United Airlines is 1st in Eliminating Change Fees, Delta and American Airlines Follow

United Airlines

This is really big (huge) news, which began with United Airlines. Flexibility finally makes its way to fliers … and at the right time, too.

In a nutshell: United Airlines is permanently getting rid of change fees on all standard Economy and Premium cabin tickets for travel within the U.S., effective immediately.  Delta and American Airlines followed United’s lead.

Shortly after United Airlines came out with their breaking news, Delta and American Airlines shared their changes and this is one request that consumers can finally be happy about.

United’s details:

  • First (and finally!) no change fees on United Airlines on all standard Economy and Premium cabin tickets for travel within the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • Beginning on January 1, 2021, customers will be able to fly standby on the same day as the original flight – free of charge – regardless of the type of ticket or class of service (as long as space is available at departure, of course, and at least 30-minutes prior).
  • United Airlines is extending its waiver for new tickets issued through December 31, 2020, to permit unlimited changes with no fee. This policy applies to all ticket types issued after March 3, 2020 and is valid for domestic and international travel.
  • United is also extending MileagePlus Premier Status through January 2022.
  • United Airlines also reduced thresholds for MileagePlus Premier qualification by 50 percent for each status level.

Listen to Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines, as he shares this news.

Delta Airlines has also updated its policy for changing and canceling travel plans by eliminating change fees permanently for tickets purchased for travel within the domestic U.S., Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands in Delta’s First Class, Delta Premium Select, Delta Comfort+ and Main Cabin, with the exception of Basic Economy tickets.

In addition, Delta will extend its waiver on change fees for newly purchased flights, including international flights and Basic Economy fares, through the end of the year and will extend its expiration on travel credits through December 2022 for tickets booked before April 17, 2020.

Physical distancing is also a priority as Delta will continue to block middle seats through January 6, 2021, on all flights.

Moving on to another major player – American Airlines – No more change fees!  Change fees for all domestic and short-haul international flying on Premium Cabin fares and most Main Cabin fares will be eliminated.

And, fly standby for free. You’ll be able to fly standby on earlier flights for the same destination on the same day at no charge starting October 1, 2020.
More good news – Basic Economy fares now come with more flexibility including upgrades, Preferred and Main Cabin Extra seats, priority boarding, and same-day flight changes.

This is what’s truly great about these changes – you’ll get to keep the full value of the original ticket if changing travel plans prior to the scheduled travel.  Now, you’ll still have to pay the difference in fare for a new flight, but you WILL NOT lose the value if the new ticket is priced lower.

For example, if you paid $500 for your flight and change to a flight that costs $300, American will give the customer a $200 voucher to use for a future trip.  Now that’s something to smile about.

Also – you know how you’re restricted on those Basic Economy fares?  Well – Starting on Oct. 1, you’ll be able to purchase products to enhance your experience – like upgrades, priority boarding, and preferred/main cabin seats.

And, finally, American is also providing customers additional flexibility by extending its offer to waive change fees for customers booking tickets for any new travel purchased by Dec. 31, 2020.
For full details on all changes, click here.

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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 MindfulAdventures.com. 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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