Major US Airlines removing change fees!

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COVID-19 has brought many changes to the travel industry. One great change with airlines has become permanent. Four major airlines have done away with their change fees!

United, Delta, American, and Alaskan airlines have all announced that they have permanently eliminated their flight change fees.

“This is a very important change,” said Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst and president of travel market research firm Atmosphere Research. “The reason they’re making these changes is to increase consumer confidence in booking flights. The airlines know that consumers are scared to book flights because of the public health landscape.”

Airlines are hoping this change will bring an uptick in bookings. Travelers who were hesitant to travel due to travel restrictions and public health conditions may be more inclined to travel knowing they can adjust their plans if needed with no extra fee. Travelers can also plan their trips further in advance, giving airlines a better sense of where people actually want to fly.

United Airlines was the first to announce its no-fee policy. United is permanently removing its $200 change fees on all standard economy and premium class tickets for travel within the 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, effective immediately. There are other fees that United is removing as well, like a $75 fee to fly standby.

Delta has also removed its $200 change fee. It is effective immediately and includes almost all tickets purchased for travel within the 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands—it excludes Basic Economy flights.

American Airlines has also eliminated its $200 change fee, but for more destinations. American’s no-change-fee policy also applies to flights to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean as well as the 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Alaska Airlines was the last to jump on the no-change-fees bandwagon. Alaska will eliminate change fees on all domestic and international tickets (with the exception of Saver fare tickets) effective immediately. The change fee with Alaska Airlines was typically $125.

Most airlines have waived their change fees along with other fees through the end of 2020 so these permanent changes will be more beneficial in 2021. There is also no guarantee that these policy changes will be truly permanent.

“This is the airline business, not holy matrimony,” said Harteveldt. “There is absolutely nothing stopping an airline from reimposing the change fees if it determines it needs to do so.”

Will you be taking advantage of the new policies and fly soon? Disney released some great Fall discounts yesterday which makes it a wonderful time to vacation!

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Sara