pay a penalty fee for selecting a different location to travel to.

A word of caution; the next time you purchase tickets make sure they are refundable and understand the return policy.


The reason people get refundable tickets is because they are much, much cheaper than regular full-fare, completely changeable tickets. Even if they change them a couple of times, they are still usually cheaper. Once in a while there is a situation like yours but that doesn’t happen very often.

You probably have a year to change the ticket and for domestic flights the penalty is often very little - $25 or $50. Check with the airline.

fee vary with airline, but I think you will find the days of $25-50 for a change long gone.
United I know for a fact charges $100.

Getting back to the OP, you might try asking the airlines customer service dept if they might make an exception. tell them you can supply a death cert if necessary (this will let them know that you are not making this up) be very nice, and grovel as necessary.
At worst you will be no worse off then you are right now.

Well I changed a ticket, either United or Delta, two times this past April - once they didn’t charge me anything (even though they were supposed to - she said she was going to put in some code so that they would waive the fee) and the next time it was $25.00. And I’ve bought several other tickets in the past 6 months where the change fee was clearly stated as being $25.00. So they do exist. (These were all domestic flights - not international.)

Delta charges $100 to change a US flight. You must also make the change before the original flight departure time. See here.

However, if you are changing flights within three hours of the new flights departure (what you used to be able to do for free as “standby”), they charge $25.

With respect to the OP, I’d have thought they may well make an exception under the circumstances.

In my experience, most airlines will waive the penalty in event of a death causing a change in plans, but you will need to furnish death certificate or other proof of death.