Travelers often wonder what the exact terms and stipulations are when it comes to "nonrefundable" airline tickets. First, let’s quickly define the word nonrefundable. The Macmillan dictionary states: if the money that you pay for something is nonrefundable, it will not be given back to you, such as a nonrefundable deposit or ticket. In general terms, that definitely rings true for the airline industry. A nonrefundable airline ticket means that if you must cancel or change your flight, you will not get your money back.
So why would travelers opt for nonrefundable tickets? It all comes down to price. Airlines claim that nonrefundable tickets keep the cost of airfare affordable. And they’re right. Flexible fares (also called full coach or 'y' fare tickets) are fares that allow travelers to change their ticket once the booking is made. But with the accommodation, such as modifying flight dates, flexible tickets come at a premium. Flexible fares can cost double, triple and sometimes even quadruple that of a nonrefundable fare.