American Airlines and Delta Air Lines have announced that they will permanently eliminate charges related to the change or cancellation of a flight. The news comes less than a day after United Airlines first announced a permanent end to its charging policy.
All three carriers have waived change fees since March 2020, when the new coronavirus pandemic disrupted global air travel for the first time. With dry demand, airlines are striving to make flights look safe, stress-free and, above all, cheap. And that means eliminating many of the charges and surcharges associated with air transport.
“We have said before that we need to approach flexibility differently from this industry in the past and today̵
“When we hear from customers about where we can improve, getting rid of this fee is often the most important request,” said United CEO Scott Kirby.
“By eliminating change fees, 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,” the chief said. revenue of American Airlines Vasu Raja, “we give customers the freedom to make their choices when traveling with an American. “
The new policy only applies to travel within the United States. Airlines have traditionally relied on change fees, which can go up to $ 200 per person to earn billions of dollars each year. In 2019, United took change fees of $ 625 million, while Delta won $ 615 million. In industry, change fees brought in $ 2.8 billion in 2019.
But the COVID-19 crisis has brought the industry to the brink of financial ruin. Major airlines have been hit by historic losses in the last quarter. Collectively, the Big Three – United, Delta and America – lost a staggering $ 10 billion in the second quarter of 2020. JetBlue lost $ 320 million, Southwest $ 915 million, and budget carriers Spirit and Alaska lost $ 144 million and $ 214 million, respectively.
Now the pressure is on smaller and medium-sized carriers to make a similar move. These airlines do not accumulate as much cash and most likely cannot afford to give up revenue as major carriers. A Southwest spokesman noted that the airline had never charged an additional fee for travel changes, while Spirit, JetBlue and Alaska spokesmen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.