American Airlines Refund Policy

It can be difficult to know how to get a refund from an airline. Most airline bookings nowadays are done online. Even those done in person will not always give a refund. So, how is it done?

It is important to note that American Airlines do allow you to refund your seat on a flight. All airlines do, as customers will need to be able to cancel or alter their flights to fit their schedules.

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American Airlines Refund Policy

American Airlines allow customers to claim a full refund if they cancel their ticket within 24 hours of purchasing, irrespective of which fare class they booked. Refundable tickets allow customers to cancel and get a full refund on their ticket purchases

Refunds are processed within 7 days of purchase.

Refund PolicyFull Refund issued when canceled within 24 hours
Refund Processing7 Days
Refundable ticketsRefund issued
Non Refundable ticketsNo refunds
Refund Options at AA

American Airlines Cancellation policy

American Airlines’ cancellation policy outlines that customers can cancel flights within 24 hours of purchasing their ticket and not be charged a fee for doing so. After 24 hours, a cancellation fee will apply.

Ticket TypeCancellation Policy
Basic EconomyWithin 24 hours: Full refund and no cancellation fee
RefundableAnytime cancellation. No cancellation fee applies
Non-RefundableWithin 24 hours: Full refund and no cancellation fee
After 24 hours: Cancellation fee will apply
AwardFull refund issued and no cancellation fee applies

What do You Need to get a Refund on American Airlines?

To get a refund on your trip with American Airlines you will need a proof of purchase, as well as the record locator of your flight. This record locator is a code that you should have received after buying the tickets. It allows you to look up all the information you need about your trip.

Something worth noting is that the proof of purchase does not need to be a receipt. You can use a receipt, but bank statements showing the transaction are just as valid, as are online invoices.

If you do not have a receipt, you can get a receipt for your trip any time between one day and 18 months after you have booked the trip. Those 18 months start from the day of booking.

Can You get Refunds on a Canceled Flight?

Yes, you will get a refund on a canceled flight. This refund will be processed automatically if your flight gets canceled for reasons outside of your control. However, refunds for flights you cancel yourself will need to happen after you cancel the flight.

This is an important difference, so to sum it up: If you do not cancel the flight yourself, but have it canceled on you, then it happens automatically. If you do cancel the flight yourself then you have 18 months and two days before your travel in order to cancel it for a refund.

Where do You Request a Refund?

You can request a refund at American Airlines’ website, or at any airport that serves American Airlines flights. Just remember that if you booked your flight through a travel agent, then you will need to talk to that travel agent about getting a refund.

Can You get a Refund for Inflight Purchases?

There are actually two kinds of inflight purchases:

  1. Purchases of inflight food and beverages
  2. Purchases from inflight magazines

For the first kind there are no refunds. For the second one there are refunds, but those purchases are handled by a different company. You would have to take it up with them.

Can You get a Refund After Your Flight?

No, you cannot get a refund after your flight. There are extreme circumstances where you might get a refund, like if your flight was forced to land due to a mechanical or medical emergency.

But the only situations where American Airlines gives these kinds of refunds are the situations where your flight was not completed normally.

Can You get a Refund After a bad Flight?

This is the kind of situation where getting a refund is not normal at all. That is not to say that it has never happened. It has. But you should not expect nor rely on that.

In the time that customers have gotten refunds after bad flights, it has been in situations where the customer has called and complained wanting a refund after a flight that American Airlines itself knew was bad for almost everyone involved. They issue refunds in that case.

It is easy to see their logic. If you call and say the flight was uncomfortable and the service was bad, then you might just be someone trying to get a refund to save money.

But if American Airlines heard that there were unruly customers on the plane, then they do not want to give the impression that they advocate for that behavior. American Airlines will (not always but sometimes) pay you to put up with uncomfortable elements on their flights.

Is American Airlines’ Refund Policy Strict?

Most airlines have essentially the same refund policy as American Airlines. That makes measuring airlines’ refund policies difficult relative to each other. But it is still possible.

The big thing to remember when considering the value of an airline’s refund policy is how it treats refunds after the flight. Airlines provide services, not goods. Asking for a refund on a flight is like asking for a refund on a haircut: Something has to go wrong for you to get one.

However, there are airlines that are more lenient in what refunds they will offer. Highly exclusive luxury airlines will offer partial refunds if you feel you did not get the experience they paid for.

American Airlines is not a highly exclusive luxury airline, but you are a lot more likely to get a partial refund for a first class ticket than a full refund for any sort of ticket.

In both of these cases the logic is that they want to retain a customer, not lose one. That means that you should not call American Airlines saying that you will never fly with them or fly first class again. Say that this time was bad, but you look forward to trying to fly with them again.


Can you get a refund canceling within 24 hours?

If you booked at least 2 days before departure, you have up to 24 hours from the moment of purchase to request a refund.

How can I get a refund for a refundable ticket?

You can seek a refund online or by contacting the reservation department at American Airlines. Within 7 days, the company will provide you with a refund to the original credit card.

How can I get a refund for Non-refundable tickets?

Non-refundable American Airlines tickets are not refundable unless they are canceled within 24 hours from date of purchase.


All airlines design their pay structures around the fact that some tickets will be refunded for one reason or another, the most common reason being cancellations. Therefore, refunds are always available in some way. But by far the easiest refunds are done before the flight takes place.

It is considerably less easy and less common to get a refund after you have flown your flight. American Airlines is more lenient than most consumer airlines, however.

You are more likely to get a refund for a bad experience or a delayed flight on American Airlines than you are on Spirit or Delta. They might even pay for your hotel if you get a bad layover. Just do not expect a refund after every flight or for inflight meals.

See Also:

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