Leading airlines charge ‘change fees’ to boost earnings as travel restrictions ease off

*Major carriers are re-introducing fees as a way to boost revenue as COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted in several economies, and airlines filling up flights again

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As the disruptive Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions are being lifted in several economies across the world, and airlines are filling up flights again, major carriers are also re-introducing fees as a way to boost revenue.

ConsumerConnect gathered that travellers who are anxious to jump on a flight and celebrate their escape from cabin fever now should double-check terms and conditions before clicking the buy button when booking.

Hitherto, major domestic airlines, especially in the United States (US), have already re-implemented fare restrictions, particularly with basic economy fares, according to report.

If consumers are concerned that the pandemic may re-ignite, such ones are being encouraged to be smart by booking flights at a higher fee level just for the sake of sanity and flexibility.

As regards fee waiver updates, if you are an air traveller, and are seeking a bargain while desiring to book a flight now, here are the fee changes you should look for:

American Airlines: The first to flip the switch on waivers was American. The company reverted to making basic economy fares non-changeable and non-refundable for tickets bought on or after April 1, 2021.

However, the airline is leaving the change fee waiver in place for all domestic, short-haul international, and select long-haul international flying on Premium Cabin, Premium Economy, and Main Cabin fares.

Delta Airlines: For travellers who purchased a Basic Economy ticket under Delta’s COVID-19 travel waivers on or before April 30, 2021, you can still make changes or cancel your ticket and receive an eCredit (not a full cash refund).

All Basic Economy fares purchased after April 30, 2021, are final, meaning these tickets are not changeable or refundable and you will not receive an eCredit upon cancellation. Delta did include a caveat about Basic Economy tickets, originating from Europe, Africa, and other international markets. Those “may be changeable for a fee.”

United Airlines: Basic Economy fee waivers have also been scrapped by United, but other fare levels are still waiver-worthy.

The company stated: “We’re permanently getting rid of change fees for most Economy and premium cabin tickets for travel within the U.S.

“This includes Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“There also won’t be change fees for other international travel originating in the U.S.”

Nonetheless, the carrier did leave the door on Basic Economy fee waivers slightly ajar.

It stated that “most Basic Economy tickets are excluded” and that travellers “may be able to request a refund online or by contacting us if your flight has been affected by a significant schedule change or if your flight was cancelled without another option.”

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