Watch Those Airline Fare Conditions! Iberia Lesson Learned
Everything was all set for a return trip to Spain. I found a great price for a ticket on Iberia airlines. I booked it and looked forward to the flight.
Then I found out that I may need to change my flight dates. I called Iberia customer service to find out the bad news. The terms and conditions for my particular reservation where this (which may have since changed since I wrote this):
- No refunds for cancellations.
- No changes permitted.
- No shows not permitted.
Not good. I should have checked the conditions before ordering the ticket.
Luckily for me, I can adjust my itinerary and eat the cost. I’ll still fly in on the same day but I may need to get a different 1-way ticket back home for work. Fortunately, I’m flying by myself. If I understand the conditions correctly, I’ll simply be throwing away a good ticket home.
How to Avoid This?
Before you book a ticket, check the terms and conditions. Also, consider travel insurance. Travel insurance is usually offered through the online ticket brokers (Orbitz and friends). I made the mistake of booking directly through Iberia.com and not buying travel insurance. Even with travel insurance, a change like mine may not be covered. Oftentimes, travel insurance only covers special circumstances but it can be worth the extra $20 or $30 for peace of mind.
More extensive and flixible plans can be purchased through specialized travel insurance companies or through a travel agent. Depending on the coverage (everything from flexibility in flight cancellations to hotel and medical insurance coverage), prices can extend beyond $100 per person for a trip with lots of coverage. At travel prices being what they are these days, such insurance may be worth it.
Some travel insurance vendors give you up to 14 days after the purchase of the ticket to by travel insurance. Other require that any changes or cancellations be made at least 48 hours before they happen.
Indepenent Traveler has a good article about travel insurance here that goes into more details.
I just bought an empty seat. Whoever sits in that row should be thanking me!