United: OK, We'll Drop That $200 Change Fee

CEO says airline is listening to customers
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 31, 2020 4:37 AM CDT
United: OK, We'll Drop That Annoying Change Fee
In this June 25, 2020, file photo, rows of United Airlines check-in counters at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago are unoccupied amid the coronavirus pandemic.   (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford, File)

(Newser) – United Airlines says it listened to customers and is dropping an unpopular $200 fee for most people who change a ticket for travel within the United States, the AP reports. “When we hear from customers about where we can improve, getting rid of fees is often the top request,” United CEO Scott Kirby said in a video posted Sunday. United's move will put pressure on American Airlines and Delta Air Lines to drop their change fees, also $200 on domestic travel. Delta and American said they are waiving change fees for travel affected by the coronavirus through the year's end. Southwest Airlines does not charge change fees, a policy which its CEO says has helped it gain more business.

United said that it eliminated change fees for people who buy a standard or premium economy ticket for US travel. United also said that it will extend a broad waiver of change fees—including for international travel—through Dec. 31. Customers who pay the lowest fares, called “basic economy,” can also change tickets free because of the extended waiver announced Sunday. And starting in January, it will let customers fly standby for free on other flights the same day as their booked flight. The moves come as United and other airlines try desperately to lure people back to flying despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. US air travel has recovered modestly since April, but passenger traffic remains down about 70% from a year ago. The four largest US airlines lost a combined $10 billion from April through June.

(Read more United Airlines stories.)

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