United Airlines has announced that some of the fees associated with flight changes are gone for good – and now other US airlines are following suit. 

Man wearing face mask and waiting for flight at airport
Flight changes can be made with incurring a fee © Chalabala/Getty Images/iStockphoto

United announced on Sunday that the airline would get rid of change fees on all standard economy and premium cabin tickets for travel within the US, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, but passengers must still pay any fare differences that apply.

The carrier has also confirmed that customers will not be limited in the number of times they adjust their flights, and it is giving them more flexibility to change their flights on the day of travel. The new policy does not apply to basic economy tickets as these don’t permit changes, but United has extended its change-fee waiver on all ticket types issued after 2 March for domestic and international travel through the end of the year.

With the ability to list for same-day standby for free, customers will now have an option to take a different flight with the same origin and destination airports as their original itinerary if space is available at departure. This option will be available to all customers for travel within the US and to and from international destinations from 1 January, 2021. Prior to this change in policy, passengers were charged $200 (€166) to change flights and $75 (€63) for flying standby. Passengers who want to switch flights will be able to add themselves to the standby list through United's mobile app, on united.com or at the airport no later than 30 minutes prior to departure for domestic flights and one hour before departure on international flights. 

Following United's announcement, other airlines have followed suit. On Monday, American Airlines announced "change fees for all domestic and short-haul international flying on Premium Cabin fares and most Main Cabin fares will be eliminated". Delta also announced the elimination of change fees on Monday, noting that the changes would take place immediately for tickets purchased for travel within the domestic US, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands, with the exception of basic economy tickets. However, the airline will also extend its waiver on change fees for newly-purchased flights, including international flights and basic economy fares, through the end of the year. 

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