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Can you resell an unwanted airline ticket?

Airlines charge $200 to change your itinerary
Posted at 10:36 AM, Aug 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-12 14:14:12-04

Did you ever buy an airline ticket, then discover you couldn't go on the trip?

At that point you may have wondered if you could transfer it to a relative, or sell it to someone who wants it. But you can't.

Think about it: wouldn't it be great if you could sell a plane ticket -- and even make a profit -- if your plans change? You can do that with concert, Broadway or event tickets on sites like StubHub.

But don't look for secondhand plane tickets, even on Craigslist or eBay. Airfare Watchdog says no major airline will allow that. (The only exception is Southwest, which does sell some vouchers that can be transferred.)

And if you buy a resold ticket, the airline will not honor it, as it won't match the name or photo on your driver's license.

Secondhand tickets would allow people to buy really cheap seats -- on half empty flights -- but would also allow sellers to drive prices into the stratosphere on sold out flights, just like at a sold out Rolling Stones concert.

Someone could conceivably ask $1,200 for a $250 flight.

Doesn't that stink?

But from the doesn't that stink file, the fact you can't just transfer a ticket to your daughter or Aunt Mildred if plans change ...

Airlines require you to change your flight, often for a $200 penalty with the major carriers, which will have you saying "doesn't that stink!" (Again, the only exception among major carriers is Southwest, with no change penalties in certain cases.)

But Airfare Watchdog saysthe rules keep ticketing fair. Otherwise you would have to compete with scalper bots buying all the cheap seats the minute they were released.

Sound familiar? Remember the last time you tried to get tickets on Ticketmaster to a red-hot concert?

While it is frustrating, you would be furious if scalpers snapped up all the seats as soon as they went on sale.

Sure, no one likes an industry controlling pricing. But the bottom line is that it makes sense flyers are not allowed to put seats up for the highest bidder, and that way you don't overpay, and don't waste your money.


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