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Can I change my Hotwire or Priceline reservation?

Dear Anita,

I know that Hotwire and Priceline are great ways to save on airfare, particularly at the last minute. But what happens if my flight is cancelled or I need to change my plans? Will my Hotwire- or Priceline-issued tickets still be valid on another flight or another carrier?

Thanks for answering.

Jon D.
Jamaica Plain, MA

Dear Jon,

I have good and bad news for you. The good news is, when you buy a ticket on Hotwire or Priceline and your flight is cancelled, you will be offered the same re-accommodations or compensation as any other passenger. The same holds true when there is a strike or job action. To make things a little easier, according to both Hotwire and Priceline, customers will always be able to access a customer services representative when they need assistance with flight issues.

The bad news is that you cannot change your ticket on your own. All purchases made through Hotwire and Priceline are final and cannot be cancelled, refunded, changed, or exchanged. Once you agree to make a purchase, your credit card will be charged for the total price shown, regardless of whether the airline ticket is used. You will not receive any credit for unused airline tickets. The only exception is if you purchase travel insurance through Priceline. But this insurance only applies in the event that you or your traveling companion suffers injury, sickness, or death.

One last thing: be sure to take the exact flight you booked. A friend of mine, a gate agent who works for a major airline, stated that numerous Priceline and Hotwire customers have missed their scheduled flights by assuming they would be put on the next flight. If you miss your scheduled flight by your own fault, do not expect to be put on the next flight. Most airlines will charge you for a new full-fare ticket.

As strict as Hotwire and Priceline may seem, keep in mind that these restrictions are what allow airlines to better manage their unsold seats, which in turn, allows you to purchase cheaper fares

I hope I've been helpful. Happy travels!

Anita Dunham-Potter

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