Say you’ve bought your airline ticket, you’re past the 24-hour cancellation mark, and something happens. You can’t go. Unless you’ve bought a refundable ticket or have some form of travel insurance that can help you in whatever your situation is for not being able to go, you’re probably out of luck in terms of getting a refund.
Can you sell/give/transfer your ticket to someone else? In the U.S., usually no, but there are a couple of exceptions. And even moreso when you’re talking about international travel.
The big three, American, Delta, and United, don’t allow you to transfer tickets to someone else’s name. Big surprise there, right?
As per an article in USA Today a few years ago, airlines don’t change names on airline tickets for 2 reasons, as per a representative from American:
- Airline Policy – An airline needs to know who the customer is so it can “provide quality service.” Also, “Since air transportation is a service that perishes when the aircraft door is closed, it is in both the passengers’ and airline’s interest to closely match the number of passengers to seats available, from both customer service and revenue management perspective.”
- Security – An airline wants to ensure that the person with the ticket is the same person going through the TSA checkpoint and getting screened.
Anybody else call bullspit on these?
- “Policy” is something that can ALWAYS be changed – but airlines only do it to suit and make more profits for them, not to make things easier or more convenient for us. Not being able to transfer tickets means that you either have to pay a cancellation fee or eat the ticket. Either way, the person you want to transfer the ticket to will still have to buy their own ticket. Yeah, “revenue management” is definitely the operative word. Well, words.
- The TSA has a whole lot of problems, but I’m pretty sure they have a system set up to ensure that the name on the ticket matches the name on the I.D. 😉
Anyway, a couple of the lower-cost airlines have some form of transferring tickets to another person:
- Frontier will allow you to change the name on your ticket (not just a misspelling or because you got a name change) for a $75 fee (amazing how they can do that and the legacy airlines can’t, huh?).
- On Southwest, you are allowed to cancel a ticket and you get a credit voucher on your account that’s good for one year after purchase date. If you don’t use the credit within that 1-year time, you can, for a fee, get a LUV voucher that’s good for 6 months. And THAT is indeed transferable to someone else.
- In my research, I found something on Tripadvisor that suggested JetBlue would do a name change for a $150 fee, but I can’t find verification on JetBlue’s website. The TA post was admittedly over 5 years ago, so it could just be vastly out of date.
Outside The U.S.
If you’re traveling internationally, there are more airlines that allow you to transfer your ticket. Here are some of them:
- Aer Lingus: allows name changes on a ticket, for a fee (currently $157)
- AirArabia: From their website: “You can always apply for a FREE name change if the reservation is still on hold and has not been paid for. However, once the reservation is paid, to change the name of the passenger, you will be required to pay a name change fee of AED 350.00 on Air Arabia Sharjah & Air Arabia Abu Dhabi & EGP 600 on Air Arabia Egypt, as well as any fare difference if applicable. Please note that you are required to complete this process at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled time of departure.”
- easyJet: you can change the name on the ticket to someone else, for a fee that varies from £25 to £55, depending on how far in advance you make the change and if you do it online vs. on the phone.
- Ryanair: as per their website, you can change the name on the flight up to 2 hours before your flight is scheduled to depart. The name change fee varies, depending on when you request the name change. The low-cost airline admits that in certain situations, it may be cheaper to purchase a new flight, rather than pay for a name change.
- Transavia: from their website: “A €50 change fee is charged for every name change per flight. After you change the name, the ticket will be rebooked and the ticket price may be higher. If so, you will be required to pay the difference in price between these two airline tickets.”
- Vueling: lets you transfer your reservation to another person for free if it’s requested within 24 hours of making the reservation. After 24 hours, it’ll cost €50 EUR per person/each way. Name changes can be made up to two hours before scheduled flight departure time.
- Wizz Air: allows you to transfer the passenger on a flight to another person’s name until three hours before the scheduled departure time. The fee for this starts at €45 per person/per way. Wizz Air also allows you to book a companion ticket and not name them until a later date.
That’s 7 airlines that do allow name changes but there are others. A quick search for the name of your intended airline, along with the search terms TRANSFER NAME TICKET should be able to help.
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