How to find the best flexible flight deals – which ones? News

Choose the British Airways ‘flexible’ ticket, with free destination and date changes, and you could pay almost 17 times more than a standard ticket.

A BA flight from London Heathrow to Alicante in February cost £ 57 when we looked in January, but checking ‘Flexible ticket – change your flight without booking fees’ raised that price to £ 966 for an’ Economy Plus Flex ticket. “.

Yet BA’s current ‘Book with Confidence’ offer means the standard £ 57 ticket is already flexible. The airline currently allows customers to change their flight dates for free until the boarding gate closes. At the end of January, they extended the date of use of the vouchers provided until April 2023, even for vouchers already issued.

Given the current levels of travel uncertainty, most airlines have a similar program but, without delving into their terms and conditions, the rules are not always clear.

And while some airlines, like BA, will let you change until almost the last minute, others will still charge you a fee unless you make the change weeks before your trip. Most airlines still offer “flexible” tickets – although there may be no point in purchasing them, as standard tickets are flexible for many dates anyway.

When free changes are not allowed, it can sometimes be cheaper to buy an entirely new ticket than to pay to change dates.

For more unbiased travel news and tips, sign up with Which? To travel

Airlines’ flexible flight policies for new bookings explained

Can I change a BA flight?

Book a flight departing until April 30, 2022 and then you can move it for free to any new date until April 30, 2023. You can also change the destination.

Changes can be made until the boarding gate closes (usually one hour before departure).

The only catch is that you will receive a voucher in exchange for your original ticket. If your new flight is more expensive, you will have to pay the difference.

British Airways also sells Economy Plus Flex tickets, which also include increased baggage allowance and other extras. Do not choose this option. You can buy all the extras cheaply without it. We asked him why he kept selling the unnecessary and expensive ‘flex’ tickets and he did not respond directly, but said: ‘We provide our customers with a wide range of options to provide more choice and s. ‘best adapt to their individual travel plans‘.

Can I change an easyJet flight?

There is currently no charge on new bookings for date or destination changes. Unfortunately, you can only make changes up to 14 days before travel. After that, you will need to pay a fee.

EasyJet also sells “flexi” fares, which were between two and three times more expensive than standard fares when we checked. They only allow you to change your dates a day before or after and you cannot change the destination at all. They also include other extras but, again, it’s cheaper to buy them separately.

Can I change a Jet2 flight?

Jet2 is the only one of the airlines we reviewed that does not offer free flight changes or sell “flexible” tickets. However, it only costs £ 35 per booking to change flight dates and you can do so up to five hours before your flight.

This is probably more useful, especially for a group booking, than being able to change your flights for free but having to give several weeks’ notice, as you do with some airlines.

Can I change a Ryanair flight?

Ryanair offers free changes for bookings made up to June 30, 2021. You can move your flight to any date until October 31, 2021 and change the destination, as long as you do so at least seven days before departure . Customers are allowed to make up to two changes during this period before they are charged a fee.

Flights purchased under the € 5 promotion for flights on September 1 and 2 are not eligible.

Ryanair also sells ‘flexi plus’ tickets, which were three to four times more expensive than standard tickets when we looked. They only allow you to change your date one day, before or after your original flight. They also include other extras, which would be cheaper to purchase separately.

Can I change a Tui flight?

No charge changes can be made for any flight departing until April 30, 2021. However, changes can only be made up to 21 days prior to departure.

With circumstances changing so quickly during the pandemic, this is a huge downside. Tui’s explanation was that most customers buy flights as part of a package, and – if government advice is blocked or changed – package vacation customers would be reimbursed anyway.

Can I change a Virgin Atlantic flight?

For travel before August 31, 2021, you can make up to two date changes and / or one name change free of charge until departure. The dates can be moved until December 31, 2022. If the new rate is higher you will have to pay the difference, but this is forfeited if the difference is less than £ 60 for Economy, £ 120 for Premium or 350 £ for the Upper.

Virgin Atlantic also sells expensive and unnecessary “flex” flights. A standard flight from London to New York that cost £ 319 became £ 2,031 when we ticked the ‘flexible’ box on their website.

It was not clear on his website what the terms and conditions of this ticket are, nor how flexible it is. Virgin Atlantic did not respond to our request for clarification but said, “We are constantly evaluating how best to ensure our customers are kept up to date with the latest reservation policies.”

Flexible booking policies of holiday companies

Some travel agencies also offer flexible travel for package holidays. You can see some of the best deals here.