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How To Get A Refund On Your Flight If Your Holiday Plans Unexpectedly Changed

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Holiday traveling is a necessary part of the holiday season. Sometimes you get lucky and visit friends and family that are just car ride away, but other times you may have to hop on a plane to see those that matter most to you. Plane travel isn't always the easiest or most relaxing mode of transportation during the holidays, and then there's the awful prospect of your flight getting cancelled due to any number of reasons. Well, you can fly easy this holiday season and deal with trouble (if it arises) when you learn how to get a refund on your flight if it's cancelled.

Of course, no one wants to think about the worst-case scenario when they're about to take off on a holiday vacation, but sometimes these things happen. Rather then dwell on the delay (or total cancellation) of your trip, you should focus on how to make the best of the situation. And what's better than getting some money?

You might think that the costs of a cancelled flight would automatically be refunded to you, but it usually depends on the situation.

When The Airline Cancels Your Flight

Once again, this might sound like a situation where you automatically get your money back, but the compensation depends on the situation.

For example, if your flight is cancelled due to mechanical issues or a severely under-booked flight, the airline should reschedule your flight with no further cost to you, according to Flightbucks. While a free rescheduling in that situation is common, getting money back is not guaranteed, and if your airline customarily does refund those situations, you may only have a short window of time in which to request the refund.

If your flight is cancelled due to weather issues, airlines are not required to refund your ticket because the issue is beyond their control.

There are ways to get money back on a cancelled ticket even if it is due to one of the aforementioned situations, but sometimes it requires a lot of paperwork.

Enter the Service app. This handy app (available for both Android and iOS) will help you retrieve compensation from cancelled or delayed flights. According to its website, Service works by monitoring your travel (in the past 12 months and future flights) and then filing a claim with the respective airline on your behalf whenever a flight is cancelled or delayed. Once the airline responds, Service will alert you with the result.

Now, Service does take 30 percent of whatever compensation you receive, but other than that, the app is free — and the app does pretty much all of the work for you.

When The Missed Flight Is Your Fault

Life happens, I get it. Missing a flight is never fun, but what's even less fun is the fee (up to $200) you'll likely have to pay to reschedule it. There is a way to avoid unsightly cancellation fees, but it may cost you more upfront.

"Refundable" tickets are just that, refundable, and you'll know if you have one because you likely paid more for it than it's "non-refundable" counterpart. If you, say, purchased a sweet deal on a third-party travel website, that ticket is likely not refundable. There's no ambiguity when it comes to these tickets, either, because a refundable ticket will have the word "refundable" printed right there on the front, according to Flightbucks.

So, if your plans aren't ironclad, you might want to get the refundable ticket, just in case. When it comes down to it, the airline has the upper hand when the missed flight is your fault.

In those situations, apps might not work for you, but it never hurts to talk to the gate agent or call the airline. Sometimes if you explain your situation (unexpected illness or death in the family), you may be able to get some money back.

Hopefully, you won't have to deal with any of these hassles this holiday season, but if you do run into a hiccup, then you know the best way to (most likely) get your money back.

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