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Travel Most U.S. Airlines Are Getting Rid of Change Fees for Good

16:22  18 september  2020
16:22  18 september  2020 Source:   cntraveler.com

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But those waived change fees have for the most part been temporary -- until Sunday, when United announced it was dropping most of its change fees for good . Industrywide, change fees netted airlines .8 billion in 2019. United Airlines is getting rid of most US change fees -- forever.

Four major U . S . airlines , Alaska, American Airlines , Delta and United, recently announced they were getting rid of a much -reviled travel expense: change fees . These change fees are levied on top of any difference in price between the previously booked flight and the cost of the new flight, which

a person that is standing in the airport © Justin Sullivan

In its latest move to offer more flexibility to fliers during COVID-19, most major U.S. airlines have put an end to ticket change fees for good. United Airlines kicked off the trend, announcing on August 30 that going forward, it would no longer be charging change fees for all standard economy and premium cabin tickets for travel within the U.S., effective immediately. Delta nixed its fees for domestic flights shortly after—and American Airlines joined the fray, too, eliminating change fees for domestic and some short-haul flights to the Caribbean, Mexico, and Canada. Shortly thereafter, Hawaiian and Alaska announced similar domestic policies—leaving JetBlue as the only major airline to keep change fees in place.

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Good news about airlines has been hard to come by over the past several months, but United Airlines just came up with something that is bound to put a smile on most travelers' faces: It is eliminating change fees on economy and premium cabin tickets for flights within the United States -- for good .

Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are getting rid international ticket change fees , joining Change and cancellation fees brought in .8 billion for U . S . carriers last year, according to the Department The cost to change international tickets ran at least 0 for many itineraries, plus a difference in fare.

Now, United is back two weeks later to all but match American, which had the most lenient policy. The airline announced last week that fights to Mexico and the Caribbean will also be exempt from change fees.

Change fees—which can run as high as $200, depending on the airline and flight—are the ancillary charge levied when a flier needs to alter their itinerary, typically on top of any difference in fare. Many fliers see them as unnecessarily punitive. Southwest Airlines, for example, is beloved by customers in large part because there are no change fees and fliers have the ability to shift their plans as needed, free of charge.

Under United's new domestic policy—which also applies to travel to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands—United will not limit the amount of times a passenger can adjust their flights. (It is valid for all fare classes except for basic economy, too.) The airline is also extending its fee waiver for new tickets purchased through December 31, meaning that all tickets (including basic economy) purchased from March 3 through the end of 2020—both domestic and international—will be permitted an unlimited amount of free changes. Change fees will remain on international flights, which go up to $400 depending on destination.

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United is waiving change fees on standard Economy and Premium cabin tickets for domestic flights and making same-day standby free. Michele Herrmann develops guides on U . S . and international destinations and writes about travel trends, food and culture for various print and digital media outlets

Good news about airlines has been hard to come by over the past several months, but United Airlines just came up with something that is bound to put a smile on most travelers’ faces: It is eliminating change fees on economy and premium cabin tickets for flights within the United States — for good .

Like United, American's new change fee policy—covering domestic flights and those to some short-haul international destinations like Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean—applies to all fare classes, except basic economy. Delta's domestic fee elimination also excludes basic economy.

Hawaiian Airlines' new policy ends change fees to all flights between Hawaii and the U.S. mainland, within the Hawaiian Islands, or from Hawaii to the airline's international destinations like Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. Like the others, it does not extend to basic economy fares. Alaska Airlines' policy eliminates its $125 change fee for all flights except on basic economy tickets.

Additionally, United announced that beginning January 1, 2021, it will be the first U.S. carrier to allow all passengers to fly standby for free on any flight departing on their same day of travel, regardless of the type of ticket or class of service, a perk usually reserved for passengers with unrestricted fares or top elite statuses. American also introduced a similar policy the next day that is set to go into effect on October 1, 2020. Previously, United and American charged $75 for a same-day flight change.

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Getting rid of change fees , airlines hoped, could spur would- be travelers to book flights even if the ever- changing health crisis and local quarantine orders forced travelers to change their plans. Passengers shouldn't expect those much -hated fees to disappear forever, several analysts told CNN

United Airlines is making its tickets more flexible in a bid to win over customers after the pandemic devastated demand. United Airlines on Sunday said that it will permanently scrap fees to change domestic flights, a big bet that more flexible policies will win over much -needed customers as the

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Amid the pandemic, most airlines have been waiving change fees on a temporary basis not only to help customers who need to adapt to an ever-changing web of health regulations and travel restrictions, but also to entice passengers to book tickets again. American, Delta, and United are all part of the U.S. Travel Association’s latest "Let's Go There" campaign, which encourages Americans to book future trips, both to support the industry and improve stuck-at-home travelers' mental health, the USTA says. Eliminating change fees for good is one good example of how corporations may get travelers looking at trips in late 2020 or 2021.

Eliminating change fees has been one of the top customer service requests United receives from its passengers, according to the carrier's CEO Scott Kirby. But it's far from a light decision when it comes to an airline's bottom line: In 2019, U.S. airlines collectively pulled in $8.6 billion in baggage and change fees, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Following previous tough times, airlines made difficult decisions to survive, sometimes at the expense of customer service," Kirby said in a video statement to fliers. "United Airlines won’t be following that same playbook as we come out of this crisis."

We're reporting on how COVID-19 impacts travel on a daily basis. Find all of our coronavirus coverage and travel resources here.

This story was last published on August 31, 2020. It has since been updated with new information. Additional reporting by Meredith Carey.

American Airlines Gets Rid of Change Fees on International Flights .
The policy is effective immediately.Effective immediately, the carrier will no longer charge change fees for international long-haul flights when travel originates in North or South America. The policy applies to tickets in first class, business class, premium economy, and main cabin economy. (Basic economy tickets, the lowest in the airline's fare structure, will still be subject to change fees.

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