If an Airline Cancels Your Flight, Here's How to Get Your Money Back

When an airline cancels your flight due to weather conditions or issues outside of its control, there are still steps to be completed on your end to get a full refund. Just because you receive an email notification that your flight's been canceled does not mean a refund or travel credit will automatically be issued to your account. In fact, most airlines require you to cancel your reservation (yes, you have to cancel your already canceled flight) before submitting a refund request (yes, you usually have to request a refund). It's also important to manage your flight before the scheduled departure time in order to qualify for a full refund.

Each airline varies in its process, but we've sifted through the fine print of the following major carriers in the US to clear up any confusion. Tip: always subscribe to flight updates so you're notified of any schedule changes.

  1. American Airlines: You have to request a refund online. Call the airline to get your ticket number if you don't have that information already, and submit that along with your last name. Your form will be processed for approval, and you should receive your refund within one to two bill cycles.
  2. Virgin America: Guests are able to request a full refund or credit to their Travel Bank by contacting 1-877-FLY-VIRGIN (1-877-359-8474). Virgin will process all requests within seven business days if paid with a credit card and 20 business days if paid by cash or check.
  3. Alaska Airlines: Submit your confirmation code or eticket number with your last name on the airline's cancellation page to receive a refund if you choose not to book an alternate date. You can also speak to a representative at 1-800-252-7522. Service fees will be waived, and you should be refunded within seven business days if you paid by credit card or 20 business days if you paid by cash or check (though it may take seven to 14 days for your bank to process on its end). You may also email refunds@alaskaair.com to check your refund status.
  4. Southwest Airlines: You will receive flight credit for future travel or a full refund back to the original form of payment. First, cancel your flight, and then call the Reservations Department at 1-800-435-9792 to proceed with your refund request.
  5. Delta: Submit a Refund Exception Form for canceled and delayed flights instead of the usual refund application form. You will be credited back to the original form of payment within one business day of approval, but the refund may not appear on your statements until up to two billing cycles.
  6. United Airlines: You'll have to submit a Refund Request online to receive travel credit or a refund for your canceled flight. But first, cancel your flight by filling out your confirmation number and last name on the Manage Reservations page.
  7. JetBlue: Submit your confirmation code and passenger last name on the Manage Your Flight page to cancel your flight. Customers will either receive a full refund or reaccommodation on the next available flight by request. You can request a full refund or credit for future travel online directly through your canceled flight email. Your request will then be processed within seven to 10 business days.