Booking a flight is becoming increasingly complex with many different add-ons and options available. It can be difficult to know what you really need to pay for and what you can just skip over and decide later.
In this article, I’ll be covering four things that you are able to do after you’ve purchased your flight ticket.
This article is going to be helpful for anyone that’s about to make a flight booking. As well as anyone that has already purchased a flight ticket and may be wondering what options they have.
1. Do Not Pay For Your Seat
You’ll also see there are some add-ons that you can actually get for free if you decide not to pay for them during the initial flight booking.
One of those would be seat selection. Which is a sneaky paid add-on that used to be free. Every traveler should consider skipping seat selection when buying a flight. Because you will either have another chance to pay for a seat when you complete your online check-in 24 hours before the flight departs. Or like with the majority of flights you’ll actually be able to select your seat for free when you’re doing the online check-in 24 hours before the flight.
If you are planning to select your seat during that 24-hour online check-in window. Just make sure that you do it about 24 hours before the flight, as opposed to, within the last few hours before the flight with a number of seats left are going to be limited.
And if for some reason you were not able to select your seat during the online check-in. Or perhaps you were assigned a seat and you don’t like it. You can still change it.
When you arrive at the airport you can ask the check-in agent before you go through airport security. Or you can ask the gate agent after you’ve gone through airport security if they can assist you in changing your seat.
If you are going to ask the gate agent like I usually do. Just make sure that you head to the gate at least 30 minutes before the scheduled boarding time. So they have a chance to actually make the change.
If I’ve been assigned a seat that I don’t like such as a window seat, or a middle seat on a long-haul flight. I’ll often just go to the gate agent after airport security and ask them to move me to an aisle seat instead. Since I like to get up and move around during long-haul flights. And I’ve never had a problem doing so.
Any gate agent that I have asked has been very friendly and accommodating, and was able to make the change very quickly and for free.
The only circumstance where I would see this not working would be if the flight was full. And all of the passengers already had their assigned seats. In a case like this, there is nowhere else to move to. I guess the only other reason that you wouldn’t be able to switch your seat to another seat within the same fare class would be if the gate agent just didn’t want to.
This is not something they have to do. It’s a courtesy, so it’s really up to the individual gate agent that you end up speaking with. So be nice.
And if all else fails and you can’t change your seat in advance. You can scope out empty seats on the flight once you’ve boarded and then make your move.
Preferably scope the seats out as you board the plane. But then wait until after takeoff to actually make your move. As it’s going to make the job easier for the flight attendants if everyone is in their assigned seats as they begin takeoff.
2. You Can Add Your Luggage After Booking
Just like how you can select your seat after you’ve already purchased your flight ticket. You can also add a checked bag at a later time. So you don’t need to decide exactly what you’ll be packing or how much you’ll be bringing with you at the time of booking the flight.
If you skip the purchase of a checked bag. But then you realize once you started packing that you actually need to check a bag. You can usually add this bag to your flight cost as you complete the online check-in during the 24-hour period before the flight departs
So I highly recommend that you look up the carry-on and checked baggage weight limits on the airline’s website before you head to the airport. If it does turn out that you do need to check a bag. It’s usually less expensive to do so online in advance than it is to check a bag at the airport.
If you choose not to pay for a checked bag in advance, then you arrive at the airport with a checked bag, or perhaps your carry-on is over the weight limit and needs to be checked. You will either be paying the highest fare to do so. Or an even worse situation would be if the plane was already full of everyone else’s checked bags and they’re not able to accommodate yours at the airport.
3. Special Meals Can Be Added After Booking
Something else you can do even after you’ve booked your flight. It is to call the airline and order a special meal. Sometimes you can even do this by going on the airline’s website and then logging in to view or modify your flight with your last name and the flight reference code found on your booking confirmation.
If a meal is included in your flight for free which they usually are on long-haul international flights. You can usually swap it for a special meal instead.
Anyone can order a special meal. You don’t need to prove that you have any dietary condition or allergies or restrictions that require you to have one.
Then depending on the airline, there can be dozens of options to pick from. Like kosher or vegan or vegetarian and even gluten-free.
The main benefit of ordering a special meal even if you don’t have a dietary preference is that the meal is going to be heated and served to you immediately before anyone else on the plane is served their meal.
So you don’t need to wait for the flight attendant to come down the aisle with the kite of meals as they’re all getting cold and then potentially also not getting the choice that you would have wanted.
So while you can add a special meal to your flight after you make the purchase of the ticket. Keep in mind that you usually need to make the request at least 24 hours before the flight departs. So there’s time to accommodate your request.
Just make sure that you either log in to modify the flight. Or you give an airline a call to make the request more than 24 hours before the flight departs. If you wait until you’re in that 24-hour online check-in window it’s usually too late.
4. Flight Booking Have a 24-Hour Cancellation Windows
Many travelers also don’t know that you can cancel and receive a full refund to your original payment method with no questions asked anytime within a 24-hour window of making the flight booking.
This 24-hour cancellation window applies to all flights that operate within the united states. Whether they start there or they end there.
Even if that flight is a non-refundable ticket you still have 24 hours to cancel it and receive a full refund, not a voucher a refund. So if you see a great deal on a flight. But maybe you’re not sure if you can get the vacation time. I would suggest just booking it now and then knowing that you have that risk-free 24-hour period to cancel it.
But it doesn’t apply if you book your flight through a cheap flight website like Expedia or Flight Network. Many of these third-party booking sites are going to honor the 24-hour cancellation window. But they don’t have to.
So unless you are booking directly with an airline like on delta.com. You definitely want to have a quick look over the terms and conditions. While booking flights comes with a ton of additional options. The good news is that travelers actually have a lot more flexibility after we’ve purchased the ticket than we think we do.
I hope these tips were helpful for your next flight booking. Or maybe to make some changes to an existing flight. I also hope you’ll subscribe to our newsletter. So you can join us back here for more travel tips and hacks.
Safe Travels 🙂