Travel plans can change unexpectedly, and it’s important to understand an airline’s cancellation policy to avoid unnecessary stress and costs. In this article, we’ll cover the United Airlines Cancellation Policy in detail, so you know your options and can make informed decisions.

24-Hour Flexible Booking Policy

United Airlines offers a 24-hour flexible booking policy that allows passengers to cancel their flight for a full refund within 24 hours of purchase. This applies to all ticket types, providing a risk-free period to review and adjust your travel plans.

Non-Refundable Ticket Cancellations

For non-refundable tickets, United Airlines typically charges a cancellation fee. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many fees have been waived or adjusted. It’s important to check the current policies at the time of booking. If you cancel a non-refundable ticket, you’ll receive a travel credit for future use, minus any applicable fees.

Refundable Ticket Cancellations

Refundable tickets offer more flexibility. You can cancel these tickets at any time before departure for a full refund to your original form of payment. This option is ideal for travelers who may need to change their plans frequently.

Basic Economy Fare Cancellations

Basic Economy fares are generally non-refundable and non-changeable. However, United Airlines has introduced some flexibility due to the pandemic, allowing changes or cancellations for a fee. Always review the specific terms and conditions when booking a Basic Economy fare.

Award Ticket Cancellations

Award tickets booked with MileagePlus miles can be cancelled, but policies vary based on the type of award and the timing of the cancellation. Generally, if you cancel 30 or more days before departure, you may not incur a fee. Closer to departure, fees may apply. Miles will be redeposited into your account upon cancellation.

How to Cancel Your Flight

Cancelling your United Airlines flight is straightforward:

  1. Visit the United Airlines website or open the mobile app.
  2. Log in to your MileagePlus account or access your reservation using your confirmation code.
  3. Navigate to “My Trips”.
  4. Select the flight you wish to cancel.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the cancellation.

You’ll receive a confirmation email once your cancellation is processed.

Requesting a Refund

To request a refund, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the United Airlines Refunds page.
  2. Enter your ticket details.
  3. Submit your refund request.

Refunds for eligible tickets are typically processed within 7-20 business days. Non-refundable tickets will receive a travel credit minus any applicable fees.

Flight Changes and Rebooking

If you prefer to change your flight rather than cancel, United Airlines flights offers flexible rebooking options. You can change your flight online or through customer service. Fees may apply depending on the fare type and the timing of the change. During the pandemic, many change fees have been waived, offering more flexibility.

Special Considerations

  • Medical and Family Emergencies: United Airlines may offer additional flexibility for cancellations due to emergencies. Contact customer service for assistance.
  • Group Bookings: If you booked multiple tickets together, all changes or cancellations must be processed together.
  • Travel Insurance: Consider purchasing travel insurance to cover unexpected cancellations.

Travel Credits and Vouchers

Travel credits and vouchers issued for canceled flights can be used for future travel. Check the expiration date and any restrictions that may apply. These credits can typically be applied to any United Airlines flight or service.

Tips for Managing Cancellations

  • Stay Informed: Monitor your flight status and check United Airlines’ policy updates.
  • Act Quickly: Utilize the 24-hour flexible booking policy to make changes without penalties.
  • Keep Documentation: Save all communication and receipts related to your booking and cancellation.
  • Consider Upgrades: Refundable tickets offer more flexibility and can be worth the extra cost.


Understanding the United Airlines Cancellation Policy can help you navigate changes to your travel plans with confidence. Whether you’re dealing with non-refundable tickets, award travel, or seeking a refund, knowing your options and rights ensures a smoother experience.

You Can Also …


1. Can I cancel my United Airlines flight for free within 24 hours?

Yes, United Airlines allows free cancellations within 24 hours of booking for a full refund.

2. What happens if I cancel a non-refundable ticket?

You will receive a travel credit for future use, minus any applicable cancellation fees.

3. Are Basic Economy fares refundable?

No, Basic Economy fares are generally non-refundable and non-changeable, though some flexibility may apply during the pandemic.

4. How do I request a refund for a canceled flight?

Visit the United Airlines Refunds page, enter your ticket details, and submit a refund request.

5. Can I change my flight instead of cancelling it?

Yes, United Airlines offers flexible rebooking options. Fees may apply depending on the fare type and timing of the change.