US airlines are now waiving change fees on all flights booked by June 30th. This means that, for itineraries booked by the end of June, passengers can change their flights free of charge. However, you may still have to pay a fare difference.
Which US airlines have extended change fee waivers?
Here are the airlines that have extended change fee waivers in effect:
- Alaska Airlines (does not apply to Saver fares)
- American Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- JetBlue Airways
- Spirit Airlines
- United Airlines
Another airline, Southwest, does not charge change fees on bookings as is. The only airlines not adopting this practice are Frontier and Allegiant.
Aside from Alaska Airlines, all fares are applicable for change fees. The exception for Alaska is only for the most restrictive (and usually cheapest) Saver fares. For all other airlines, regardless of your class of service booked, you will receive change fee waivers.
What this means is that if you book a flight by June 30th, you will be able to make a one-time change to that itinerary without incurring any change fees. Depending on the airline, you may be able to change your origin or destination. Dates may vary across airlines, so check the airline terms before booking.
Should I book travel?
This new policy gives passengers some flexibility. Change fees alone can sometimes be as high as $200. This will provide passengers a backup plan in case travel plans fall through for any reason whatsoever.
Domestic travel in the US is starting to rebound. More states and cities are reopening and, this summer, major tourist attractions like Walt Disney World Resort are preparing to welcome visitors after spending months shuttered.
For some travelers, this gives people a reason to book. If you have the flexibility, you may be able to score some excellent deals and start planning a return to travel.
However, keep in mind that your flight may be canceled in the future. Airlines are still working through their summer and fall schedules. Just because a flight is available for sale now does not 100% guarantee that it will operate. This is especially true if demand remains as low as it is today. Nonstop flights may end up turning into a connection.
In addition, expect requirements to wear masks to stick around. Meanwhile, your flight may end up going out with full middle seats.
What are my options if my flight does not go through?
Unless you book a fully refundable ticket, you will not have the opportunity to get a refund if you cancel your flight. On the other hand, if an airline cancels your trip, you are entitled to a refund to the original payment method. Or, you can take a travel credit towards a future purchase.
If you cancel your flight, you will receive a travel credit. Depending on your airline, that travel credit will have an expiration date. Some will last as long as two years, while others will be much tighter. Check your airline’s policy in that case.
Does this extended change fee waiver help with your decision to book a flight? Let us know in the comments!