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Airline Ticket Hack - 2021 Review


Airline Ticket Hack - Go Non-Refundable and Travel Insure - Your flight price has dropped by 70%.

If you are even thinking about buying a refundable ticket, then do the math on taking a non-refundable ticket, and buying travel insurance.

The airlines are robbing people blind with their 3x pricing on refundable tickets.

That is the basis math of the Airline Ticket Hack. You need to check each time, but the seat price for a Refundable flight, particularly when booked far in advance, is typically three or four times as much as a Non-Refundable flight. You will hear of these Non-Refundable tickets being called ‘Throwaway Tickets’ because if you don’t fly, you may as well throw them away. A very clever airline marketing exec came up with that expression, we would imagine. The best way to think about Non-Refundable tickets is ‘Inexpensive, yet Insurable’. Not as sexy, we grant you, but certainly, much, much cheaper, most of the time.

This is a recent example, using American Airlines between Dallas and LA.

See how simple the Airline Ticket Hack is. We looked at a flight between Dallas and LA with American around six months ahead of time. However, please try it out using other airlines and other routes. Note that the biggest savings come when a passenger is booking a more expensive seat (First, Business), but the percentage savings hold true through all classes on an airline.

Put simply, a Refundable Seat can cost 300% of the price of a Non-Refundable Seat that is then bundled with inexpensive insurance.

So, we buy a Refundable Economy Ticket from DFW to LAX in August for a week (six months ahead).

American wants $2,100 for a Main Cabin Fully Flexible Seat.

Truly and honestly, we have no idea what this is. It’s in the Main Cabin, but is more expensive than a First Class seat. Truly baffling.

American $2k

So, we don’t click on this, but seek a more traditional Main Cabin (Economy) seat. And now, this looks like a bargain, after we managed to avoid the $2,100 fully flex seat.

American wants $1,150 for a Main Cabin Flexible Seat.

So, it is flexible, just not ‘fully’ flexible. American are kind – we can change our flights, not lose all of our money, but we will need to pay for the effort to make the flight change. $200. For a change fee. That makes the convenience fee to book a movie ticket seem fair and justifiable. $200 extra to allow us to make a change. Unbelievable.

American $1k

Still, it’s only $200. It’s not as though the airlines feed on this at all. Surely, it cannot add up to much…

Well, according to the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the Top 25 US Airlines rake in $3bn a year in Reservation Change Fees. And $4bn a year in Baggage Fees.


BoT Stats

If you didn’t love the airlines before, you probably don't love them now. But, let’s go beat them at their own game...

Just before you hit the ‘Buy’ button, you, unlike almost every traveler, decide to get creative. Why not buy a Non-Refundable seat, and wrap it up with some ‘Cancel For Any Reason’ travel insurance from a marketplace like AARDY.com.

American wants $400 for the Non-Refundable Main Cabin Seat.

American $400

Add the insurance – it will cost around $50.

We are choosing some really robust cover:

  • Cancellation (Sickness, Death, Incapacitation etc.) - 100% refund.
  • Cancellation for Work Reasons - 100% refund.
  • Cancellation for Any other Reason - 75% refund.

Aardvark American $40

So, for $450 a customer booking that DFW - LAX return has nearly the same level of cover as the person paying $1,150 for the exact same seat.

A $700 saving. That is how easy the Airline Ticket Hack is.

Remember that the person in the $1,150 seat still has to pay $200 every time they make a change. Whereas the person in the $450 seat just needs to throw the ticket away and use their insurance if a flight needs to be cancelled.

However, we haven’t explored why these price discrepancies exist. Normally there is no such thing as a free lunch.

It’s pretty simple - travel insurance is based on risk, and the probability of a claim.

Whereas flight prices are based on pricing models that try to gouge as much money out of a passenger as is humanly possible.

And if you like to fly First Class, the numbers become even more staggering. Recently we ran a study that showed a $16,600 saving on a First Class ticket, using this exact same methodology.

Safe travels!

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