I’m very impressed — American Airlines is continuing to lead the way when it comes to eliminating fees among US airlines (well, at least if you take Southwest out of the equation).
American eliminates international change fees
While airlines have introduced change fee waivers temporarily due to the pandemic, American Airlines is taking it a step further.
Effective immediately, American Airlines is eliminating change fees for first class, business class, premium economy, and economy class tickets for all long haul international itineraries originating in North and South America. The one exception is basic economy tickets, where this policy doesn’t apply.
With this new policy, American no longer has change fees for any tickets originating in North America, whether paying cash or redeeming miles. That’s incredible.
When passengers take advantage of the no change fee policy, they’ll be able to keep the full value of eligible tickets if they change their travel plans prior to their scheduled travel. Any fare differences will still apply if the flight you change to is more expensive (meanwhile if the flight you change to is less expensive, you’ll get a credit for the difference).
As American’s Chief Revenue Officer, Vasu Raja, describes this move:
“We are committed to making travel easier for our customers who fly on American. By eliminating change fees, we’re giving customers more flexibility no matter when or where they plan to travel.”
American is leading the industry with eliminating fees
American really is leading the industry when it comes to eliminating fees, especially in comparison to Delta and United:
- Earlier this month American announced it was eliminating all change and redeposit fees on award tickets, regardless of where in the world you’re traveling, what airline you’re traveling on, etc.; this is a policy that Delta and United haven’t matched in any significant way
- In August American announced it was eliminating change fees on domestic and short haul international tickets; while United was the first of the “big three” airlines to eliminate change fees, the policy wasn’t nearly as generous (both in terms of countries included, and in terms of the ability to reuse travel credits)
Anyway, for years American wasn’t leading US airlines in anything other than seat density on reconfigured planes, so it’s exciting to see this.
American has now eliminated change fees on long haul international tickets originating in the Americas, with the exception of basic economy tickets. Not only that, but American also recently eliminated all award change and redeposit fees.
This move also makes sense — it’ll likely be many years before borders are just freely open across the board, and if anything it seemed backwards to eliminate change fees on domestic itineraries but not international ones, where there’s even more long-term uncertainty.
I’m thrilled to see this, and here’s to hoping that we continue to see positive changes from the airline.
Are you surprised to see American eliminating change fees on long haul international itineraries?