Update: Airline Change Policies

When it comes to airline ticket change fees, the pandemic resulted in most airlines doing away with charges to change tickets in most cases other than the difference of airfare, if any. The exception being their lowest-priced tickets which may offer less flexibility.

Most airlines are allowing travelers to make one change without a fee. If there is a fare difference with the new booking, the traveler will be charged if the fare is higher or credited the difference if the fare on the new flight is lower. Most carriers are issuing vouchers for the value of the credit which may be used for future travel. They expire in 1 to 2 years depending on the airline.

Airlines are also turning more to vouchers instead of full refunds for reservation cancellations involving tickets not sold as “non-refundable.”

Tickets not changed or canceled prior to departure will not have any value, except on JetBlue, which applies the value of an unused refundable ticket to a Travel Bank account that can be used for future travel.

 

 

American

American has announced there will be no more change fees for all domestic, short-haul international and select long-haul international flying on Premium Cabin, Premium Economy and Main Cabin fares. Basic Economy fares bought on or after April 1, 2021 are non-refundable and non-changeable.

American is allowing travelers to make changes to their trip once, without a fee. Also, American is allowing customers to cancel their reservations and receive a credit that may be applied to future travel.

This includes Basic Economy fares bought between March 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021.

Remember, there may be a difference in the fare for the new trip.

For more information about all of American’s travel flexibility improvements, click here.

Delta

Delta has eliminated change fees for tickets purchased after December 9, 2020. Delta is also not charging cancellation fees for tickets issued after late 2020. Check here for the details.

Delta does not allow changes to Basic Economy tickets purchased after April 30, 2021. Basic Economy tickets are non-refundable.

United

United announced they’ve permanently done away with change fees. They’ve hinted that tickets booked in “Basic Economy” will go back to not allowing changes or refunds if issued after after May 31, 2021. Check here for more info.

For most tickets, changes will not incur a fee but there may be a fare difference. If the change results in a lower fare, United will issue a voucher to be used on a future flight.

JetBlue

JetBlue is not charging change fees for tickets purchased by May 31, 2021. It is not clear whether they will go back to charging fees for changes after that.

If a refundable JetBlue ticket is not changed or cancelled prior to the departure of the flight, JetBlue places the value of the ticket into a “Travel Bank” to be used for future travel.

Southwest

Southwest does not charge fees to change flights. If there is a fare difference for the new flight, you’ll either pay the difference or receive a refund to your form of payment or a reusable travel fund which typically expires in one year.

Things to remember:

Refunds: Always submit a request for refund using the airline’s refund form. There is a chance they’ll still issue a refund based on individual circumstances.

Non-Refundable Tickets: In most cases, you can still use some of the value of a non-refundable ticket toward future travel if you cancel. There may be a cancelation fee that decreases the amount that will be held in a “Travel Bank” account or issued to you via a voucher.

 

 

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