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Airlines Extend Their Flight Change Flexibility Policies

Delta, United, American, and JetBlue have all updated their policies to allow flights booked up until June 30, 2020, to be rebooked without a change fee. Southwest doesn’t charge for changes but has extended the deadline for using travel credits into 2022.

Of course the devil is in the details, so check your airline if this may impact you as some are more generous than others. Also, here is the whole story if you are interested:

https://www.afar.com/magazine/airlines-extend-their-flight-change-flexibility-policies?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=060520%20FlexibleBooking&utm_term=Daily%20Wander%20%28Have%20opened%20newsletter%20before%29

I believe that this should be a permanent approach to flight credits. It would allow people who booked a flight with the full intention of taking that flight to be able to reschedule if something happens (work, personal illness, etc) without being forced to, in some cases, pay more for the change fee than the original ticket.

Posted by
5126 posts

Mark, it sounds like you're really talking about making all fares refundable for any reason. While I hate paying change fees, what would be the motivation for airlines to make this a permanent policy? People can already buy refundable fairs but choose not to because of the cost. Up til now, this seems to have worked. Airlines would have to jack up their fares, and judging "intent to fly" would be a contentious situation.

Posted by
3436 posts

Stan, I am only asking for flexibility to change your flight reservation when things happen that prevent you or should prevent you from taking your original flight. Refundable is always an option as you mention, but not what I am suggesting here for every ticket.

Southwest has always allowed rescheduling with no fee. It is possible to reschedule or cancel as close as 10 minutes before departure with them. You do not receive a refund for cancelled flights unless the flight was one that could be refunded and you have a year from the original purchase date to use the funds (they also offer an extension to the expiration for a small fee). You of course have to pay the higher fare if the ticket price is higher for your new flight and I am fine with that. It works for them without any issues, I'm not sure why it would not work for all airlines except for them losing the income stream that the fees generate. As I mentioned, most flyers want to take the flight they originally scheduled so it's not like a huge number of people are booking flights just for the fun of it and then deciding not to go.

With how travel is changing due to the virus, I just feel it is in the airlines' best interest if they all adopt a more flexible attitude permanently and not just as a panicked approach to keeping their customers.