Booked Your Flight For The Wrong Dates? Here's What You Can Do

Whenever it's time to book a flight online, there's plenty of room for an error or two. It's human nature to fumble from time to time. Especially in the age of self-booking sites and independent travel planning, the possibilities for mishaps are seemingly endless.

Some of us are bound to goof on spelling when it comes to something as apparently simple as entering our own names. Booking a flight with the incorrect destination code in place is quite common as is booking a flight for the wrong person. Passengers booking through the wrong airline entirely is also a regular occurrence.

While all of these errors are typical, perhaps one of the most frequent mess-ups is booking a flight for the wrong date. This can happen for several reasons ranging from basic human error to overlooking how dates are noted on varying documents. Americans use a month, day, year date format while many other countries stick with a day, month, year approach to noting dates. If you don't take a minute to check which format you're working with, you could unknowingly be booking a flight for a drastically different timeframe.

If you've completed a flight booking and noticed that you've filled in the wrong dates, you're not out of luck. Catching the mistake early, typically within 24 hours, could keep you from having to deal with large fees.

Review your reservation then check again

To avoid having to rectify a wrong date on a flight reservation, it's important to take time to review your information before confirming the booking online. Even if you're positive you entered the correct dates, double-checking is worth your while and your wallet will certainly thank you too. Make a note to check in before 24 hours pass to ensure all is as it should be.

If you do happen to see that you've booked your flight for the wrong dates within that specific timeframe, there are a few things you can do. Many airlines have adjusted their policies these days so that passengers can correct errors on their tickets at no charge within the first 24 hours of booking. Among them is United Airlines which implements a "24-hour flexible booking policy" specific to standard economy and premium tickets alike. 

If you're flying with Southwest Airlines and need to change the dates, they never charge for these adjustments. Many of these corrections can be made right on the airline's website making the adjustment process that much more convenient. You can also always choose to call in to speak with a representative if that gives you more peace of mind.

Look for ways around the fees

Adjusting the travel dates on a flight you've confirmed gets more complicated and costly if you notice the mistake more than 24 hours after booking. At this point, many airlines have fees in place for making adjustments. To see if there's any way around this, the first step is to reach out to the airline directly. Plan on staying on the phone for some time, but if you happen to get someone on the line who can help waive an adjustment fee for any reason, it will be worth your while.

If the representative on the other end of the line doesn't have any helpful alternatives, you might be stuck paying the date adjustment fee as well as the difference of a new plane ticket entirely. While this isn't ever fun, it's generally a better option than canceling all of your travel plans. Many domestic flight change fees cost up to $200 while international flight changes cost up to $400 depending on the airline.

If the combined new ticket price and adjustment are unreasonable, look for a cheaper flight option first. Search engines like Google Flights let you compare multiple airlines and set customized parameters around luggage, preferred airports, and price. Ultimately, it might be less expensive to simply book a new ticket and absorb the cost of the ticket booked for the wrong date. Taking some time to evaluate new ticket prices across airlines could land you a more budget-friendly solution in the end.