The typical traveler will never get to see the fare rules for a flight he or she booked. But without them, you could never purchase a ticket for a regular flight. If you use an Online Travel Agency, they will always show you the most important thing you need to know: the price of your ticket. But several factors influence how much you’ll pay. The list includes:
- Travel period: What’s the time frame in which you can book the fare?
- Sales restrictions: Until when can the fare be purchased?
- Minimum stay: How many days until you can fly back home?
- Maximum stay: How long can you stay and still get the great fare?
- Stopover: Are they allowed? If yes, how many?
- Penalties: How much will it cost to cancel/change your flight?
- Discounts: Can kids travel for less?
Fare rules are always applied to a specific booking class. And only if an itinerary follows all rules, the fare can be booked at the promoted price.
Check Fare Rules
In sporadic cases, the fare rules will be displayed during the booking process. One section of the rules that is often shown is the one dealing with penalties. But what if that’s not enough to satisfy your need for knowledge? No worries, there is a way to have a look into the rules for almost every fare you’re interested in. And it’s free!
ITA Airfare Search
To check out the fare rules, you’ll have to search for your fare using the ITA Airfare Search – short: the Matrix. Once you’ve found the flight you’re interested in, the tool will show you an itinerary. Also, there will be a small instruction on ‘How to buy this ticket’. And right there’s where you will see the link that will forward you to the fare rules.
Click on it to see all the rules that your fare includes. Yes, it could be a looooong list. But typically you don’t want to read everything anyway.
One of the few options besides ‘The Matrix’ is Expedia. Look for the connection you want to know more about and proceed with the booking process. Just one step before they want you to pull out your credit card, there’s a section ‘Review and book your trip’. And hiding within this section are the complete rules and restrictions for your selected flight. You might want to scroll down a little bit to see the link.
Some of the more common rules that you might want to have a closer look at:
- Flight restrictions
- Advanced reservation/ticketing restrictions
- Minimum stay requirements
- Maximum stay requirements
- Stopover restrictions
- Transfer restrictions
- Travel restrictions
- Sales restrictions
- Voluntary changes