Effectively immediately, passengers will no longer have to pay a change fee if you want to change your ticket on United Airlines. In comments to the press about this new policy change, United SEO Scott Kirby said, "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 statement. "Following previous tough times, airlines made difficult decisions to survive, sometimes at the expense of customer service. United Airlines won’t be following that same playbook as we come out of this crisis. Instead, we’re taking a completely different approach – and looking at new ways to serve our customers better.’'
Here’s the details you’ll need to know.
Basic Economy tickets are excluded from this new policy. The “no-frills” ticket will still remain the most restrictive ticket and cheapest, and the only way to change the ticket for free is if it is within 24 of when you purchased the ticket. The other other exception is that United has been allowing changes for these tickets due to the pandemic, but that waiver will end once the pandemic is over.
This only covers flights within the U.S, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. If you booked yourself on an international flight or a flight to Guam, you’ll have to shell out $200 bucks if you want to change that ticket.
In 2019, United collected $625 million in ticket change fees alone, and is the considered a cash cow for airlines, except Southwest, which has never charged change fees.
You will have to pay the difference in airfare if you change your ticket. United explains that if you’re booked on a flight from Chicago to Denver and you paid $175 but now you change your ticket to Los Angeles, or to a different flight but to the same destination, the airfare of the new flight you want to change to might be more expensive, and you’ll need to be willing to pay that.
Delta, American, Frontier, Spirit, JetBlue, Alaska Airlines, and Hawaiian also charge change fees.