Hawaiian Airlines announced this week that it has abolished ticket change fees for all of its network, including international routes. This is not the first airline we have seen turn the temporary pandemic-induced waiving of charges into a more permanent feature. As travel rebound remains tentative across the US, Hawaiian joins three of its compatriot carriers in the battle for new bookings.
Aloha to ticket change fees
Hawaiian Airlines is bidding ‘aloha’ to change fees for all its flights. The carrier has previously been waiving fees for those passengers who need to change their itinerary due to the effects of the pandemic. Since Thursday, it is extending the charge-free changes to encompass all of its network, including international routes.
“We know our guests’ plans change for a variety of reasons, and we want them to book a flight with confidence and the flexibility to travel when they are ready to take that special Hawai’i vacation, visit friends and relatives or do business on our neighbor islands,” Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Peter Ingram said in a statement seen by Simple Flying.
The new rules apply for all customers who have purchased or redeemed tickets for miles in Main Cabin Extra Comfort, or First/Premium Cabin Class. Hawaiian’s lowest fare class customers in Main Cabin Basic are still only able to change flights for free under the airline’s COVID-waiver, valid for flights until the end of the year.
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In good company but one step further
Less than a week ago, United Airlines announced that it was scrapping change fees for all standard economy and premium cabin tickets for travel in the US. It took a mere 24 hours for Delta and American to follow suit. Delta and United are (thus far) only waiving fees for domestic routes, including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Meanwhile, American Airlines is including some short-haul international destinations in its policy shift.
However, Hawaiian is taking it one step further, saying it is getting rid of change fees for its interisland flights, routes to the mainland US, and all international routes. As the carrier, under normal circumstances, operates services to Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa, and Tahiti, this is quite the long-haul generosity compared to its compatriots.
Still waiting for pre-travel testing
Hawaiian Airlines, not to mention the entire tourism industry of the Pacific state, continues to struggle significantly in the face of prolonged mandatory quarantine requirements for all arrivals. The state keeps pushing pack the launch of a much-anticipated pre-travel testing program that would eliminate the need for the 14-day isolation. The new date is set for October 1st, but, as the Hawaii Tourism Authority states on its website, this is “at the earliest.”
What do you think about the newfound flexibility of US airlines? Does it make you more inclined to book tickets during these uncertain times? Let us know in the comments.