At the moment, with easyJet, I can change my booking to just about any route they fly at no additional cost. How long do I have to choose? If I don't rebook, does easyJet automatically offer a refund or revoke the option to change the flight for free?
As a background, I had paid for some flights that were supposed to take place in the past week and had unusually cheap tickets (the total booking for 2 people on a return trip was less than £ 90). The original flights were canceled (not surprisingly – the low price indicates that it is probably one of the first aircraft that is no longer economically viable).
This was one of my first experiences with the "Manage Disruption" portal, which we found surprisingly easy to use – and with which you can select pretty much any flight with available space without any additional changes. We took the opportunity to change the flights to flights that were at a preferred time and from a preferred airport than the one originally booked but were previously excluded for price reasons. So we initially thought that this was a win.
It later became clear due to the evolving corona virus situation that the trip would be poorly advised, but until then easyJet had waived the normal change fee. If the second flight was not canceled, I instead changed it to a future date (March 31 – April 2), on which I found two cheap flights to hold the booking while we considered our next step.
The intention was never to fly on March 31st, but to use this time to decide which future flights it should be carried on, or to request a refund if that flight was canceled …
Now the second flight has also been canceled and the "Manage Disruption" portal is available again, with which I can rebook an easyJet flight that is currently available for booking without any additional changes.
We have plans (as definite as they can be in the current situation) for a trip in September, but plans for the summer are likely and we would prefer to see how the current situation develops before we fix it and it happens I think this effective "wildcard" booking is very valuable. It seems that I can only select a flight once that easyJet operates at no extra charge.
At this point, it seems a shame to waste this wildcard option on a flight that is quite cheap to book directly anyway, but even more a waste if the option is limited in any way.
The normal intent of this wildcard booking is, of course, that you can switch to other flights at very short notice if they are usually extremely expensive and can be booked at short notice. In this unusual situation, however, we no longer have immediate travel plans, so I want to keep this option as long as possible!
I don't want to bother easyJet customer service with such trifles – they will be busy enough to sort out stranded passengers on return flights, etc.
I don't want a special refund at this point – I would have to pay the full price for my next trip, which will almost certainly be at least a little more expensive. The current booking, which is now valid for "any easyJet route at no additional cost", seems far more valuable than a refund.