Can you cancel an American Airlines flight? Yes — and in fact, you have a variety of options to get the job done. While making travel plans these days can be unpredictable and many times out of your control, the airline has simplified policies to add flexibility for passengers.
Here's what you need to know about canceling an American Airlines flight plus tips to help you nix your flight if you booked with cash or miles.
American Airlines' cancellation policy
It can be difficult to comb through terms and conditions to understand airline policies. Here's a summary of the main points of the American Airlines flight cancellation policy:
All cancellations on American apply only to purchases made directly with American Airlines. If you bought your ticket from a travel agent or website, you must contact the agency directly.
All flights may be canceled for a full refund within 24 hours of purchase when booked at least two days before departure.
If you purchase a refundable ticket, you are eligible to cancel your flight for a full refund by requesting a refund online or by contacting reservations.
If you purchase a nonrefundable ticket, you aren't eligible for a refund after the 24 hour grace period. However, if you cancel a flight before departure, you can apply the unused value of eligible fares toward a future trip, so long as the new flight takes place within one year of the original ticket issue date.
For new travel booked by March 31, 2021, American is extending the change fee waiver for all flights, including basic economy fares and AAdvantage award tickets.
Currently, you are allowed to make changes to your trip once only, and although the change fees will be waived, you may still owe any difference in ticket price. But if your new flight is less expensive than the value of your original ticket, American will issue you a travel credit for the difference.
Note that the flight cancellation policy for American Airlines depends on the type of fare you booked and when you booked it.
How to cancel your American Airlines flight
To cancel a flight, contact reservations within the U.S. or Canada by calling 800-433-7300. Alternatively, you can cancel an American Airlines flight online at aa.com.
First, navigate toward your trips from the homepage and enter your flight confirmation code. Then, follow the prompts to locate your flight booking and cancel.
Once you’ve canceled your flight, you’ll receive an email confirmation from American, which will include your ticket number. Be sure to keep this email as a reference to rebook your next flight.
» Learn more: How to find the best travel insurance
How to change or rebook your American Airlines flight
If you need to make changes to a current flight, you can call reservations or access your reservation online:
Go to aa.com and look for "Manage trips/Check-in" on the homepage. Enter your record locator number and look for the "Change trip" option to make your desired changes.
AAdvantage members can login to their account and change reservations in "My trips/Check-in." After logging in, simply find the "Change trip" option.
Keep in mind that you can only make online changes up to two hours before your flight if your travel was booked through American.
If you don't see the "Change trip" option after entering your trip, you must call reservations.
When you’re ready to rebook a flight that was already canceled, you can do so online (look for the "View canceled trips" option within "Manage trips/Check-in") or call reservations.
Be sure to have your record locator number, as well as your ticket number. Your ticket number may be found in the cancellation email sent to you by American when you canceled your flight.
How to get a refund on American Airlines
For flights booked with cash
If you need to request a refund, there’s no need to contact customer service, which doesn't handle refunds. If you do, you'll be directed to the refund website.
To save time, go directly to AA.com/refunds. There, you’ll have the option to request a refund or check the status of a pending refund. At this time, the airline doesn't offer a phone number and must be contacted through the website or by mail.
Nerdy tip: Keep in mind that requesting a refund requires that you cancel your reservation first.
To request a refund, you’ll need the ticket number and the last name of the passenger. Once you enter your info, the refund department will advise you of eligibility and options.
If you need to contact the refund department after you have requested a refund:
Go to AA.com/refunds and scroll down to the bottom of the page.
Under "Customer Service," click on "Contact Refunds."
Here, you will have the option to voice your concerns about a refund but don't use this form to request a refund, it is for other communications with the refund team only.
You can also fax the refund department at:
International fax: 480-693-2759
For flights booked with miles
American also notes that you shouldn't use the refunds page for award flights. If you need to get miles back from an award booking, you’ll need to head over to the AAdvantage section or call 1-800-882-8880.
» Learn more: Does travel insurance cover award flights?
The bottom line
Changing your travel plans may be disappointing, but knowing how to navigate the system can help streamline the process and alleviate some stress. American now offers some flexible choices for rebooking or changing your flight, including no current change fees, but it's helpful to understand the cancellation policy prior to booking. Before you cancel or make changes to your American Airlines flight, make sure you know all of your options.
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