I have the answers to three common travel questions. This comes from travel columnist Christopher Elliott. We’ll start with this one:
- Can you ever get a refund for a non-refundable ticket? Not really. However, if you tell your airline that you won’t be able to fly, they’ll usually give you a credit. You have a year from the time you booked your ticket to use that credit. Just keep in mind that the airline will charge you a “change fee” – since you’re technically changing the date of your flight. Sometimes, the change fee can add up to more than the cost of the ticket itself! However, know this: Airlines will sometimes make exceptions to their non-refundability rules when there’s an emergency, disaster, or a death in the family.
- How can you get a “bereavement fare?” The answer: You probably can’t. Airlines used to offer discounts to passengers who needed to make sudden flight arrangements when a relative passed away. Then, some travelers started claiming they had a death in the family just so they could get these discounts. So airlines pulled the plug on those special fares. If you do need to book a last-minute ticket, try to bid for a fare on websites like Priceline or Hotwire.
- Can I call 911 if my flight is stuck on the tarmac and I want to leave? You’ve probably heard horror stories of people being stuck on planes. Like when a flight sat on a tarmac in Minnesota for almost six hours overnight – with no food and overflowing toilets. So should you call 911 to get help if you’re stuck? These days, it’s unnecessary, because the Department of Transportation recently ordered airlines to let people off planes delayed on the tarmac after three hours. However, if you’re stuck for more than three hours, call the airline, the airport where you’re stuck, or even the local news.