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- American Airlines Refund Policy
- AA Refund Policy for Non-Refundable Tickets
- How to Get Request an American Airlines Refund
- 1. Cancel your AA flight and ticket online at prefunds.aa.com
- 2. Go to prefunds.aa.com to start the refund process
- 3. Enter your name and ticket number
- 4. Confirm the information is correct
- 5. Enter your contact information
- 6. Select the refund reason & upload any required documentation
- 7. Click submit and save your confirmation number
- Priceline Cancellation Policy: How to Cancel & Get a Refund from Priceline
- Expedia Cancellation Policy: How to get a Refund from Expedia
- United Airlines Refund Policy: How to Get a Refund from United
- Delta Airlines Refund Policy: How to Get a Refund from Delta
- How to Get a Refund from Spirit Airlines
- Airline Ticket Refund Rules
If you booked a flight on American Airlines and want your ticket refunded, here’s what you need to know about the American Airlines Refund Policy and what qualifies for a refund.
American Airlines doesn’t have an “easy to find” summary of its refund policy, so we put together this guide (in conjunction with the Department of Transportation) on what you need to know.
This article includes what scenarios qualify for a refund and the steps I went through when I successfully completed a refund request and the amount of time it took to receive my refund. It was much easier than I expected!
American Airlines Refund Policy
Each airline has its own refund policy, however, they are all governed by the same rules that are mandated by the Department of Transportation (“DOT”).
The following are scenarios that require a full or partial refund, as mandated by the DOT, and enforced through the American Airlines Refund Policy:
- 24-Hour Refund – When you buy a ticket at least 2 days prior to departure, you have up to 24 hours from when you first buy your ticket to request a refund. The 24-hour refund policy applies to all ticket types, but you must cancel your trip to get a refund.
- Canceled Flight – You are entitled to a refund if American Airlines cancels a flight, regardless of the reason, and you choose not to travel.
- Schedule Change/Significant Delay – You are entitled to a refund if American Airlines makes a significant schedule change and/or significantly delays a flight and you choose not to travel.
- The DOT does not specify what is “significant” so this will vary from airline to airline. Check American’s customer service page for the latest policy.
- Based on my personal experience, American will give you a refund if they make a schedule change that impacts your arrival by 4 hours or more. I recently had a flight to Lima, Peru where American changed my original flight schedule by 3 1/2 hours and they would not offer a refund because it was less than 4 hours. They offered a credit toward another flight, but not a refund.
- Class of Service Change – You are entitled to a refund if you are involuntarily moved to a lower class of service. For example, if you purchased a first-class ticket and are downgraded to economy class seat due to an aircraft swap, you are then owed the difference in fares.
- Fully refundable ticket – If you purchase a fully refundable ticket are entitled to a refund when you don’t use the purchased ticket to complete your travel
- Baggage Fees – You are entitled to a refund if you paid a baggage fee and your baggage has been declared lost.
- Airlines may have different policies to determine when a bag is officially lost. Most airlines will declare a bag lost between five and fourteen days after the flight, but this can vary from one airline to another. Check American’s customer service page for the latest policy.
If your flight is canceled and you don’t want to be re-booked on another flight, you are entitled to a full refund of the ticket price.
AA Refund Policy for Non-Refundable Tickets
Getting a refund on a fully refundable ticket is relatively easy, but it’s a lot tougher if you have a non-refundable ticket.
American Airlines won’t issue refunds on non-refundable tickets, except for the following situations:
- If the ticket is canceled within 24 hours of purchase (the 24-hour rule),
- If American makes a schedule change that results in a delay longer than 4 hours,
- If the passenger or passenger’s traveling companion dies, or
- Because of military orders.
Supporting documentation is required in each of these scenarios.
While you can’t get a full refund on a non-refundable ticket, you can apply the unused value of your American Airlines ticket toward a future trip if:
- Your new trip begins no later than one year from the ticket’s original issue date.
- You canceled the original ticket before the departure of the first flight.
How to Get Request an American Airlines Refund
After reading the above information, if you believe you are eligible for a refund, just go to the American Airlines refund page and follow these steps:
- Cancel your flight/ticket on the aa.com website.
- Go to the American Airlines Refund Page
- Enter your name and the ticket number.
- Confirm the ticket details.
- Enter your contact information.
- Upload any supporting documentation required.
- Click submit and save your confirmation number for future reference.
- Wait 2-6 weeks to hear back from American regarding your refund status.
Now that you have the steps at a high level, I will walk you through each step with a little more detail based on the refund process I just went through with American.
American Airlines Refund Process – My Experience Getting a Refund
I recently booked a flight for my son from Phoenix to Nashville on American Airlines. I specifically chose American because they were the only airline that offered a direct flight to Nashville from PHX. However, within 2 weeks of booking the direct flight, they canceled the direct route and put him on connecting flights on both the outbound and return.
Based on this schedule change, I no longer wanted that flight and filed for a refund. Here are the steps I took to get a refund from American Airlines:
1. Cancel your AA flight and ticket online at prefunds.aa.com
I wasn’t 100% sure how well this process would work, so I first called American to confirm I could get a refund on the ticket based on the schedule change. I was told that I could get one but that everything had to be done online. The agent informed me that I first had to cancel the flight on aa.com, then I would be eligible to go to prefunds.aa.com and go through the refund process.
I logged into the aa.com website and entered my son’s flight information so that I could cancel the flight and apply for a refund. I clicked the cancel trip button and the flight was canceled.
I then received a confirmation message that the flight was canceled.
2. Go to prefunds.aa.com to start the refund process
Now that my flight was canceled I was now able to go to prefunds.aa.com and start the refund process.
3. Enter your name and ticket number
I entered the passenger name and ticket number in the “ticket lookup” tab and was brought to the refund eligibility page.
4. Confirm the information is correct
I confirmed the information was accurate.
5. Enter your contact information
I entered my name, phone number, and email address.
6. Select the refund reason & upload any required documentation
I just chose the schedule change reason and did not upload any documentation.
7. Click submit and save your confirmation number
Once I submitted the claim, I was given a confirmation number for reference. (Print this confirmation and save it until your refund is processed.)
That’s it. The process was very easy was worked much better than I expected. I canceled my ticket and applied for a refund on August 19. A refund approval email came the next day with the refund credited to the credit card I used to make the initial purchase. I was amazed how smooth this process was!
Refunds on Paper Tickets
Refund requests for paper tickets may be submitted on the aa.com website, however, you’ll be required to mail in your original coupons to American Airlines at the address below before your request can be processed.
Attention: Passenger Refunds
4000 E. Sky Harbor Blvd.
Phoenix, AZ 85034
How to find your American Airlines Ticket Number?
In case you don’t know where your ticket number is, it’s 13 characters long and contains the airline code. The ticket number is the last 10 digits. Remember there are separate ticket numbers for add-ons like seats, upgrades, and bags.
There are three places you can find your ticket number:
- Confirmation email and receipt from your original ticket purchase. Look toward the end of the email under the ‘Receipt’ section.
- Receipt or Boarding Pass from the Airport or City Ticket Office – look at the bottom in the middle of the ticket.
- Credit card statement
How to check your American Airlines Refund Status
- You can check the status of your refund on the American Airlines website here.
- Just enter your ticket number, first name, and last name it will provide an update.
prefunds.aa.com vs. refunds.aa.com
This is a little odd, but the American Airlines site for refunds used to be www.refunds.aa.com and is now www.prefunds.aa.com. I can’t explain why the domain name changed from “refunds.aa.com” to “prefunds.aa.com”, but it did at some point in 2013. If you go to refunds.aa.com it is just a dead page, it will not redirect you to prefunds.aa.com. Weird….
Hopefully, this will help you get your refund. Good luck!
Refund Policies of Other Airlines
Tim is a business road warrior and avid leisure traveler who has flown over two million miles in the air and spent well over a thousand nights in hotels. He enjoys sharing tips, tricks, and hacks to help readers get the most out of their travel experience and learn how to “travel like a pro”!