All You Need to Know About Flight Cancellations

So, you might be wondering how flight cancellations work and what it means when you need to cancel a flight ticket. Perhaps, you’ve been thinking about what you’d do if you suddenly found out you won’t be able to make your trip. Don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll show you the ins and outs of cancelling a flight and answer your most pressing questions.


Image courtesy of @mackie_photo_airplane via Instagram

Can you cancel an airline ticket?

In short, yes. Airlines do allow you to cancel a flight ticket but you should be careful. This almost always carries a penalty. By booking a flight with Travelstart instead, you have the option to choose from one of our three refund products (more on these further down). By adding one of these value add-ons, you can cancel your airline ticket and get a full refund of your airfare and taxes.


Image courtesy of @from_busan.jin9 via Instagram

Can you get a refund if you cancel your flight?

Some airlines charge you a cancellation fee or the full value of your ticket if you decide to cancel your flight. These cancellation fees are dependent on the airline you use. In some cases, an airline will refund you your airfare, but not the taxes (which take up the bulk of the cost). Always read the fine print when booking your flights, this will usually tell you what you can and cannot do should you not be able to catch your flight.

This isn’t the worst though. If you don’t cancel and avoid showing up for your flight, you won’t be refunded anything. However, some airlines may still refund unused taxes.

In order to avoid all of this, take a look at our refund products. If you use one, you can get a full refund of your airfare and taxes.

With Travelstart’s flight cancellation protection, you have the guarantee of receiving a full refund of your airfare and taxes if you cancel your ticket before the scheduled departure of your flight.

Below are our useful cancellation products that you can add to your flight booking. Take note that you have to add them to your booking when purchasing your flights.

The Cancel within 7 days product allows you to cancel your flight within seven days after you’ve completed your booking! You will then get a full refund of airfare and taxes for any reason. This product is only available for international flights and when the departure date is more than 15 days away. This product is not available through Flapp.

The Cancel anytime product lets you cancel a flight for any reason 48 hours before the scheduled departure of your flight and receive a full refund of airfare and taxes. This refund option is only available for international travel. This product is not available through Flapp.

The cost of purchasing the Cancel within 7 days and Cancel anytime products depends on your cabin class and the details of your flight.

The Medical Cancellation Refund product allows you a full refund if you suddenly get ill, there’s a death in your travel group, or you or a close relative gets admitted to hospital. A close relative according to the Travelstart policy is your husband, wife, partner, child, grandchild, brother, sister, parent or grandparent. This refund requires proof, such as a doctor’s note, form for hospital admission or discharge, or death certificate. The product is only valid if you request a cancellation before your scheduled departure date. You can use the Medical Cancellation Refund product for both domestic and international travel. You can purchase it through Flapp. Please note that the processing time of this refund is determined by the airline, not Travelstart.

Medical Cancellation Refund Cost:

  • Domestic – From R90
  • International – From R280

Please be aware that when receiving your refund, it will only be the airfare and taxes. No other additional costs you incurred will be refunded, such as car and hotel reservations.

Remember that you have to purchase these products at the same time you make your flight booking, otherwise, you will not get a refund when you cancel your flight. You cannot buy any of our cancellation products after you have made a booking. You CANNOT cancel your booking after the flight has departed. If you do so, the airline will consider you a “no-show” and your ticket could then be non-refundable (some tickets are 100% non-refundable, since airlines would then sell your seat to avoid loss of income).

Also read:

Find out how you can get your money back when an airline is liquidated.

Read up on what you can do when you miss your flight.



How can I add these products to my booking?

Follow this simple process to ensure you’re protected against flight cancellations:

  1. Visit the Travelstart website
  2. Search for your preferred flight and select your available dates
  3. Complete the online form
  4. You will then be taken to a page to customise your trip
  5. Further down, select the Cancellation Refund product you wish to use
  6. Once you are happy with everything, click Continue
  7. You will then arrive at the payment area, where you can select your preferred payment method and book your flight

Customise Your Trip updated

If you need more help on the booking process, get everything you need to know to book your flights.

Please also note…

  1. For the products that we offer, the processing of your refund will take six to 12 weeks, since the actual refunds are processed by the airline.
  2. With our products, you can only cancel a flight before your outbound flight departs.
  3. Our products do not cover any car or hotel reservations you may have made.


flight cancellations stress free travel

Now that you know all about flight cancellations, you can book your flights with complete peace of mind. Where do you plan to go next? Will you be taking a cruise down the River Thames in London? Do you want to see the northern lights in Norway? Maybe you’re longing to explore the Galápagos Islands in Ecuador.

Are you still in need of some travel inspiration? Subscribe to our newsletter and take a look at our flight specials.

Remember to select your preferred cancellation protection and book your cheap flights with Travelstart!

Have you discovered any alternatives to cancelling your flight? Let us know in the comments.

All information on this page was correct at the time of publishing and may change at any time without prior notice. Travelstart will not be held liable for loss or inconvenience resulting from the use of information from this website.

Our Readers Comments

  1. I have made an error on my bookings and need to change the date 14 days ahead of my booking.
    I have phoned and kept on hold for over 35 min!! I have emailed and they have confirmed that they have received my email, however, I need to find out the price for the change and no one has come back to me.
    Can someone kindly help and advise how I can go about this urgently.

    • Hi Helen,

      Apologies for the struggle in trying to reach our operations team. I’ve done a search using your e-mail address and unable to locate a recent booking for travel in 2018 or 2019

      For any changes to a booking please contact our amendments team direct on:

      Please send them your Travelstart booking number as well as new dates of travel and one of our amendments agents will be in touch.

  2. I don’t see any option on the website to actually cancel the flight! How do I go about doing this? You advertise the cancellation features but it seems next to impossible to cancel? Please help!

    • Hi Megan,

      If you’ve made your booking through Travelstart you can e-mail our refunds team at: with your Travelstart booking number and cancellation query. They will look at the rules of the ticket and will get back to you with a cancellation quote.

      Should you wish to accept the quote and proceed with the cancellation you will need to reply to their cancellation quote confirming in writing you accept.

  3. your customer service is pathetic. i spoke to a lady to change my dates and she said she will send me a payment which i never got. then i called to check whats happening and i was informed my ticket was cancelled as i did not make payment and i had to make another booking. i made another booking only to get an e-mail informing me i booked twice and both my bookings are still valid.

    they said i can claim for a refund before the date of the flight but they did not send me the fund mail.

    they are terrible. no trained staff and no one to assist

    • Hi Tharishka,

      Sorry to hear this is the reason you are contacting us and that you have not had a great experience when booking with Travelstart.

      I’ve done a search using the e-mail address you mailed us from and have only found one booking for travel in October.

      Your e-ticket was mailed at: SENT # 20:40:37 Wed, 19 Sep 18
      An invoice was sent at: SENT # 00:45:03 Thu, 20 Sep 18
      A payment link was sent at: SENT # 09:26:30 Fri, 21 Sep 18
      An e-mail with the subject line: Urgent: Regarding the amendment query for booking (xxxxxxxx) : SENT # 08:12:09 Sat, 22 Sep 18
      An e-mail with regards to a refund sent at: SENT # 12:32:00 Thu, 04 Oct 18

      Please send us the Travelstart booking numbers of both booking and the e-mail address used to make the booking.

      If you are not receiving any of our e-mails maybe the e-mail address used to make the booking was incorrect.

      You welcome to send us an e-mail at: where one of our agents will look into this. Please send all details as this does help speed up the process.

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