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Alaska and American join Delta, United in ending change fee for flights

Alaska joins other major airlines to ditch the change fee

SHARE Alaska and American join Delta, United in ending change fee for flights
An Alaska Airlines jetliner lands in the main terminal of Denver International Airport late Monday, June 22, 2020, in Denver.

An Alaska Airlines jetliner lands in the main terminal of Denver International Airport late Monday, June 22, 2020, in Denver.

David Zalubowksi, Associated Press

Multiple airlines — Delta, American, Alaskaand United — have all decided to end change fees for U.S. flights as the industry works to bring people back to the sky amid the novel coronavirus.

American Chief Revenue Officer Vasu Rajasaid the airline added the elimination of change fees and added a new feature that allows standby for another flight on the same day, according to USA Today.

  • He said this is designed to keep people flying amid the pandemic.
  • “American is offering more flexibility and ease than ever before, should travel plans change,” he said, according to USA Today.

Alaska Airlines followed the direction, ending change fees on U.S. and international flights on every flight except Saver ones. The company previously charged $125 for changing a reservation.

  • “COVID has taught us that flexibility in travel is key,” said Andrew Harrison, executive vice president and chief commercial officer for Alaska Airlines. “As we evolve our approach to travel to include more than 100 safety actions, it’s important to give our guests flexibility when they book by eliminating change fees.”

United and Delta led the way

On Monday, United Airlines or Delta Airlines announced that they would eliminate change fees amid the coronavirus pandemic, as I wrote for Deseret.com.

For United, the standard change fee was about $200.

  • “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. Following previous tough times, airlines made difficult decisions to survive, sometimes at the expense of customer service,” Chief Executive Scott Kirby said in a statement at the time. “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.”
  • “We’ve said before that we need to approach flexibility differently than this industry has in the past, and today’s announcement builds on that promise to ensure we’re offering industry-leading flexibility, space and care to our customers. We want our customers to book and travel with peace of mind, knowing that we’ll continue evaluating our policies to maintain the high standard of flexibility they expect,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a statement, according to USA Today.