Earlier this week, United Airlines announced an end to change fees on domestic flights. Now, other major U.S. carriers have followed suit, with Delta Air Lines and American Airlines being the latest to say they’ll begin to eliminate change fees. Here’s what you need to know.
Delta Waives Change Fees
Delta Air Lines, a member of the SkyTeam Alliance, is eliminating change fees on tickets for domestic U.S., Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands destinations. Delta will also waive change fees on newly purchased flights through the end of the year. This extension on newly purchased tickets includes international flights and basic economy fares.
Ed Bastian, Delta’s CEO, believes the changes are part of the airline’s “industry-leading flexibility” and commitment to customers. “We’ve said before that we need to approach flexibility differently than this industry has in the past, and today’s announcement builds on that promise to ensure we’re offering industry-leading flexibility, space, and care to our customers,” he said in a press release. “We want our customers to book and travel with peace of mind, knowing that we’ll continue evaluating our policies to maintain the high standard of flexibility they expect.”
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American Airlines Also Eliminating Change Fees
Not wanting to fall behind its rivals, American Airlines is also doing away with change fees. In a press release, the carrier is waiving change fees for customers flying to any of American’s destinations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Caribbean, or the U.S. Virgin Islands.
This elimination of change fees for domestic and short-haul international flights, which is effective immediately, applies to the following ticket categories:
- Main cabin
- Premium economy
- Business class
- First class
Interestingly, American Airlines is not waiving change fees for basic economy tickets. American states that, beginning October 1, 2020, basic economy flyers will have the option to purchase upgrades, priority boarding, and more. Still, however, the continuation of change fees may be irritating for many travelers.
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Southwest Airlines Quick to Respond
Southwest Airlines, which famously charges no fees for changing flights, was quick to jump on American Airlines’ language. In a tweet, the discount carrier lampooned the idea of eliminating “most” change fees, while welcoming its rivals to the fee-free club.
Other Airlines Also Waiving Fees
This weeks rush to eliminate change fees has been remarkable. First United, then American Airlines and Delta. Those three carriers aren’t the only airlines dumping the additional fees for changing flights, however. Both Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines are also eliminating change fees. Hawaiian, for their part, are eliminating fees for all their flights, including travel to the continental Unietd States and international flights operated under the Hawaiian banner.
What Are Change Fees?
Change fees are a common form of penalty fee charged by airlines. When a traveler needs to alter their non-refundable ticket or reservation to a different time, airlines assess a charge, or change fee, to allow this to happen.
Change fees typically cover the difference in the ticket cost, as well as a one-time administrative fee. These fees can run into the hundreds of dollars, with the average price around $150 to $200.
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