Travel Terms You Need to Know: The 24-Hour Rule

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Hey, I’m Scott, founder
of Scott’s Cheap Flights. You know, I’m obsessed with cheap flights, and I’ve learned a few
things over the years on how to book airfare online
for really cheap prices. One of the things that I
wanted to share with you today is what’s known as the 24-hour rule. The 24-hour rule is an
informal name for a regulation from the Federal Department
of Transportation, and what this rule says
is that, in most cases, if you book a flight
directly with an airline, you’re allowed to cancel that purchase without any fee as long as you do so within 24 hours of booking. And I’m about to tell you how this rule can be a cheap flight lover’s best friend. The 24-hour rule covers flights that: First, originate in or
are going to the US on any airline, it doesn’t
have to be a US one. Second, they’re booked at least seven days ahead of travel. And third, are booked
directly with the airline. On the other hand, this regulation does not apply to flights that are either not flying to or from the US, are booked within seven days of travel, or that are booked on an
OTA, an online travel agency, like Priceline or Expedia. While the specific regulation from the Department of Transportation says that the 24-hour rule
does not apply to flights that are booked through an OTA, many OTAs actually have their own version of the 24-hour rule. So you might be able to cancel it within 24 hours of booking even if you didn’t book
directly with an airline. Some of the big OTAs that
have their own 24-hour rules include Priceline, Orbitz,
Travelocity, and Expedia. But there are plenty of exceptions, so make sure you read the
fine print before you book. First, it gives you 24 hours to decide. So if you’re not sure
if you can take a trip, maybe you need to get
your time off approved or get childcare arranged, this lets you lock in the price and make sure that you don’t
miss out on a cheap flight. Second, it can help you
actually get a lower price on your flight if the price
drops right after you book. Here’s an example. Back in November, we sent a deal from Houston to Sydney for $728 roundtrip. The very next morning the price
dropped to $655 roundtrip. With the 24-hour rule, you
could book the new flight, cancel the original one, and
save almost $75 per ticket. Be sure to book the new flight, though, before you cancel the old one. That is key. Remember, airfare can change
anytime, and without warning. So by booking the new lower price first, you lock it in before it disappears. Let’s use an example. Dylan just booked a flight
to Japan for $600 roundtrip. The next morning he wakes up and it’s dropped to $400 roundtrip. If Dylan cancels his original flight first and then the new price disappears before he has a chance to book it, he’s out of luck. He’s left with no ticket because he’s already canceled the first one. But, instead, let’s say he quickly books a second ticket at the $400 price. Then he can turn around and cancel his $600 ticket without penalty. Worst case, if he took
too long and missed the 24-hour window to cancel
his original ticket, he can always cancel the new one and still have his $600 flight to Japan. The 24-hour rule is a
powerful tool for travelers. It helps you snag a great deal and gives you time to consider it without having to pay any fees. You can also grab a
cheaper price on a ticket you’ve already booked if the price drops within 24 hours of booking. And remember, while this
federal rule applies only to flights booked
directly with an airline, many OTAs actually have
similar cancellation policies that you can use to your advantage. For more tips, check out our other videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and follow the links
underneath this video. And if you like cheap flights like me, join Scott’s Cheap Flights. Since 2015 we’ve helped millions of people be able to travel and visit places they never
thought they could afford by finding some amazing flight deals and Mistake Fares that are up to 90% off. Our members save, on
average, $550 per ticket, so follow the link under
this video, sign up, and start getting cheap flights
directly into your inbox. Thanks for watching everybody! Talk to y’all later.

 

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