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Everything you need to know about flexible travel

We know that travel is especially difficult, if not impossible, right now. But alongside the latest COVID-19 travel advice and updates, we want to continue to inspire you with new travel content so that when the world opens its doors again, you'll be ready.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, few things feel certain, least of all travel. And right now, holidays are completely off the cards, as the UK is under lockdown and travel bans from the UK to several countries are in place. When the time does come to book a post-lockdown trip, restrictions change so quickly that you’ll want to book with peace of mind. Flexible travel has become essential, from flexible flights to making sure that your hotel and car bookings allow for last-minute changes and even cancellations when possible.

The good news: with Skyscanner’s new features, travellers who are interested in booking future travel can do so with confidence. In ways we’ll explain below, finding flexible travel options is as easy as a few clicks. That way, when it’s appropriate to book travel once again, you have all the flexible travel tools you’ll need.

What is a flexible flight ticket?

Generally speaking, a flexible flight ticket is one that allows for changes or cancellations without a fee, with a smaller-than-usual fee, or another condition that makes it easier for the traveller to change their plans. Many airlines have agreed to eliminate change fees altogether in response to the uncertainty the pandemic has created.

When searching with Skyscanner’s “Flexible Ticket” option, this feature shows which airlines have changed their booking terms. The filter will only display airlines that offer flexible tickets, or hotels and car hire with free cancellation. And if you like to dot your i’s and cross your t’s, we also link directly to the airline’s booking policy so you can review all of the fine print.

While Skyscanner will always do its best to show you the most up-to-date prices and policies, it’s important to check the terms and conditions of your specific ticket at the time of booking to ensure you’re fully briefed on the details of its change policy.

Which airlines are offering flexible flight tickets?

There are several airlines offering flexible flights through the end of this year and beyond. Here are five airlines that have expanded their change fees and cancellation policies.

Airline Airline Policy
easyJetIf your flight is cancelled due to coronavirus you can choose to switch your booking online or on the easyJet app, claim a voucher for your booking or opt for a refund.
RyanairIf your flight gets cancelled due to coronavirus you will be given the option to request a travel voucher or rebook for a future date. If you want a refund, fill in their refund application form, but those who choose not to fly due to FCDO rules will not be eligible for a refund.
Norwegian AirlinesIf your flight is cancelled you will receive confirmation via SMS and email. You can request a refund of your unused ticket, or opt for flight credit and get an extra 20% towards a future trip. Change fees still apply if you want to change a flight.
TUITUI has cancelled all holidays until mid-February. Customers due to travel then can amend to another holiday with an incentive, receiving an ATOL-protected refund credit note with incentive, or cancel and receive a full refund.
British AirlinesIf your flight has been cancelled you will be contacted by the airline and offered a refund, but you can change your flight online on the airline’s ‘Book with Confidence’ pages.

Finding flexible flights with Skyscanner

Whether you peruse our website on your desktop or mobile app, Skyscanner makes it easy to find flexible airline tickets,though please note that this feature is not yet available on mobile web. Simply tick the “Flexible tickets only” box (or, in the app, toggle the switch) for COVID-19 peace of mind in a single instant.

Screenshot for flexible flight search

How to find hotels with free cancellation on Skyscanner

If you’re booking flexible flights, you’re also going to want to have the option to change or cancel your accommodation booking as well. That way, you can book flexible travel for your whole trip now, and decide if it’s still OK to go later.

Flexible and free cancellation for hotels

Using Skyscanner to find flexible hotel stays is slightly different than doing so for flexible flights. Specifically, once you have completed your hotel search, navigate down the sidebar (or, in the app, tap “Sort & Filters” at the bottom of the results) and tick or toggle the “Free cancellation” option.

Booking cars with free cancellation on Skyscanner

Similar to flights and hotels, Skyscanner also makes it easy to find flexible rental car bookings that you can cancel for free or for a small fee, up to 48 hours in advance.

On the website, complete your search as usual and then tick the “Free cancellation” box in the left-hand sidebar, underneath the “Cancellation policy” heading.

In the app, simply tap the “Filter” button before completing your search, and tick the “Free Cancellation” box to make sure your results are flexible from the get-go.

Whether you’re on the hunt for flexible flights or want to enjoy some peace of mind when booking hotels and cars, Skyscanner allows you to book with confidence. Both on our website and in our award-winning mobile app, it only takes a second to fine-tune your search results so all you’ll see are flexible travel options. With the added travel stress brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, having this kind of peace of mind is nothing short of priceless.

Can I travel now?

Non-essential travel is off the cards while the UK is under lockdown and travel bans are in place, plus most flights from the UK are disrupted. Keep an eye on the Skyscanner travel restrictions map for updates when this changes. If you’re eyeing a few destinations in particular, you can also sign up to receive email updates when they reopen.

Got a destination in mind?

Why not get your trip started with a quick search and look out for the best deals.

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Flexible travel FAQs

Which airlines have flexible flight tickets?

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, most popular airlines (including easyJet, Ryanair and British Airlines) have expanded their flight change policies to increase flexibility.

What is a flexible flight ticket?

Generally speaking, a flexible flight ticket is one that allows you to make changes without incurring a fee. Note that you will still need to pay for any fare differences; tickets that are free to change may not be free to refund outright.

Can I buy a plane ticket without a set date?

You need to set a date when you book most flights. However, if you buy a flexible ticket, you can move the flight date and time until the ticket’s validity period (which is usually, but not always, one year from the date of purchase) ends.

Want to read more?

Travel might not be possible right now, but it’s a great time to get inspired for a post-lockdown trip. Here are some awesome Skyscanner articles to keep your wanderlust alive: