Non-refundable airfare

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May 3, 2017
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#1
Hi everyone,
I'm a long time reader and I'm looking for some advice. My family and I are planning a trip to Disney. We are definitely going to get good travel insurance, including cancel for any reason, since life happens. Given this, is there any real issue with booking a non-refundable airfare? The difference is a few hundred dollars between us and we 'd rather save the money and be able to spend in on vacation. As long as my airfare is insured, it should be fine right? Please let me know if I'm missing something. I'm not trying to cheap out, I'm just trying to save where I can. Many thanks!
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
1,532
1,516
113
Maui Hawaii
#2
Hi everyone,
I'm a long time reader and I'm looking for some advice. My family and I are planning a trip to Disney. We are definitely going to get good travel insurance, including cancel for any reason, since life happens. Given this, is there any real issue with booking a non-refundable airfare? The difference is a few hundred dollars between us and we 'd rather save the money and be able to spend in on vacation. As long as my airfare is insured, it should be fine right? Please let me know if I'm missing something. I'm not trying to cheap out, I'm just trying to save where I can. Many thanks!
The amount you save on non-refundable flights will be substantial. Esp. if you have CFAR insurance, there is usually no reason to book refundable flights for a vacation you certainly intend to take. If your family has different circumstances that might affect their individual ability to travel you may wish to book each ticket separately rather than on one reservation.

Depending on the size of your group, you may also wish to work with a travel agent who specializes in Disney vacations and can put together a package of air/hotel/car/Disney tickets/travel ins. etc for you. You might save money and have less of a headache when you are done.

When traveling with family I always book non-refundable flights; these can be canceled for a credit (minus a change fee) in most cases. You will need to check the class of ticket regarding credit possibilities. The lowest fare tickets on most US airlines are, however, use-it-or-lose-it fares, with no credit. So book the non-refundable fares but not the lowest fare.

I book refundable fares only for business travel where the event may be canceled or moved and I do not want to deal with keeping track of credits and change fees (plus most of the business travel is expensed:)).

If you book this trip yourself, make sure you book directly with the airline, not through Expedia, Priceline etc. etc. If there are any issues, you will deal directly with the airline, not a 3rd party that is not going to help you. Also generally book your accommodations directly with the property. You can use the booking sites to search out locations but then book directly. Avoid pre-paying if at all possible, and if you need to pre-pay use a credit card, not a debit card, wire transfer or check.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
8,061
7,948
113
San Francisco
#3
Hi everyone,
I'm a long time reader and I'm looking for some advice. My family and I are planning a trip to Disney. We are definitely going to get good travel insurance, including cancel for any reason, since life happens. Given this, is there any real issue with booking a non-refundable airfare? The difference is a few hundred dollars between us and we 'd rather save the money and be able to spend in on vacation. As long as my airfare is insured, it should be fine right? Please let me know if I'm missing something. I'm not trying to cheap out, I'm just trying to save where I can. Many thanks![/QUOTE
I think I'm understanding your concern ... travel insurance will cover either the full cost of your tix, or the change fee if you can use the credit from the airline on a future flight. It's my understanding that refundable tix are hugely more expensive than non-ref, but I travel often so I've never worried about a non-ref tix. I agree with Weilhac, all else being equal you might benefit from a complete package for your very special trip. A package from a real travel agent (not an online booking service) might save you a good amount and would also be easy to insure. Please don't hesitate to come back to us if there are more questions. Have a great trip!
 
May 3, 2017
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#5
Thank you so much for the feedback everyone. We are going to use a travel agent (CAA travel, which is the Canadian equivalent of AAA) and I have an actual live person that I've been dealing with. One more question. I'm travelling with my husband and kids (9 and 5). Do I really need to pay for advance seat assignments? We are not fussed if we aren't all together, we just don't want either of the kids alone. Would they realistically make one of the kids sit alone? Is taking our chances a really bad move?
 
May 3, 2017
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#7
Thanks Neil, I understand that. I'm just wondering if they would actually make the kids sit alone if we don't? We don't care if we're at the back or if one of my husband or I sit alone, we just want an adult with the kids.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
17,505
15,836
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#8
They will do what they need to do. As a travel agent I wouldn’t leave it to chance. Not even teens- there are reported instances of touching I’ve read about adults being touched unwillingly. Why would you take any kind of chance? Most flights go out with people on standby- that’s the only way to guarantee your kids will be with you.

If it’s a money issue, get rid of the CFAR insurance and buy regular and spend the money on the seats.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
1,532
1,516
113
Maui Hawaii
#9
I would reserve two seats together for you (or your husband) and the 5-year-old. You may find someone to swap if the other two are not seated together but you cannot count on it on an international flight. The airline is not required to seat you together. What airline are you flying on and do you have FF status on the airline?
 
May 3, 2017
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#11
Thank you so much for the feedback! We are flying Air Canada and we don't have status.

I can't find a clear answer on the Disney site (and I'm waiting on a call from my TA, she had to call the airline since we found a cheaper flight on their own app than she could get us). Does anybody know if there are in and out privileges with park tickets? We are getting the park hopper option.
 
May 3, 2017
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#12
Thanks for the link, Patina! It didn't occur to me to see if Air Canada had a family seating policy, and they do so we should be fine.
 
Likes: Patina

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
1,277
2,146
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#13
They will do what they need to do. As a travel agent I wouldn’t leave it to chance. Not even teens- there are reported instances of touching I’ve read about adults being touched unwillingly. Why would you take any kind of chance? Most flights go out with people on standby- that’s the only way to guarantee your kids will be with you.

If it’s a money issue, get rid of the CFAR insurance and buy regular and spend the money on the seats.
I respectfully disagree with this suggestion. Airlines are working harder than they have in the past to keep at least one adult with a child/children and are blocking seats until check-in for this exact reason. If the OP is okay with her family being somewhat separated (father with one kid, mother with the other or both kids with one adult) you should't have too much of a problem as long as you are communicating with the airline prior to the day of departure and all the tickets are on the same PNR.
 
Likes: mmb and jsn55

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
1,277
2,146
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#14
Thinking about your trip makes ME want to go to Disneyland! Have a fabulous time and let us know if everything worked out.
 
Likes: AKF

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
17,505
15,836
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#15
Thank you so much for the feedback! We are flying Air Canada and we don't have status.

I can't find a clear answer on the Disney site (and I'm waiting on a call from my TA, she had to call the airline since we found a cheaper flight on their own app than she could get us). Does anybody know if there are in and out privileges with park tickets? We are getting the park hopper option.
If you have a park hopper you can go to multiple parks in a day. I’m surprised your agent didn’t know that off the top of their head.
 
May 3, 2017
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#16
If you have a park hopper you can go to multiple parks in a day. I’m surprised your agent didn’t know that off the top of their head.
I didn't think to ask it while we were on the phone, she might very well know. But I'm sitting here researching, trying not to feel overwhelmed by all the decisions I have to make. :)
 
May 3, 2017
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#17
Help! Our agent saw the lower airfare we found on the app on her phone. She tried to call Air Canada but there was a 2 hour wait so she called us back and suggested we just go ahead and book. We got an error message on our phone saying to check our payment method. We checked online and there is a pending charge on the credit card. But there is no reservation in the system. So we have a charge but no tickets. My husband is on hold with Air Canada and I called Mastercard who said there is an approved charge. What should I do?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
17,505
15,836
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#18
There may be just a hold, not an actual booking. If you booked on Air Canada’s site, you need to deal with them. Do NOT rebook it until you speak to them.

Check our company contacts page to see if you can find another phone number.
 
May 3, 2017
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#19
It does indeed look like that’s what happened. Air Canada and MasterCard got on the phone together. Thanks so much for all of your help everyone. I’m sure I will be here lots between now and July! I want to do my best to avoid screw ups that I could have prevented. To avoid needing to play a deck of misfortune card!