This resource explains how to manage expenses related to cancellations or delays of university-sponsored travel.
When the airline cancels a flight: Refunds
If a flight has been canceled by the airline, the traveler may be eligible for a refund, even if it is a non-refundable ticket. The traveler should check with the Stanford Travel Booking Channel (or the original booking source if it was booked outside of Stanford Travel) where the ticket was issued to determine the options available. Please note that refunds may take one to two billing cycles to appear on the original form of payment.
When the traveler cancels a trip: Refunds and ticket exchanges
Refundable airline tickets that were purchased with a Stanford Travel Card can be cleared in the Expense Requests System after the refund has been processed. Any applicable refund penalties are permissible expenses, and can be submitted for reimbursement at that time.
Non-refundable airline tickets can typically be exchanged for a future date. Airline change fees may apply, although many U.S. airlines have waived their fees. If a traveler needs to cancel a flight, it must be canceled before the scheduled departure time or the ticket will have no redeemable value.
- When exchanging a ticket for a lower priced ticket, any remaining amount from the original ticket may not be returned by the airline.
- When exchanging a ticket for a higher priced ticket, the traveler’s department is responsible for paying for any increases in airfare for the new itinerary.
Check with the Stanford Travel Booking Channel (or the original booking source if booked outside of Stanford Travel) where the ticket was issued to determine the specific rules for the reservation. Agent fees will only apply if an agent processes the airline ticket exchange. These fees are permissible for reimbursement by the university.
The validity dates and rebooking requirements for unused tickets vary by airline but are typically valid for one year after the date of purchase. Some airlines allow travel to be booked up until the ticket’s expiration date. Other airlines require that travel be completed prior to the expiration date. To confirm your ticket’s expiration date and specific rebooking rules, check the Stanford Travel Booking Channel (or the original booking source if booked outside of Stanford Travel) where the ticket was issued.
- For tickets booked through Egencia, see the Airline Credits section on the right of the Egencia landing page, or navigate to View Profile > Payment Types to find the Airline Credits section with ticket expiration dates and ticket value. You may also call Egencia for information.
- For tickets booked through Key Travel, contact a Key Travel agent.
- For tickets booked through StudentUniverse, contact a StudentUniverse agent.
- For tickets booked through United Corporate Direct, check your United profile or call United for information.
United Airlines non-refundable tickets purchased using Egencia or Key Travel may be eligible for a Refund Waiver, less a processing fee. Contact an Egencia or Key Travel agent to verify eligibility and to initiate the refund process.
Name Change Waiver
For airline tickets booked through Egencia or Key Travel, the following airlines, shown in the chart below, may grant a Name Change Waiver. This allows a new traveler to apply an unused ticket credit, that’s in the name of the original traveler, towards a new airline reservation.
Important Notes about Name Change Waivers:
- A Name Change Waiver can’t be processed until a new traveler has been identified and is ready to book a new itinerary. Meanwhile, the ticket will remain in the original traveler’s name and travel profile.
- The original traveler should be advised not to use the unused ticket credit in the interim. There is no systemic way to monitor or prevent use.
- Unused airline ticket credits can not be transferred to another airline and the unused airline ticket credits must be exchanged prior to the expiration date.
|Alaska||Contact Egencia or Key Travel to rebook ticket.*|
|American||Contact Egencia or Key Travel to rebook ticket.*|
|Delta||Contact Egencia or Key Travel to rebook ticket.*|
|United||Contact Egencia or Key Travel to rebook ticket. Name change waivers are not available for tickets booked through United Corporate Direct.|
|*Eligibility for name change will be determined at time of ticket exchange. Fees may apply.|
- If the traveler purchased the ticket with a Travel Card (TCard), they may use the ticket for a personal trip but they must reimburse Stanford for the ticket.
- If the traveler purchased the ticket with a personal credit card, and has not yet been reimbursed by Stanford for that cost, the ticket may be used for a personal trip.
When trips must be cancelled, travelers are encouraged to rebook nonrefundable tickets for travel at a later date or transfer the ticket to another traveler whenever possible. If it is not possible to use the ticket prior to the expiration date, it is reimbursable with proper documentation. An Unused Air Ticket Affidavit must be downloaded, completed and submitted with the expense report in the Expense Requests System (ERS). Unused tickets must be charged to an unrestricted account (PTA) and need to use the appropriate unallowable expenditure type.
- Airline tickets for visitors, students or departed employees can be expensed at time of cancellation or employment termination. Please note that the airline ticket will remain in the traveler’s name and retain value until the ticket has expired. There is no systemic way to monitor or prevent use. Therefore, it is strongly encouraged that the ticket be transferred (or refunded, if applicable) as soon as possible. The traveler can also opt to decline reimbursement and use the ticket for personal travel.
- Airline tickets for active employees can not be expensed until the ticket has been used, transferred to another traveler, or the residual credit of an exchanged ticket has been forfeited or expired. An Unused Air Ticket Affidavit must be downloaded and completed to request reimbursement of any unused or forfeited funds.
- Depending on the specific airline rule, if a ticket has been exchanged or reissued to a fare of lesser value than the original ticket, the residual value may be either forfeited or exchanged for a second ticket.
- For unused airline tickets purchased with a Stanford Travel Card, the expense end date in ERS must be extended until the expiration date per How to Manage Travel Card (TCard) Expense End Dates. The system will only allow a 2-year extension. For tickets with a longer term expiration, submit a support request notifying the Card Services team of this extension.
- For unused airline tickets purchased with a personal card, advances will only be granted for personal financial hardship.
- To return all or part of an advance, follow the steps in How to Return Unused Advance Funds.
Cancellations by Conference Attendee
If an employee cancels conference attendance, every effort should be made to acquire a refund for prepaid expenses. Any unrecovered conference registration fees or cancellation fees may be reimbursable by Stanford at the department's discretion.
Cancellations by Conference Hosts
Conference attendees should seek reimbursement from the conference host when the cancellation has been initiated by the host. In the rare situation where the host will not reimburse, attendees should seek approval from the department, and with agreement, submit back-up documentation with the expense request for reimbursement.
Cancellation fees should be charged to an Unallowable Expenditure Type on a Non-Sponsored PTA. For a booking that was charged to a grant, if there is airfare or other travel expense credit, it should be credited back to the grant. If there is no credit for these cancellations, those charges need to be moved to an Unallowable Expenditure Type on a Non-Sponsored account, unless the sponsor explicitly allows the cancelled travel charges.
A traveler may accrue expenses that should be recognized in the current fiscal period but will not be recorded in Oracle by the end of the fiscal period. For more information, visit the Guideline for Accruing Expense policy on Fingate.