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As travel commitments remain in flux, many passengers are canceling or modifying upcoming flights. While most airlines have relaxed cancellation policies, the process can be confusing when modifying flights booked through an online travel agency, or OTA.
When you book with agencies such as Travelocity, Orbitz or Priceline, you essentially agree to both the terms and conditions of the OTA and the airline, and many travelers may feel caught in limbo between both.
Unfortunately, it can be challenging to make changes for nonrefundable flights booked through a third-party agency. Even so, here's our best advice to help you figure out how to get a refund from a travel agency.
Tips to cancel airline tickets booked through an online travel agency
Don’t bother calling
With an onslaught in call volume and extended hold times, OTAs have sent out a plea for customers to refrain from calling to make changes unless you’re scheduled to fly in the next 72 hours.
Cancel using chat
Agencies like Expedia have implemented a virtual agent who will guide you through the process of canceling your booking and answer other questions.
Cancel online with My Trips
Most agencies have added new options to change or cancel your trip online. Using "Manage My Trip" or a similar option allows you to make hassle-free changes without having to call.
Submit a Cancel Request Form
Some OTAs, like Orbitz, offer the option of filling out an online form to cancel your booking. Simply include your itinerary number, email and phone number to submit. Once the form is completed, you will receive an email confirmation.
Cancel with the airline directly
If contacting your online travel agency is getting you nowhere, try connecting with the airline directly. You can track down the airline record locator number through your confirmation itinerary email. Even if you booked through an OTA, some airlines are able to help you directly.
Keep in mind that if your flight is canceled by the airline, many third-party sites will give you a refund. Orbitz recently posted on Twitter that if an airline cancels your flight, there is no need to call. They will automatically refund the cost of your flight back to the original form of payment.
The bottom line
Travel guidelines are still changing, with new policies evolving daily. Therefore, it may be wise to wait until your travel date is approaching to cancel or modify your flight. Make sure to check with your airline and online travel agency for the latest policy developments.
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