Fare Rules Confusion

Old Nov 24, 15, 12:57 pm
  #1  
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Fare Rules Confusion

So, this is the kind of thing that makes me think I am stupid.

I usually don't pay much attention because my flights are pretty basic, but I started reading the "fare rules" to see if my flight is refundable.
Line after line of single spaced, incomplete run on sentences in some type of text form. About 2 pages total.
Especially the Surcharge, Penalty, and Voluntary Changes sections. They gave me a headache.
I could not understand most of it.

Is there an easier way they could lay this out or explain it?
Anyone else have a difficult time figuring this out or is it just me?
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Old Nov 24, 15, 1:12 pm
  #2  
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Like the full text of contracts, fare rules aren't really intended to be read by people other than experts (and I think they are also designed to be readable by machine). If you get some practice it isn't all that bad, but it definitely isn't designed to be customer friendly. If you're looking to determine how flexible your ticket is, you want to look at Category 16 (Penalties).

The top of the first paragraph will be titled "cancellations" and usually either say "cancellations permitted" (ticket is refundable), or "ticket is non-refundable". The second paragraph is typically titled "changes" and will say "changes permitted" for flexible/refundable tickets, or generally immediately list the fee for a ticket reissue (change fee for non-refundable ticket).

I would recommend using ITA Matrix to view the rules text - you can do the same on the United website but I think the formatting on ITA is a little easier to read.
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Old Nov 24, 15, 1:41 pm
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If the question is about a flight that is already ticketed, look at the eticket email united sent you. If it is a non refundable fare, it will say something similar to the following under the fare section:

NONREF/0VALUAFTDPT/CHGFEE
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Old Nov 24, 15, 2:13 pm
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Look at the fare basis. The last letter usually indicates refundability (e.g., Y=Refundable; N=Not).

Search the fare rules for the word -REFUNDABLE- (with the hyphen on each end). UA likes to put that endorsement on refundable tickets:

THE ORIGINAL TICKET MUST BE ANNOTATED - /-REFUNDABLE-/
- IN THE ENDORSEMENT BOX.
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Old Nov 24, 15, 3:06 pm
  #5  
 
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There is the additional complexity if a portion of your itinerary is not refundable and another part is.. when looking at the whole they will use the most restrictive rules possible... but if it's all the same this doesn't apply.

One thing to look for in all that gobbledygook... in the Voluntary Changes section.. "BEFORE DEPARTURE: CHANGES PERMITTED". And another tell tale sign of a refundable ticket is if it says "refund to original form of payment"
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Old Nov 25, 15, 1:10 am
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But remember, refundable doesn't mean no "change" fee. Fares can be refundable, but only after you've paid the change fee to do so.

So when looking at fare rules, you need to check for both fees and refundability separately.
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Old Nov 25, 15, 11:17 am
  #7  
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
Like the full text of contracts, fare rules aren't really intended to be read by people other than experts (and I think they are also designed to be readable by machine). If you get some practice it isn't all that bad, but it definitely isn't designed to be customer friendly. If you're looking to determine how flexible your ticket is, you want to look at Category 16 (Penalties).

The top of the first paragraph will be titled "cancellations" and usually either say "cancellations permitted" (ticket is refundable), or "ticket is non-refundable". The second paragraph is typically titled "changes" and will say "changes permitted" for flexible/refundable tickets, or generally immediately list the fee for a ticket reissue (change fee for non-refundable ticket).

I would recommend using ITA Matrix to view the rules text - you can do the same on the United website but I think the formatting on ITA is a little easier to read.
Thanks and thanks to the others.

I figured out the refundable part but then all the convoluted gibberish left me a bit confused.
But, I think maybe I need to bite the bullet and finally get some reading glasses.
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