Home / Money / Personal Finance /  What it costs to cancel a trip at the last minute

The recent Jet Airways fiasco has left a lot of travellers who had made bookings in advance in the lurch. While it’s uncommon for an airline to suspend operations suddenly, there can be multiple other reasons for cancelling or rescheduling a trip. Last-minute change of plans can be upsetting and can come at a steep cost. Here’s how much it can cost you to cancel or reschedule a trip.

Flight bookings

If you plan to cancel or reschedule your flight tickets closer to your trip, the charges might be steep.

Cancellation: The cancellation policy is different for different airlines and depends on many factors. The charges also vary across economy, business and premium classes. “For Vistara, similar to many airlines, fliers can cancel or modify their booking within 24 hours, but cancellation charges depend on the class. For Economy Lite, only taxes are refundable, for Economy Standard, the cancellation fee is 3,000. There is a cancellation charge of 3,500 for Business Value, if cancelled after 24 hours of booking, and 3,000 for Business Standard," said Karan Anand, head, relationships, Cox & Kings Ltd, a tour and travel company.

Rescheduling: If you change the date of travel up to two hours before the scheduled departure, you are typically charged at least 2,000 above the airfare, or the airfare charges plus the fare difference, whichever is lower.

According to a 2016 Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) circular, cancellation or changes done within 24 hours of booking, provided that flight departure is at least a week from then, will not attract any charges.

Also, according to the DGCA rules, the airline cannot levy a cancellation charge that is more than the basic fare plus fuel surcharge.

If you booked your tickets through a travel portal, you may also have to pay a small service fee to the portal as well.

According to DGCA, all airlines have to refund all statutory taxes and fees, such as user development fee, airport development fee or passenger service fee, to passengers in case of cancellation or non-utilisation of tickets or no show. This is also applicable for non-refundable tickets. All refunds need to be completed by the airline within 30 working days. However, “fliers should not expect any substantial refund from most airlines for a cancellation done after 24 hours of booking, except if they are flying premium business class or if the flier is insured," said Anand.

Train bookings

The cancellation rules for train bookings are not as stringent.

Cancellation: If a confirmed ticket is cancelled more than 48 hours before the scheduled departure of a train, flat cancellation charges apply— 240 for AC first class or executive class, 200 for AC 2 Tier or first class, 180 for AC 3 Tier or AC chair car or AC 3 economy, 120 for sleeper class and 60 for second class.

“If your ticket is confirmed and you cancel it within 48 hours and up to 12 hours before the scheduled departure of the train, 25% of the train fare will be imposed as cancellation charges. If the ticket is cancelled less than 12 hours and up to four hours before the scheduled departure of the train or chart preparation time (whichever is earlier), 50% of the fare paid will be charged, subject to the minimum cancellation charges," said Sripad Vaidya, co-founder, Confirmtkt, a train booking and discovery app. E-tickets cannot be cancelled after preparation of chart reservation.

Also, there is no refund for cancellation of a confirmed Tatkal ticket, which can be booked at a higher rate just a day before the scheduled departure of a train.

Rescheduling: Unlike flight tickets, train tickets cannot be rescheduled once you have booked the tickets. However, they can be transferred to a blood relative. “You can transfer the tickets to blood relatives 24 hours before the scheduled departure of the train by giving a written request to the railway reservation office of the start station," said Vaidya. This is valid for both offline and online tickets.

Hotel bookings

How much it will cost you to reschedule or cancel your hotel bookings will depend on the terms and conditions of the hotel.

Cancellation: Most hotels allow a cancellation window. Many online hotel aggregator websites allow you to cancel the booking free of cost up to 24 hours before check-in.

“Generally, in case of economical or promotional rates, hotels do not offer a full refund if cancelled beyond 24 hours from the time of booking. But in case of flat rates and non-promotional costs, customers may avail full refund for cancellation done within 48-72 hours of booking. In situations where a destination is facing high occupancy, the hotels may have extended time for cancellation with full refund as they have lesser risk of having vacant rooms," said Anand.

Rescheduling: Usually, hotels don’t levy any extra charges for rescheduling your booking. However, if the new room assigned to you has a higher tariff, you may have to pay the difference.

Cancelling or rescheduling your trip last minute can come at a cost, especially if you booked your flight tickets in advance. One way to cover the cost is by buying travel insurance, which hedges cancellation due to death or hospitalisation of the insured person or his or her immediate family members. Many travel portals like MakeMyTrip also have a zero cancellation offer, which lets you get maximum refund if you cancel your flight up to 24 hours before departure.

In most cases, cancellation of train tickets and hotel bookings will not come at a steep cost; but flight cancellation or rescheduling can burn a hole in your pocket.

Catch all the Business News, Market News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.
More Less

Recommended For You

Trending Stocks

Get alerts on WhatsApp
Set Preferences My ReadsWatchlistFeedbackRedeem a Gift CardLogout