Avoid Flight Change Fees With These Airlines

While the coronavirus pandemic has temporarily stopped travel for most Americans, major changes from major airlines could make flights more attractive in the future. Delta Air Lines and American Airlines yesterday announced plans to reduce domestic connecting fees – a move that reflected United Airlines’ own announcement the day before. These new rules align with existing Southwest Airlines policy, bringing the number of carriers not charging for changes to four.

American Airlines and Delta Air Lines waived change fees on all premium flights and most domestic flights, AP reports ; The only exception is the cheapest economy class fare. American Airlines is also eliminating connecting charges on flights to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. There’s a very handy breakdown of these new strategies for American, Delta, and United — and how they relate to Southwest — here .

Travel restrictions and pandemic-related fears have stopped many Americans from flying this year. Before the coronavirus, 2 million or more people passed through checkpoints at US airports every day during the summer months, but this number has not exceeded 900,000 a day since March. With a sharp cut in flight schedules this summer, airlines have been looking for new ways to bring back travelers.

Most airlines require crew masks and increased aircraft cleaning. Some, including Alaska, Delta, JetBlue and Southwest, have pledged to keep the middle seats open for a limited time to make room for proper social distancing. (A recent report from The Points Guy lays out the rules for masking, cleaning, seating and boarding at each airline.)

While the removal of change fees from the four major airlines is good news, you may still have to pay other unpopular fares on flights. Delta, American and United still charge fees for checked baggage, certain seat allocations, more legroom, priority boarding and more, so keep an eye out for these additions as you make plans for the future.

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