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American Airlines joins Delta, United and waives change fees



American Airlines will join rivals Delta and United to eliminate change fees in an attempt to boost travel demand, which has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

“In an ever-changing world, Americans are determined to take care of customers at all points of their journey,”

; said Vasu Raja, America’s chief revenue officer. “American offers more flexibility and ease than ever if travel plans change. By eliminating change fees by giving customers the opportunity to get where they want to go faster with free same-day standby on earlier flights and providing access to upgrades and seats for all types of tickets, we give customers the freedom to make your choice when traveling with an American. “

The new policy will affect first-class, business-class, first-class economy and basic booth tickets for all domestic and short-haul international flights to the US, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands and will be extended to tickets for each new trip. purchased by December 31, 2020

American will allow customers to keep the full value of their original tickets if they change their travel plans before the planned trip. Although customers will have to pay the difference for a new flight, the airline will offer a voucher for a future trip for purchased new flights that are lower than the original price.

From October 1, customers will also be offered the same day standby mode for all domestic and international trips with the same departure and destination information free of charge, regardless of the ticket purchased. Basic economy fares will now be able to purchase flight enhancements, including priority boarding and Preferred / Main additional cabin seats, while AAdvantage Elite members will continue to receive these same benefits with their membership.

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The move comes hours after a similar announcement by Delta Airlines on Monday.

“We have said before that we need to approach flexibility differently from this industry in the past and today’s communication is based on this promise to ensure that we offer industry-leading flexibility, space and care for our customers,” said the executive. Delta CEO Ed Bastian in a statement. “We want our customers to book and travel in peace, knowing that we will continue to evaluate our policies to maintain the high standard of flexibility they expect.”

FILE – In this file from May 28, 2020, a passenger wears personal protective equipment on a Delta Airlines flight after landing at Minneapolis International Airport – St. Paul, Minneapolis. Airlines are trying to convince a frightened public

The waiver of change fees is similar to the impact of US Delta, Premium Select, Comfort + and Main Cabin tickets purchased for domestic travel in the US, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

In addition, Delta will extend the exemption from change fees for newly purchased flights, including international flights and basic economy fares, until the end of the year. Delta will also extend the validity of travel credits until December 2022 for tickets booked before 17 April 2020.

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United was the first airline to announce the exemption in a press release on Sunday, which applies to all types of tickets issued after March 3, 2020. The airline will extend this refusal for new tickets issued until December 31, 2020.

“Change is inevitable these days, but the most important thing is how we react to it. When we hear from customers where we can improve, getting rid of this fee is often the most important request,” said Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines. , in a video message to customers. “After difficult times, airlines have made difficult decisions to survive, sometimes at the expense of customer service. United Airlines will not follow the same book as we emerged from this crisis. Instead, we are taking a completely different approach – and looking for new ways to do more. good customer service. “

The new United Change Charge Policy applies to all standard economy and premium cabin tickets within the 50 states of the United States, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands and offers customers unlimited changes to their flights at no extra charge.

Like its competitors, the airline also offers customers a reservation on the same day free of charge on flights to airports of the same origin and destination, if space allows. The option is available for both domestic and international travel from 1 January via the United mobile app and requires passengers to arrive no later than 30 minutes before departure for domestic flights and one hour before international flights.

United MileagePlus members will also have all canceled re-deposit fees for flights changed or canceled more than 30 days prior to departure. MileagePlus Premier and Silver members will also now be able to confirm a seat free of charge on a different flight with the same city of departure and arrival as their original ticket from January 1.

Ticker Security Last Change Change%
LUV SOUTHWEST AIR CO. 37.58 -1.23 -3.17%

A similar move could come from competitors such as Jet Blue. Southwest Airlines no longer charges or changes fees as part of its long-standing policy as a marketing tool.

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The abolition of change fees is the latest attempt by airlines to increase demand as the industry continues to suffer significant financial losses. Delta has offered other incentives, such as expanding its mid-seat blocking policy, as a way to encourage passengers to fly.

Ticker Security Last Change Change%
UAL UNITED HLDG AIRLINES. 36.00 -1.34 -3.59%
FROM DELTA AIR LINES INC. 30.85 -1.14 -3.56%
AAL AMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP INC. 13.05 -0.54 -3.97%

United, Delta and American Airlines warned of massive involuntary layoffs or layoffs in October if Congress fails to reach an agreement on a new round of incentives before the initial $ 25 billion federal aid filed in March expires. Under the terms of the original package, airlines cannot lay off or lay off staff until October 1.

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