In a striking decision, United Airlines eliminated change fees on all U.S. flights going forward, the company shared with Travel + Leisure on Sunday.
The new policy applies to all economy and premium tickets for travel within the 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the company, with unlimited ticket adjustments allowed.
United previously charged a $200 change fee for domestic travel, and $75 for standby.
In addition to waiving change fees, United said it would allow all passengers to fly same-day standby for free on both domestic and international routes starting Jan. 1, 2021. Passengers can add themselves to standby lists through United’s app, on the airline’s website, or at the airport.
In the meantime, the airline has extended its COVID-19 travel waiver through Dec. 31 for new tickets purchased after March 3, allowing customers on both domestic and international routes to change their tickets without a fee.
"As we emerged from previous tough times, we made difficult decisions to survive financially, but sometimes at the expense of customer service ” United Airlines CEO, Scott Kirby, said in a video statement. "We hear from customers about where we can improve. Getting rid of this fee is often the top request…Simply put: given the evolving face of travel, now and going forward, it’s the right thing to do.”
The move comes as airlines around the world have struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic even as carriers like United have tried to rebound by adding flights.
While United’s decision may not be commonplace, the airline is not alone in allowing flight changes for free. Southwest doesn’t charge change fees for their tickets.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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