When Airfare Drops After You Purchase Your Ticket to Hawaii

When Airfare Drops After You Purchase Your Ticket to Hawaii

So you’ve just bought tickets for your Hawaii vacation and believe you’ve found the best Hawaii travel deal possible. But soon thereafter, there’s a Hawaii airfare sale that further reduces the price on the same flights. What if anything can you do about it?

Here’s a review of the airlines flying to Hawaii and how they handle fare drops as of August 2012. Read each airline’s specific terms and conditions. Generally, these assurances are based only on the lower price being for the same flights, dates, fare class, booking code, and advance purchase requirements.

Starting in January 2012, new DOT rules allow passengers to be able to either hold a reservation without payment, or cancel a booking without penalty, for 24 hours after the reservation is made, if they make the reservation one week or more prior to a flight’s departure date. That is unfortunately not necessarily reflected on the airlines’ website as far as we could determine. Hat tip to Paul; see comment below.

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Air price guarantee. A credit for the price difference is offered when the price drops after you purchase.

Allegiant Air

No credit or refund. On the other hand their fares are frequently the cheapest in the marketplace.

Delta Airlines

Best fare guarantee. Cancel your ticket or receive a credit for the difference plus $100 voucher within 24 hours of purchase only.

Hawaiian Airlines

Change in fare. Receive a transportation credit less $40 if the same booking code is available at a lower cost after booking.

United Airlines

No credit or refund.

US Airways

Refund policies. Lower fare refund voucher is available with a $150 administrative fee.

Vip Alerts



  1. Cass (2 years ago)

    How do I hold a reservation?

    • Beat of Hawaii (2 years ago)

      Hi Cass.

      In most cases you will need to buy it first, then cancel it. If there are exceptions, I am not aware of them.


  2. Paul Ferdinand (2 years ago)

    In January of this year, the Department of Transportation passed a ruling that any ticket can be refunded within 24 hours of purchase, as long as the flight is 7 days away.

    Some wholesalers offering Hawaii packages that deal with travel agents sell a “waiver”, not to be confused with travel insurance, that enable passengers to cancel and rebook their air reservatrions without penalty for the cost of the waiver. The price of the waiver is often less than the $150 fee often charged by the airlines. Depending on the wholesaler this policy often applies to published or sale type fares.

    • Jeff (2 years ago)

      Thanks Paul.

      I updated the post to include the DOT press release. It’s interesting that some of the air carriers do not have that on their websites.



  3. Doug Brown (2 years ago)

    Are you sure about United Airlines’ policy regarding “no credit or refund”. In the past I have been able to change my ticket for a cheaper fare BUT had to pay the $150 change fee. It would make sense change a ticket to Hawaii only in those instances when the fare dropped more than $150, but to state that United has no refund or credit policy is misleading, if not inaccurate.

    • Sue (2 years ago)

      On Aug. 26, 5 days ago, I did what Doug suggests. United fare dropped more than 150, I received travel vouchers for the difference( $273/ticket) and was charged $150 penalty per ticket.

    • Jeff (2 years ago)

      Hi Doug and Sue,

      United previously had a fare drop policy on their website that included a $150 change fee. We are no longer able to find any reference to that on their website. It sounds like it is still in effect, albeit not overtly stated.