You heard it correctly: airlines eliminate change fees in an effort to do the right thing. Airlines have consistently frustrated passengers for years. This announcement is one small step toward consumer satisfaction. Let’s bask in the glow of this great news and forget for a moment all the things that make flying so frustrating like the “on time” sham, ridiculous fees, cramped (and uncomfortable) seats, and all the upcharges.
United (united.com), Delta (https://delta.com), and American (https://aa.com) have each announced they’re getting rid of change fees. As usual, there was a race to make the announcement and how each airline actually eliminate fees is a little different.
United is waiving fees for itinerary changes in “premium cabin” tickets — which means not basic economy — on flights within the US, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. Beginning January 1, 2021, United is also allowing consumers to fly standby on the same day without a fee tacked on. The CEO of United, Scott Kirby, acknowledged that they lowered their level of service and added fees in order to stay in business but quickly added that will not be the case going forward.
Delta’s plan to eliminate fees is similar to United. No fees to change domestic flights (within the US, Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands) for all but basic economy ticket holders. Have a basic economy ticket? Like United you’re still paying a fee if you need to change your plans.
For those who prefer American Airlines, they are eliminating fees for First Class, Business Class, Premium Economy and Main Cabin tickets for all domestic and short-haul international flights. They’re also adjusting their standby fee beginning October 1, 2020 allowing customers to fly the same day but on different flights.