Refunds for Non-Refundable Tickets?

As ticket prices get cheaper every day, we can see positions like taxes and fees going up constantly. Almost every airline makes revenues in fees, fuel surcharge, booking fees etc.
Very few people know that – at least in Europe – these items are refundable, even if the ticket itself states that it is not refundable. To be precise, what is not refundable is the actual ticket flight price, but this doesn’t apply to taxes and fees! Which means that, if you buy a cheap ticket with $10 flight price and $50 in fees & taxes, the $50 should be returned to you by the airline if not used.
The nice thing is that you can request this kind of refund also for any part of the flight itinerary that you didn’t fly – for example, if you booked a return flight and only used the first part of the flight but not the return.
How to request this refund? Very few airlines write about this topic on their web site, and many people have no idea this refund exists. Normally it is enough to call the airline’s service hotline and ask them about the procedure. In many cases the process is as easy as sending an e-mail with the ETKT number and the names of the persons including the legs you wish a refund for. You also have to give information about the credit card you paid the original ticket, because a refund will be transferred back to your credit card.

It is very important to ask the airline beforehand about service fees for refunds, because in some cases these may be as high as the fees & taxes to be reimbursed. Ryanair for example is said to charge a fairly high service fee for that. Other airlines, like Air Berlin, charge nothing, so it’s worth a try!

2 thoughts on “Refunds for Non-Refundable Tickets?

  1. Very nice tip. That’s something only few travelers know. However, mentioning Air Berlin as an example is a little missleading. Currently refunds are charged 25 Euro per ticket, even for frequent flyers with the highest status on their own program. Sadly, there are only very few airlines that don’t take a charge for a refund 😦

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