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E.g., KLM airline offers a fare lock for a fully refundable ticket (fully refundable till flight boarding):

enter image description here

Text:

Need some time to think? No problem: you can lock this fare now and pay later. The date and fare will then be guaranteed until Tuesday 20 December 2022 at 20:30 (local time). Save this fare for 24 hours. USD 48.00.

The ticket is fully refundable:

IMG:

The fare lock option got offered after choosing the fully refundable ticket (but I assume the fare lock option is offered for non-fully-refundable tickets as well).

What's the upside(s) of paying for a fare lock on a fully refundable flight ticket, if any? Assume there's no booking fee (which is the case for KLM). Since it's a refundable fully flight ticket, I thought one could simply buy it and refund it as a way to lock the fare for free.

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    You only have to pay $48 to secure the ticket, not the full price? There seems quite a lot of variation in these services, so I can't speak specifically for KLM.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Dec 20, 2022 at 14:25
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    The target for that kind of fare lock is not the one that will get Flexible tickets, it's made for non-refundable tickets Commented Dec 20, 2022 at 14:34
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    @NicolasFormichella makes sense. I was surprised the fare lock option got offered after choosing the flexible ticket. I'll add it in the question. Commented Dec 20, 2022 at 14:36
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    Why it is proposed because it can apply to anyone, and they can make that money off it as it is theirs regardless if the person ends up buying that ticket, so it is proposed to anyone Commented Dec 20, 2022 at 14:39
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    The Amadeus system works precisely by locking the fare and then giving you (IIRC) 48 hours to make a payment or cancel. The travel agency I normally use uses this to prepare the ticket according to my specifications, send me the booking reference which I then verify on CheckMyTrip that it is indeed what I want, and then when I confirm, my credit card is charged and the ticket becomes valid. Charging for this is a complete dick move. Commented Dec 21, 2022 at 15:02

2 Answers 2

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The "lock fare" option is useful if you want to keep your bank account balance/credit unaffected. A refund can take a while to process so you might be without that money for a week or so otherwise.

Since it isn't completely useless the airline has no reason to remove it. It is easier for them to always offer it rather than to have rules about when to offer the "lock fare" option.

Also, if it is there people will use it and it is easy revenue for them.

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The fare lock means you are certain you can buy the ticket (before the 24 hours is over) for the price you are seeing it now.

Prices of airplane tickets go up (and down). If the price goes down, the "refundable if you cancel before the 1st flight in your trip" is interesting. You refund it and buy the ticket again. (I'm not sure if that's allowed though)

If the price goes up in that 24 hours, you can still buy it for the price when you saw it. It has nothing to do with the refund.

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    Thanks! "It has nothing to do with the refund." -> Since it's a refundable fully flight ticket, I thought one could simply buy it and refund it as a way to lock the fare for free. Commented Dec 20, 2022 at 14:35
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    That works, if the price goes down. But if you don't buy the ticket and don't buy the "save this fare", if the price goes up (in that 24h period), you lose money. Commented Dec 20, 2022 at 14:43
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    Wait - if you buy it as Franck says - you're done, you got that price. Franck is asking about any difference buying one, versus, buying the other.
    – Fattie
    Commented Dec 21, 2022 at 16:08
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    I think the point of the question is that you can simply just buy the ticket instead of paying for the fare lock. The fare is definitely locked in if you buy it. Then, since it's a fully-refundable fare, you can just get a refund if you decide not to travel (or if the price goes down.) And, yes, refunding, then rebooking at a lower price is allowed, the fully-refundable tickets don't often tend to drop much in price.
    – reirab
    Commented Dec 21, 2022 at 19:57
  • As an interesting side note, since the U.S. carriers eliminated their change and cancellation fees, even on non-refundable tickets, if the price goes down, you can cancel and rebook or, at least in the cases of Southwest and Delta, 'change' to the same flight and get the difference in price back as a credit for future flight. In the case of Southwest, that credit also now never expires. For award tickets, the difference in miles just goes back into your mileage account with no restrictions. It's pretty great, actually.
    – reirab
    Commented Dec 21, 2022 at 19:59

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