While refundable tickets are available, Air Transport Association spokesperson Victoria Day warns that policies vary widely between carriers, and you should be sure to read the fine print before making a purchase. Most airlines offer a refund option (for a fee), which consumers can select when buying their tickets.
Because airlines don’t guarantee their schedules, they are under no federal obligation to compensate for canceled flights, though they will usually rebook passengers for free. If you can’t make your plane but don’t have a refundable ticket, many carriers, including Continental and Delta, allow you to transfer the value of your fare to another ticket on the same airline for up to a year if you cancel in advance. Inspired By: Ask T+L: Bargaining at Bazaars, Refunds for Unused Tickets, and More