Delta Air Lines was the first airline to do the right thing. I wrote about how United Airlines followed their lead, and it looks like American Airlines has also introduced a similar policy now.
American waiving change fees on previously booked tickets
American has just announced that they’re waiving change fees for all tickets issued before March 1, 2020, for travel between March 10 and April 30, 2020.
Customers who will benefit from this policy can rebook for travel through December 31, 2020, or within 12 months of the original date of ticket issue, whichever is earlier.
How American’s previous waived change fee policy worked
Prior to this announcement, US carriers have been using waived change fees as a sales technique. They’ve only applied this on newly booked tickets as a way of boosting bookings, rather than applying it to those with previously issued tickets.
Arguably those with previously booked tickets need the help most, given that many of them are traveling right now, and dealing with a lot of uncertainty. But of course being kind to those who already purchased tickets doesn’t do much for airlines, as they see it…
In the case of American, they’ve previously been waiving change fees for all tickets booked between March 1 and March 31, 2020. This has applied to all fare types, and has allowed customers to rebook on other flights within 12 months.
With this new policy even tickets booked before March 1 are covered, assuming you travel by April 30, 2020 (though I imagine that date has the potential to be extended, assuming Delta extends it).
At this point American, Delta, and United, are all waiving change fees on tickets booked prior to March, assuming travel is scheduled through the end of April. I imagine that has the potential to be extended. Beyond that, tickets booked in March are eligible for free changes, even if you’re traveling after April.
Now the policy is what it should have been all along, in my opinion…
I imagine we will see even more waivers soon, given the new US travel ban on Europe.