How to Get Refund For Cancellation of Air Ticket Charges Due to Illness

Airlines may provide a customer with a refund when air ticket cancellation is the result of personal illness or the serious illness of an immediate family member. Refunds are issued on a case-by-case, and the amount of the refund depends entirely on the specific airline's refund rules and your ability to show that you couldn't fly because of illness. In some cases, the airline may require that you change the ticket to a future flight rather than cancel, unless you can prove that illness will continue to affect flying in the foreseeable future. In any case, you will need to provide documentation proof required by the airline to get your refund.


Step 1

Contact the airline from which you purchased your ticket to find out its specific restrictions and documentation process for a refund when canceling an air ticket due to illness. If the airline permits cancellation based on your inability to fly because of the serious illness of an immediate family member, advise the airline representative and ask for guidance on the type of information needed to prove this. Typically, airlines will ask for the family member's name and familial relationship.

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Step 2

Acquire the documentation requested by the airline. For example, if you canceled because of your own illness, ask your physician to supply you with a letter on stationary with his letterhead, explaining why he didn't recommend travel due to your illness.


Step 3

Complete any documentation as outlined by the airline in Step 1. This may include filling out a form supplied by the airline or writing a letter that outlines the reason for the cancellation. The airline will usually request the customer name as it appeared on the ticket, customer's contact information, ticket and flight number, date of travel and documentation.

Step 4

Submit the refund request and supporting documentation to the airline by postal mail, fax or email and then contact the airline to confirm receipt of it of your request. If you postal mail the request, wait five to seven business days before contacting the airline to confirm.

Step 5

Wait for a reply from the airline refunding the money or explaining why your cancellation situation doesn't warrant a refund.


Immediate family usually refers to children and wards, siblings, guardians, parents, spouses and legal partners, as well as step and adoptive relatives in those categories. During the call to the airline, ask for an estimated turnaround time for the request.


Typically, airlines charge a processing fee up to $50 for handling a refund request on a non-refundable ticket. An airline may allow an exception to this fee, like when the illness is covered by U.S. Department of Transportation 14 CFR, Part 382, Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel. Always attempt to cancel a refundable ticket before the date and time of departure. Many airlines will issue a credit toward the purchase of a new ticket, instead of monetary refund, if you fail to cancel beforehand. Some airlines will not refund non-refundable tickets because of illness.