United Airlines has announced that, effective immediately, it is permanently doing away with change fees on all standard economy and premium cabin tickets for domestic US travel.
The new policy means customers will be able to change their flights without paying the $200 change fee, but will be responsible for any difference in fare. The policy does not apply to the carrier’s basic economy fares, which do not allow changes.
However the airline did announce that it is extending its current waiver for new tickets issued through Dec. 31 to permit unlimited changes with no fee. This policy applies to all ticket types issued after March 3 and is valid for domestic and international travel.
In addition, starting Jan. 1, 2021, United will allow any customer to fly standby for free on a flight departing the day of their travel regardless of the type of ticket or class of service, eliminating the $75 same-day change fee.
MileagePlus Premier members will be able to confirm a seat on a different flight on the same day with the same departure and arrival cities as their original ticket if a seat in the same ticket fare class is available.
The end of United’s change fees and more flexible rebooking among the many strategies carriers are implementing to woo customers back to the skies following the pandemic-induced slide in air travel this spring.
“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 rid of this fee is often the top request,” said United CEO Scott Kirby in a video message to customers.
“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.”