What Are US Airlines’ Policies On Change Fees In The Crisis?

Amid the global crisis, airlines have been waiving change fees in an attempt to reassure customers and get them to book flights. Most airlines are waiving change fees on new bookings through the rest of the month. Here’s what you need to know.

Delta and United
United and Delta are both waiving change fees. Photo: Getty Images

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines, with its largest hub in Seattle and secondary hubs in Anchorage, Los Angeles, and more, is one of the leading West Coast US airlines. The carrier has, thus far, been waiving change fees during the current crisis.

Alaska A320
Alaska Airlines operates its largest hub in Seattle. Photo: Getty Images

Currently, Alaska Airlines is waiving change fees on bookings up until September 8th. Any bookings after then may be subject to a change fee unless Alaska chooses to extend it. There is one thing to note, however. Alaska Airlines does not allow changes to Saver fares.

Customers with Saver fares can only cancel their trip and deposit it into their travel account for a future booking. For previously purchased reservations through December, passengers (excluding Saver fares) can change their flights without a fee.

Allegiant Air

Low-cost carrier Allegiant Air flies a point-to-point schedule with no connections. The airline has some creative solutions in the current crisis, thinking that there are opportunities to encourage people to work remotely by partnering with a Las Vegas casino.

Allegiant Air A320
Allegiant Air does not sell connections. Photo: Getty Images

Allegiant Air allows customers with existing reservations to make a one-time change to their travel plans without incurring any fees.

American Airlines

Dallas-based American Airlines has been flying a very robust schedule throughout the current crisis. The airline has also run some creative promotions to get passengers to book with them, including offering extra miles and, for small business travelers, some extra points.

American Airlines Boeing 737
American Airlines has continued to fly a robust schedule. Photo: Getty Images

For general customers, American Airlines is offering all customers, including those booked on award tickets and basic economy fares, to change their plans with no fees on travel through September 30th. If you are making a new booking, any travel booked by September 8th will not incur any change fees. New bookings with travel scheduled for after October 1st will also incur no change fees.

Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines has also been waiving change fees. The Atlanta-based airline has taken a conservative approach to rebuilding its schedule. However, it has also been taking steps to shore up its current position by retiring older aircraft types and reducing inefficiencies.

Delta 767
Alongside waiving change fees, Delta is also blocking middle seats. Photo: Getty Images

For customers with travel booked through December 31st, passengers can change their trip or else have award miles redeposited with no fees. Tickets purchased through August 31st also will not incur any change fees or award redeposit fees for a year from the date purchased.

Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines, normally, has a change fee policy that allows for free changes more than 60 days from departure. Between 60 days and 14 days from departure, that fee goes to $79. Lastly, for changes 13 days or less from departure, the airline charges a fee of $119.

Frontier A320
Frontier Airlines paints each of its aircraft with a different animal on the tail fin. Photo: Jay Singh – Simple Flying

However, in light of the current crisis, domestic passengers with travel scheduled through September 8th can get a one-time change fee waiver. Bookings made between March 10th and April 15th could make a one-time free change.

Hawaiian Airlines

Few airlines have been struck as hard by the current crisis as Hawaiian Airlines. With Hawaii’s quarantine requirement, tourist demand has all but vanished. This, however, has not stopped the airline from waiving change fees.

Hawaiian and American
While you still can’t travel to Hawaii without being subject to a quarantine, you can book a flight on Hawaiian. Photo: Getty Images

Tickets purchased by August 31st can be changed without any fees. Tickets purchased before March 1st for travel through February 28th, 2021, can be rebooked with no change fees.

JetBlue

JetBlue was greatly affected early on in when New York City– one of the airline’s largest focus cities– was gripped by the public health crisis. In recent months, the city has improved its status and started to welcome tourists again– though some have to quarantine.

JetBlue, Bookings, TSA Passengers
JetBlue is blocking middle seats through September 8th Photo: Getty Images

As for change fees, bookings made through September 8th can make a change without incurring any fees.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines has a big and loyal fanbase in the United States. The carrier has one of the most generous policies in aviation. Southwest Airlines does not charge change fees at all for any customer.

SOUTHWEST GETTY
Southwest Airlines charges no change fees for any booking. Photo: Getty Images

Spirit Airlines

Low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines is well recognized for its fleet of bright yellow Airbus planes– although some aircraft have the airline’s old white and blue livery.

Spirit Airlines Plane
Spirit’s bright yellow planes are hard to miss. Photo: Getty Images

For customers who book flights by August 31st, they will incur no change fees if they need to alter their reservation.

Sun Country Airlines

Minneapolis-based Sun Country Airlines is not a large carrier in the US. However, it still offers some passengers an attractive deal to a few prominent destinations in the United States. The airline does operate on a low-cost model.

Sun Country
Sun Country is a Minnesota-based low-cost carrier. Photo: Sun Country

Sun Country Airlines is charging change fees for customers who want to alter their travel plans. Flights changed over 60 days from departure will lead to no fees. However, flights changed between 59 and 14 days out from departure will incur a $50 fee per direction, per traveler. This means a roundtrip change would add fees of $100 per person. For flights changed less than 14 days from departure, it increases to $100 per direction, per traveler. This means a roundtrip change less than two weeks out will incur total fees of $200.

United Airlines

United Airlines has been aggressively managing its operations and fared the best out of the big three US airlines in the second quarter. However, the carrier still has some work to do and is working on controlling costs.

United planes SFO
United Airlines is booking flights to capacity. Photo: Getty Images

For customers, United Airlines is waiving change fees for existing travel through the end of the year. For flights booked by August 31st, the airline is also waiving change fees.

For all airlines that are waiving change fees, note that a fare difference may still apply. Also, ensure that you thoroughly review the extent to which you can change your flights. Most airlines are only allowing a one-time change.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comment section.

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