Change Fees Return to Airline Tickets

Reality bites, and the return of more normal levels of travel on airlines means the reality of change fees are returning for some.

Not many people have been flying much for the past year, and airlines have been graciously accommodating for those last minute changes to flights that life sometimes requires, foregoing a change fee.

That’s pretty much done with for the passengers in the back.

“Airlines have eliminated the cancellation fees for most of their airfares. The exception generally is the least expensive airfare called Basic Economy,” says travel industry analyst Henry Harteveldt with Atmosphere Research Group, a travel industry marketing research company.

Basic Economy fares on American Airlines were the first to return to the old ways. Delta, United and Alaska have returned. But Harteveldt says they are using Southwest Airlines model. “Southwest never charged cancellation fees. With Southwest, you simply had to pay the fare difference, and that’s the way it works now with United and other airlines.” If the cost of the ticket you change to is higher, you’ll pay the difference. If lower, you’ll get a travel credit.

Jet Blue is still offering late adjustments on the bargain-priced tickets through May 31.

As airports start resembling the pre-pandemic world again, be sure you are aware of fees and restrictions based on the type of ticket purchased, most especially the economy fares.

photo: Getty Images

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