Travel | January 26, 2019 9:00 am

Travel Plans Disrupted? There’s Now a Stubhub for Airline Tickets.

SpareFare lets you sell unused air and hotel reservations

We’ve been thinking a lot about changing our travel plans, particularly in the last few weeks. You know, because we like engaged, happy and paid TSA employees.

It won’t work in all cases, but SpareFare does offer an interesting solution to travel disruption, at least for travelers who want compensation for trips they can no longer take.

A secondary travel service in a marketplace that’s sometimes rather hostile toward secondary markets, SpareFare (launched in late 2016) offers customers a chance to re-sell their non-refundable airline and hotel reservations. And that setup means travelers looking for a good deal — albeit one with some itinerary limitations — could score reservations at half off or more.

Sounds good, right? One major problem is that there are a lot of rules about transferring reservations, particularly within U.S. airlines. Some allow name changes on tickets for a fee, but all have different restrictions on when or how you can sell your ticket (or not). An extensive FAQ and blog on SpareFare’s site outlines what each airline can or cannot do for you, but a general rule of thumb seems to be that low-cost airlines, particularly those in Europe, are a little looser about allowing you to transfer your ticket.

Fewer airlines in the U.S. allow name changes, which is how a flight is transferred from one person to another,” admits SpareFare’s CEO Galena Stavreva. “But for the airlines which do allow name changes, the process is just as easy as the rest of the airlines [around the world]. And there’s no difference here or abroad with hotel reservations.” According to Stavreva, fees range between £25 and £115 per participating airline, and “it’s worth calling” even the carriers with the strictest policies.

As well, SpareFare does offer fraud protection for buyers and sellers, and acts as intermediary between both parties in case of disputes.

As for interested buyers? Wait until your holiday travel gets close, suggests Stavreva. Much like any secondary ticket marketplace (hi, StubHub), sellers get a bit more eager to unload their wares as deadlines approach.

Photo by Owen CL on Unsplash