If you're unable to take a flight you've booked due to illness, a personal matter or work commitments, you'll probably want to do all you can to recoup the money you've spent on your aborted travel arrangements. Nine times out of 10, it's going to cost you to change the names on your booking, unless you've coughed up for fully-flexible tickets. As such, you're going to need to work out if selling your flights is going to cover your losses, or leave you further out of pocket.
Check the terms and conditions attached to your airline tickets. If you want to sell them, you're going to need to be able to change the names they're booked in. Some carriers don't allow name changes at all. If this is the case with your airline, find out if you can get a refund if you're not going to be able to fly. If you've booked fully-flexible flights, you may be able to change the names on your tickets free of charge. If you've booked standard tickets, you'll probably have to pay for name changes. Contact your carrier's customer service department if you're in any doubt.
Calculate how much it's going to cost to change the names on your tickets if your airline charges a fee for this service. If you got your tickets at a knock-down price and your carrier charges and arm and a leg to carry out name changes, you may be better off cutting your losses. Find out how much tickets on the flight you're booked to travel on are going for now. They could have gone up since you booked. Only put your tickets up for sale if it looks like you have a good chance of getting rid of them for more than it would cost you to make name changes.
Try offloading your unwanted tickets to your social media contacts. Post messages detailing the flights you have for sale on your Twitter, Facebook or MySpace profiles. If you know somebody who regularly travels to the destination you were planning to fly to, drop them a direct message or email. Selling to somebody you know could work out a lot less stressful than dealing with a stranger.
Post ads for your tickets on dedicated flight resale sites such as Re-ticket.com, JumpFlight and FlyHub. Make sure you get the date and time of your flights right when posting your ad. Potential buyers won't be impressed if you get these details wrong. Remember though, you'll be unlikely to muster much interest if you're advertising your flights for more than your airline's currently charging for them.
Stick an ad for your flights on online auction and classified listings sites such as Gumtree, eBay and Friday-Ad. Again, take care to get all the details right. If you're desperate to salvage some of the cash you'll lose if you don't offload your tickets, pay to bump your ad up to the top of the listings service you use.
If you have travel insurance, check to see if it includes cancellation cover. To receive a payout, you'll typically need to provide proof that cancelling your trip was unavoidable, such as a doctor's note.