Frequently Asked Questions

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About Freebird

  • What is Freebird?

    Freebird is a first-of-its-kind mobile rebooking tool that empowers travelers to skip the line and instantly book a new ticket – on any airline at no additional cost – in the event of a flight cancellation, four-hour delay, or missed connection. Freebird provides travelers with instant notifications in the event of a flight disruption, and offers the ability to rebook in less than 30 seconds with only three taps on their mobile device.

  • How do I get it?

    Once your flight is booked, you can purchase Freebird on in less than three minutes, via a simple process that requires just a few pieces of booking and contact information. Freebird can be purchased at any time after your flight itinerary is confirmed, up until approximately two days prior to departure.

  • What happens when my flight is disrupted?

    Freebird will alert you instantly via text message if your flight is cancelled, delayed by more than four hours, or if you miss your connection due to a delay. From there, it’s just three taps to book a new ticket: (1) tap to open your alert, (2) tap to select a new flight, and (3) tap to confirm your selection. It’s that fast and easy – no need to input any additional search, personal, or payment info.

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  • Do I need a smartphone?

    Yes, your mobile device must have access to SMS text messages and internet in order to use Freebird.

  • Is this an app I need to download?

    No. We send disruption alerts via text message and provide access to rebooking services via our mobile-friendly website. One less thing you need to carry on your phone!

Purchasing Freebird

  • How much does it cost?

    Freebird is available for a flat-fee of $19 for a one-way flight or $34 for a roundtrip flight during its winter travel and launch promotion. Following the promotion, Freebird fees will vary flight-by-flight, based on factors such as likelihood of a disruption, and will typically cost less than $30 for a one-way flight.

  • How does Freebird determine the price?

    Prices are determined by Freebird’s proprietary algorithm that predicts the risk of flight disruptions for millions of flights per year.

  • Does Freebird charge any additional fees?

    NO! Freebird will not charge you any additional fees to rebook your ticket. If your flight is cancelled, delayed by four hours, or you miss your connection, Freebird will purchase a brand new ticket of your choosing and it won’t cost you a penny. However, Freebird does not cover fees administered by airlines that aren't included in the published fare.

  • When is the last possible time I could buy Freebird before traveling?

    Freebird can be purchased at any time after your flight itinerary is confirmed, up until approximately two days prior to departure.

  • Can I purchase Freebird if my flight has a layover?

    YES! Freebird is available for flights that have a layover en route to your intended destination. If you purchase Freebird for a flight with a layover and your first flight is delayed, Freebird will empower you to rebook a new flight if we determine you don’t have enough time to make the connection.

  • Can I purchase Freebird for flights outside of the United States?

    Not at this time. Currently, Freebird is only available for domestic US flights.

  • Isn’t this why I purchase travel insurance? Why would I need Freebird?

    Unfortunately, travel insurance doesn’t typically cover cancellations, delays, or missed connections – and it doesn’t help you find a new flight when a disruption occurs. Instead, travel insurance typically gives you a refund if you become hospitalized and cannot travel, lose your job, or have a death in the family – things that have nothing to do with your flight. Some travel insurance policies do cover flight disruptions, but most have significant restrictions and require you to pay out-of-pocket for expenses, make a claim, and then endure tedious amounts of paperwork before receiving a refund.

    Freebird is a rebooking service. We require zero paperwork, promptly notify you the moment your flight is disrupted, streamline the complex rebooking process, and automatically empower you to book a new ticket to get to the people and places that matter most. We do not refund your original ticket price or offer cash compensation.

Rebooking Your Flight

  • If my flight is cancelled for reasons outside the airline’s control (e.g., weather), can I still rebook on Freebird?

    YES! Disruptions that are out of your control, such as weather, shouldn’t stop you from getting to the people and places that matter most. Freebird is here to empower you to find available flights that get you to where you need to go, regardless of the cause for your disruption – weather, maintenance issues, airline operations, or otherwise.

  • When does Freebird “kick in”?

    In the event of a cancellation or significant delay (four hours or more), you will be eligible to rebook as soon as an official change is made to the flight itinerary. In the event that the first flight of an itinerary with a layover is delayed, you will be eligible to rebook as soon as we determine you don’t have enough time to make the connection. Freebird connects into airline data systems and will notify you immediately via text message as soon as a disruption occurs – often before the airline makes an announcement and other passengers are made aware of the disruption.

  • Can I choose any flight?

    You can choose from any available non-stop or one-stop flight we receive from our airfare search engine with the same intended destination as your original itinerary. Freebird is powered by the same search engine as leading travel sites such as Kayak, Orbitz, and Hipmunk, as well as airlines such as United and Delta. Although Freebird will never purposefully limit search results, the search engine may not provide us with availability for certain airlines and/or unpublished fares.

After Rebooking Your Flight

  • How do I get my new ticket?

    Once you book a new flight on Freebird, we will send you a confirmation email with your new flight information. It is your responsibility to check in to your new flight, obtain a boarding pass, and physically arrive at your gate in time to board. If you are already through airport security, proceed directly to your new gate to check in.

  • Can I earn frequent flier miles on my new ticket?

    YES! If you have a frequent flier number, you may want to provide it to the new airline — a last-minute, one-way ticket can earn you lots of miles!

  • If my flight gets cancelled and I rebook through Freebird, do I still own the original ticket?

    YES! Your original ticket is still valid and is yours to keep. Remember, it may be automatically rebooked by your original airline. Feel free to seek a refund from the airline or keep the ticket as a back-up. Aren’t options great?

  • What if my flight gets cancelled but I don’t need to use Freebird (e.g., my airline booked me on the best flight, or none of the options work for my schedule)?

    If you are eligible to rebook through Freebird but choose to not rebook for any reason, you can opt to receive any $100 gift card of your choice in lieu of rebooking. It’s the least we can do if we can’t find a way to make your travel experience better via our rebooking service.

  • Besides rebooking, what else do I need to do?

    • Get to your gate

      You must check in to your new flight, obtain a boarding pass, and physically arrive at your gate in time to board. If you are already through airport security, proceed directly to your new gate -- you may choose to check in online or with a desk agent to obtain your boarding pass. Otherwise, you will need to follow normal procedures for checking in and getting to your flight.

    • Arrange for your baggage

      Airlines are legally restricted from transporting unaccompanied luggage on passenger flights. If you have already checked a bag with your original airline, we recommend you speak to a representative from your original airline regarding how to transport the bag to your destination after rebooking via Freebird. In the event of a disruption, airlines will often help you make arrangements.

    • Pay airline fees not included in published fares

      Airlines may charge fees above and beyond what is in their published fares (e.g., baggage fees, ticket printing fees). Travelers are responsible for paying any such fees administered by airlines -- please contact your original airline or visit their website if you have any additional questions.

    • Confirm return flight (if applicable)

      Airlines may cancel the return leg of a round-trip flight if the traveler does not use the outbound leg. If you have a round-trip flight and your outbound leg is disrupted, we recommend you speak to a representative of your original airline after rebooking via Freebird. In the event of a disruption, airlines can preserve your return leg if you explain the circumstances.

    • Claim your airline miles

      Finally, be sure to provide your frequent flier number to the new airline. A last-minute, one-way ticket can earn you lots of miles!

About the company

  • When was Freebird founded?

    Freebird was founded in 2015 with the mission to empower travelers.

  • Where is Freebird located?

    Freebird HQ is in Cambridge, MA.

  • Who founded and is running Freebird?

    Ethan Bernstein (Co-founder & CEO) and Sam Zimmerman (Co-founder & CTO).

  • How much funding has Freebird raised and who are its investors?

    Freebird raised a seed round of $3.5M in November 2015 from investors General Catalyst, Accomplice, and Slow Ventures, as well as prominent angel investors.