Priceline is not exactly a beacon of consumer rights but over the years it has stood by the 24 hour free cancellation it offers for flight bookings. Now the DOT mandate is one thing but Priceline has gone far beyond that and implemented the following:
– a 24 hour free cancellation for ANY flight itinerary (even if it does not touch the US)
– it applies for any flight bookings and cancellation is free up until 3 hours before departure (the DOT mandate is actually 7 days out!)
– I recently spoke to an agent and she mentioned the cancellation applies to a ‘business day’ so if the 24 hours end on a weekend – you have until the ‘start’ of the next business day
– the cancellation can be done online and offline and the online version is especially painless
Now consider this scenario – you make a booking for a flight on Sunday evening on Friday – so 24 hours will run out on Saturday and (according to that agents statement!) you have until Monday morning to cancel. Essentially you get 48-72 hours to cancel. Even if that statement was bogus you can use the guarantee for a flight you want to ‘lock in’ for a time frame within 24 hours but outside 3 hours of departure. You can shop for multiple flights and have 3 hours until departure to decide which flights you want to take.
Even better you can check-in for all flights and issue boarding passes, go to the lounge and eat and drink. Just make sure you clear up everything 3 hours before departure (ideally make it a few hours before that to be on the safe side).
That’s an amazing benefit for last-minute travel!