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The 2021 Guide to Flexible Travel

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Flexible Flights – Everything you wanted to know

Flexible flights are those which allow for changes or cancellations after the purchase has been made. By purchasing a flexible flight, also known as flexi flights or open tickets, travelers are able to change travel dates or even cancel last-minute for no fee or a smaller fee than with regular airline tickets.

Flexi flight deals are often bought by travelers who might require a change in departure date or an outright cancellation due to a personal situation. They are also particularly sought after by companies and corporate travelers due to the dynamic nature of business travel.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the constantly changing travel restrictions have made all travel pretty uncertain and, therefore, flexible flights vital. Luckily, the industry has responded and many service providers have changed their policies to better incorporate flexible travel in a way that is more accessible. 

COVID travel program

The benefits of flexible flights 

Enjoying the benefits and peace of mind of a flexi flight often comes at a cost that varies from airline to airline or through online travel agencies and platforms. So opting for a flexible flight every time you travel might not make sense. If your travel plans are likely to be affected by a developing situation, the small increase in pricing is significantly better than the change fees, re-booking fees, or losing money due to cancellations that you would have to pay with regular flight tickets. 

If you’re planning a hike but would like to allow for a few days contingency, an open ticket will offer you flexible dates at the lowest price possible. This means that you won’t risk missing your return flight should your route take a little longer than planned. 

If you’re expecting to be called for a job interview in a different country but it is not yet set in stone, you can lock in a cheap flight and know that you can cancel or change dates at a lower price. 

A travel manager looking to book a number of roundtrip tickets for meetings in order to save money would consider flexible options too. This is particularly useful if the flights are in relation to a project that is constantly changing and evolving. Here, the manager might search flight options that allow for multi-city changes and return date flexibility.

Sometimes a global, regional or national situation might lead to the need for a large number of flights to be changed or canceled such as the situation we’re currently living in. In these cases, airline companies often waive or reduce any fees related to changes or cancellations that arise as a direct result of these situations.

Some airlines offering flexible options 

Many major airlines offer flexible flight options. You can normally tick the flexible flight or flexible dates options when searching on the airline’s website. Search engines and travel management platforms like TravelPerk, Skyscanner, Google Flights, and Expedia also allow users to filter and search for flexi flights across companies which ensures that you get the best price on airfare at the same time. 

If your dates are flexible, many airlines and search engines also offer a cheapest days option which will show you the lowest fares available on different dates.

Below are 5 airlines that are currently offering flexible travel options:

1. Alaska Airlines

Between February 2020 and April 2021, Alaska Airlines introduced the Peace of Mind Waiver which allowed customers who purchased Main and First Class fares to change or cancel their booking for free. Saver fares were not eligible for changes but could be canceled in exchange for future travel credit.

After May 1, 2021, Alaska Airlines has permanently eliminated change fees. This also applies to flights bought through the Saver fare as long as they are changed or canceled within the first 24 hours of purchase. 

2. Delta

In response to the pandemic, Delta is continuously updating its change and cancellation policies. Their 2021 Basic Economy Changeability Waiver allows customers who have booked Basic Economy Travel to make changes to their booking. These fares are not normally eligible for changes but Delta is making an exception until the end of the year.

At the end of July 2021, Delta eliminated change fees when booking Main Cabin fares or above for any flights originating from North America. Should the new flight cost more than the original, customers would only need to pay the difference in price.  

3. JetBlue

JetBlue does not charge customers wishing to change or cancel their flights except for Blue Basic fares. Blue Basic flights are subject to a fee depending on the route. 

4. Southwest Airlines

Southwest airlines have never actually charged change fees on all air travel bookings regardless of the fare chosen. If a flight costs more, you pay the difference. If it costs less, you get that difference back. Changes and cancellations can be made as close as up to 10 minutes before the scheduled departure time.

5. United Airlines

United Airlines have also permanently removed many of their change fees since the pandemic. This applies to most Economy and Premium tickets within the United States or between the US and Mexico or the Caribbean. Any international flights originating in the US won’t be subject to change fees either.

There is also a temporary waiver on fees on flights originating outside of the US purchased before September 30, 2021.  

Booking flexible flights with FlexiPerk

With FlexiPerk by TravelPerk, you are not at the mercy of the policies of each individual airline or the current situation of global events. By signing up, corporate travelers can enjoy the peace of mind that flexible travel offers along with being able to search for amazing deals across the TravelPerk platform.  

The way it works is simple. You pay a 10% fee on every trip in order to be able to cancel at any time up to as close as 2 hours before the trip. Upon cancellation, you are eligible for a minimum refund of 80%. The process of doing so is also much less stressful. You don’t need to run after airlines and service providers for your refund for weeks on end. 

Should you need to cancel or change an already confirmed booking,  simply follow these steps:

Head over to your Trips page

Find the trip you need to change or cancel

Select Manage Trip 

Once here, you’ll be able to carry out booking changes, cancellations, managing extras and so on. 

Your TravelPerk agent will take care of the rest shortly after.

Alternatively, you can contact TravelPerk Customer Care via Live Chat, Email, or Phone and request the changes directly.