Airline surcharges and fees are usually unrelated to cost. An exception is the fuel surcharge carriers collect when the oil price is high. The last time is already quite a few years ago. But when the oil price plummets a fuel surcharge loses its plausibility. Some carriers find a solution by changing the name into international surcharge.
Obviously, it doesn’t matter that this name is meaningless for it is just a bogus fee. Airlines are creative in inventing new charges like seat reservation fees, etc. Most of them are unrelated to any cost airlines incur, so they are actually windfall profits.
The coronavirus has changed the carriers’ playing field. Forced by very low demand they are dropping some of their bogus surcharges and fees. United Airlines takes the lead by announcing on August 30, 2020 that it is permanently (!) getting rid of change fees effective immediately. However, it is limited to flights within the US, while the change fee remains in place for basic economy tickets.
Nonetheless, there is good news for United’s frequent flyers. The airline will waive all redeposit fees on award travel for flights changed or cancelled more than 30 days before departure. This allows members of its frequent flyer program Mileage Plus to confirm a different flight on the day of their travel.
Changing a flight
There’s no limit as to how many times you can change your flight, but you’ll have to pay for any fare difference each time. However, this is one-way traffic. If your new flight costs less, you’ll be able to change your schedule for free, but you will not receive a refund of the fare difference. The waiver policy applies to both domestic and international award travel, but only for travel within 30 days.
No change fees
Delta Air Lines and American Airlines follow United on the same day by announcing they will no longer charge fliers to change their tickets. Two days later Alaska Airlines joins them by dropping change fees for most passengers. But you should be aware that you must pay any fare difference if applicable.
Related: Advance seat selection fees,
Tags: surcharges, waivers, award travel