Cheapoair Cancelation Fee of $50/$75
I just had a costly mistake that I want to warn you all about. All airlines operating to/from the USA have a grace period that allows you to cancel your flight within 24 hours of booking for no charge. The rules do not apply to travel agents (such as Expedia or Orbitz), they can charge any amount of cancelation fee. However, most choose not to in order to maintain good customer relations. It costs these travel agencies nothing to allow the cancelation within 24 hours.
Cheapoair was one of the few mainstream online travel agents that deviated from this model. They allowed cancelation for only 4 hours with no charge. And you had to call in to make the cancelation within that 4 hours. It was a pain, but in the world of wacky airfare booking, sometimes Cheapoair is the only option for booking a unique fare.
I ran into that this evening. I booked one of the amazing $323 RT US-Singapore flights on JAL. The fares were disappearing and the flight wouldn’t book through on Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline or directly through JAL. Finally I tried Cheapoair and it worked! In the past I have often done this; book now and figure out if the plans will work later. Well, this time the plans didn’t work.
I called Cheapoair to cancel the ticket, well within the 4 hour window (I thought) Cheapoair offered. The very nice customer service rep advised me that there would be a $75 charge to cancel. I was able to talk to her supervisor and he informed me that the new policy went into effect on February 20, 2017. Now, even if you cancel within 30 seconds of making the reservation, you will accrue a $75 charge for international flight and/or Biz/First Class cancelations ($50 for domestic Economy).
Not only that, but you have to PAY the cancelation fee (charged immediately) and then wait for the funds from the original ticket purchase price to be refunded to your card (can take 10 days or so).
This is a poor policy by Cheapoair. It does not cost them anything to cancel a flight within 24 hours. That is the rules by the Department of Transportation in the US. So Cheapoair is pocketing that $75 fee.
After speaking at length with the customer service rep, he agreed to waive the fee this one time. But it was a long conversation. I would not count on ever having the fee waived.
I will never book with Cheapoair again and would encourage you to never book with them either. This is a poor policy that is not well advertised. The only place I found it when doing a dummy booking was right before hitting “Book” after entering your credit card info. Please spread the word.
Does this new Cheapoair cancelation fee influence your decision to use Cheapoair to book a flight in the future?