MARKETS

United Airlines Ditches Ticket-Change Fees for Domestic Flights in Bid to Win over Customers

KEY POINTS

· United says it will no longer charge travelers fees to change their domestic flights.
· Other airlines may have to follow suit.
· United is trying to win over customers after demand plunged in the pandemic

It’s time to bid farewell to the $200 ticket-change cost.
United Airlines on Sunday stated that it will completely scrap charges to change domestic flights, a big bet that more flexible policies will win over much-needed customers as the discomfort from the coronavirus pandemic’s influence on flight continue to install.

It’s a page from the playbook of rival Southwest Airlines, which does not charge customers charges to alter their flights.

“Following previous difficult times, airline companies made tough choices to make it through, often at the expenditure of customer support,” said United CEO Scott Kirby in a news release. “United Airlines will not be following that exact same playbook as we come out of this crisis. Instead, we’re taking an entirely different technique –– and looking at new methods to serve our consumers better.”


United’s announcement that it will no longer charge travelers the $200 charge comes as airlines are scrambling to discover ways to revitalize their organisations, which have been battered by the pandemic. This summer season, Transport Security Administration screenings at U.S. airports are hovering around 30% off in 2015’s levels, as airlines go without much-needed profits throughout the peak summer travel season.


Consumers with standard economy tickets or premium-class tickets will be able to alter their flights without paying the cost however they will be responsible for a difference in fare. The new policy does not use basic economy tickets, which do not permit changes, but United has extended its change-fee waiver on all tickets through completion of the year.


The Chicago-based airline in January will likewise enable clients who wish to leave earlier or later the same day to fly standby without paying a $75 same-day change fee.

The procedures might ramp up pressure on rivals to make comparable policy modifications.
Completion of the ticket-change costs is a departure from the myriad add-ons and other fees that airlines spent years presenting. Last year, U.S. carriers generated $2.8 billion in ticket-change and cancellation costs, according to the Department of Transportation.

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