ALERT: Pre-Covid Airline Change Fees Are Back or Returning Soon

Airline Change Fees

Thinking about traveling soon?

Many of the waivers put in place earlier for changes and refunds are gone or going away but it also depends on the type of ticket purchased and the airline you choose.

In a nutshell: Airline change fees have returned for some airlines and more will be effective after April 30.  We’ve included some guidance for you if you’re ready to take to the skies!

Whether you have already purchased your ticket or are planning to purchase one soon it’s important (more than ever) to review the updated policies with your airline.

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines is waiving airline change fees based on the following parameters for tickets purchased by April 30, 2021:

Airline Change Fees - Alaska Air
Alaska Air

Full details for Alaska’s Change and Cancel Policy

American Airlines

Airline change fees have been updated on American flights:

  • No more change fees for all domestic, short-haul international and select long-haul international flying on Premium Cabin, Premium Economy and Main Cabin fares
  • BUT – Basic Economy fares bought on or after April 1, 2021 are non-refundable and non-changeable
  • You can fly standby for free on earlier domestic flights, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, to the same destination on the same day
  • If you do purchase non-refundable/non-changeable Basic Economy fares you can now buy extras – upgrades, seats, priority boarding and same-day flight changes
  • And, AAdvantage® elite members may apply their travel benefits on all tickets, including on Basic Economy fares

Did you purchase a ticket by March 31, 2021 via American Airlines?

If so, you’re allowed to make a change to your trip once and the change fee will be waived.

So – you can cancel your trip online and rebook later when you’re ready, including Basic Economy fares bought between March 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021.*
*You may owe any difference in ticket price if the fare of your new trip is higher when you rebook.

Delta Airlines

  • For any ticket purchased on or before April 30, 2021 there will be no change fees
  • You can make changes including time, date and location prior to departure for most tickets
  • Basic Economy tickets are non-refundable and non-changeable if purchased after the expiration of the current COVID-19 travel waivers on April 30, 2021
    • A change fee would still apply to tickets purchased after April 30, 2021 for travel originating outside of North America.
  • For travel outside the 50 United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the change fee starts at $200, depending on the length of flight, location and type of fare
  • For tickets purchased on or after December 9, 2020 for travel originating from North America and for travel between the U.S. or Mexico and the Caribbean, the change fee is $0 (including flights operated by joint venture and codeshare partners).
  • Basic Economy tickets cannot be changed at any time.

Full details for Delta’s Change and Cancel Policy

Jet Blue Airlines

Jet Blue is giving its passengers a little more time on airline change fees as they are waiving change and cancel fees for all tickets purchased by May 31, 2021.

There are different rules for different fares – Blue Basic, Blue, Blue Extra, Blue Plus or Mint.

For example, Basic Blue Fare Bookings made through 5/31/21 – NO fee to change or cancel, but difference in fare applies.

For bookings made or changed on or after 6/1/21 for routes in the U.S., Mexico, Caribbean, and Central America –  $100 change/cancel fee and all other routes will have a $200 change fee.

Note that same-day confirmed switches can be made for a $75 fee (no fee for Mosaic members) without paying a fare difference.

If you purchase Blue, Blue Extra, Blue Plus, and Mint Fares – There is no fee to change or cancel your reservation prior to departure.

Any difference in fare applies for flight changes.

Please keep in mind that there is a $25 nonrefundable fee per person for changing or canceling a reservation by contacting JetBlue Customer Support (in addition to any fees applicable to the fare).

Full details for Jet Blue’s Change and Cancel Policy.

United Airlines

  • United is permanently getting rid of change fees for most Economy and premium cabin tickets for flights within the U.S., or between the U.S. and Mexico or the Caribbean
  • Passengers with Basic Economy fare tickets issued between March 3, 2020 and April 30, 2021 or standard fare tickets issued between March 3, 2020 and May 31, 2021 will be permitted to change without paying a change fee
  • If the new flight is priced higher – you may change for no change fee but must pay the fare difference
  • If the new flight is priced lower – you may change without paying a change fee, and standard fare tickets may be given residual value in the form of a future flight credit
  • Remember – Any changes or cancellation must occur prior to ticketed travel date

No airline change fees on United Airlines if you’re traveling within the U.S., including Alaska, Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico; Between the U.S. and Mexico or the Caribbean  if you have Economy, Economy Plus®, United First®, United Business®, or United Premium PlusSM.

Full details for United’s Change and Cancel Policy

And…..we’re noticing more schedule changes so be sure you have your preferred airline app available.

Here’s a short list for you to download so you can be travel ready! 

Airline Apps

Alaska Airlines App
American Airlines App
Delta Airlines App
Jet Blue Airlines App
United Airlines App

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About Donna Adinolfi 248 Articles
Donna Adinolfi is a wellness travel expert, a freelance writer, an award-winning photographer, and the founder/publisher of Her 30+ year career includes serving as the Travel & Spa Editor of Balance Magazine as well as planning wellness travel & retreats. An avid fan of the freedom from carrying cash or credit cards, Donna loves to visit all-inclusive wellness resorts in the U.S, and traveling to some of Mexico's and the Caribbean's many all-inclusive resorts several times each year. She's also a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association.
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