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This is BIG travel news. On August 30, United’s CEO, Scott Kirby made a momentous announcement. Effective immediately, United will “permanently” drop $200 change fees on standard economy and economy plus tickets for travel within the United States. Not by surprise, Delta and American followed quickly in step with similar, but not identical plans. Alaska Airlines, then Hawaiian Airlines made comparable announcements later in the same week. Southwest Airlines has never charged change fees.

Scott Kirby went on to say, “Change is inevitable these days, but it’s how we respond to it that matters most. When we hear from customers about where we can improve, getting ride of fees is often the top request.” As airlines scramble to win back customers, they’re looking for ways to build both flexibility and loyalty.

It’s going to be an interesting next 12 months as airlines reduce capacity and staff, and air routes are streamlined. But customers have spoken and the airlines have finally listened! The Peace Frogs Travel/Outfitters travel consultants are available to help you sort through the myriad of new rules. 

Here are the primary change fee rules per airline, as they stand now. These new change fee policies apply towards new ticket purchases only. Any increase in fare is charged at the time of ticket exchange. Each airline has also implemented flexible same day stand-by rules as well as changes to frequent flyer purchase rules. 

United

  • Flights within the US including Puerto Rico and the USVI 
  • No change fees for economy plus and regular economy  

Delta

  • Flights within the US including Puerto Rico and the USVI 
  • No change fees for first class, premium select, comfort+ and regular economy

American

  • Flights within the US including Puerto Rico and the USVI in addition to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean
  • No change fees for first/business class, premium economy, and standard economy
  • If the new fare is lower, AA will issue a voucher for a future flight

Alaska Airlines

  • Flights within the US as well as Canada, Costa Rica and Mexico
  • No change fees for first/business class, premium economy, and standard economy 

Hawaiian Airlines

  • All flights:  inter-island, US mainland, and international
  • No change fees ($125) for first/business class, extra comfort, and standard economy