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United waiving change fees for tickets booked in March

United has just offered to waive ANY change fees for ANY flight booked between Mar 3 and Mar 31. Or, the price of the ticket can be applied to a new flight booked within 12 months of original booking. They must really want new bookings! Here are the full details from an email I just received:

Tickets: For tickets issued March 3 through March 31, 2020, customers will be permitted to change free of charge to a flight of equal or lesser value up to 12 months from the original ticket issue date. If the new flight is priced higher, the customer may change for no fee but must pay the fare difference. If the customer decides to cancel their flight, they can retain the value of the ticket to be applied to a new ticket without fee for travel up to 12 months from the original ticket issue date.
Cancellations: If the customer decides to cancel the flight they booked between March 3 and March 31, 2020, they can retain the value of the ticket to be applied to a new ticket without fee for travel up to 12 months from the original ticket issue date.
Fare Validity: This applies to all tickets, all fare types, all destinations, all points-of-sale, all travel dates available for sale, provided ticket number starts with 016.
Minimum Stay: No minimum stay.
Blackout Dates: No blackout dates.
Miscellaneous: Fares, fees, rules and offers are subject to change without notice. Fares are nonrefundable except during the first 24 hours after purchase. Other restrictions may apply.

Posted by
1567 posts

A similar announcement on British Airways' site:

"To allow greater flexibility, we’ve removed the change fee on all new bookings made from Tuesday 3 March to Monday 16 March 2020."

Book with total confidence
Zero change fee applies to new bookings on any route made from Tuesday 3 March to Monday 16 March 2020.
Change your booking to any date in the next 12 months.
Available on flights, flight + hotel and flight + car packages. Exceptions apply on non-changeable hotel products.
Any fare difference still applies.

Posted by
4531 posts

I presume the airlines are trying to stay afloat by adding this special incentive now that many people are cancelling their trips due to the corona virus epidemic.

American Airlines is also offering this fee waiver for flights booked March 1- March 16:

Book your flight with confidence

For a limited time, we’re pleased to offer you more flexibility for
your travel. When you buy a new Non-Refundable Fare ticket through
March 16, 2020, we’ll waive the change fee if your future travel plans
change. You can make a one-time change up to 14 days before your
original departure date and other terms apply.

Terms and conditions

If you purchased a ticket on American Airlines between March 1, 2020 at 4:30 p.m. CT and March 16, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. CT, you may change your flight once without paying a change fee if the change is made at least 14 days in advance of your outbound travel date. Tickets must be purchased for travel between March 1, 2020 and January 26, 2021.

Posted by
18 posts

We are booked on a RS trip of Greece that starts March 30. Originally, we had plans to spend about a week doing independent travel using Naples as our base. When United's website's official policy stated that fees for changes would be waived only to specific cities in the north of Italy I phoned and spoke with a representative. While I never asked her, she assumed that I was calling to change our reservation and she volunteered that the change fee would be waived. She was very patient and allowed me to shop "on-line" for alternative flights. We ended up with overall much improved flights: straight from the States to Athens, with only one stop of a reasonable length (not too short to risk missing the next flight nor too long to be annoying) in Munich, with departures at good times of the day, and we even were refunded some money as our "leg" of a flight from Naples to Athens was cut, and our seats on every flight are very good. Yes, I realize that many folks are cancelling plans to travel anywhere. And, we shall continue to monitor the situation to see whether our current plan to continue with the RS trip in Greece remains prudent. We would rather lose some $ than do something really foolish. But, for now, I just wish to share our experience -- which is not our first over the many years that we have traveled --- where "flying United" has served us well. (The food has become almost inedible and other cost-cutting measures have occurred but in times of crises United has treated us more than fairly.)

Posted by
7187 posts

So for anybody who booked a ticket in the last 3.5 days can get a break on change fees??? Wow- that’s generous (haha)

Posted by
2355 posts

Do not click on link in above post. It is spam. Reported

Posted by
887 posts

Tim, as I read it, throughout the month of March you can book ANY flight on United and if you change your mind IN MARCH then United gives you two options: you can either rebook on a different flight/different day OR you can cancel the flight altogether and apply the funds toward another flight which must be taken within one year of the original date of booking. I may have that wrong, but that's how I read it. Several other airlines have similar offers (tho I'm not reading them all to offer full cancellation with use of funds at another time).

Posted by
52 posts

If true, that would be amazing if the virus persists. As we do not fly in and out of Italy, but we are going to Italy in June. Thanks for the heads up and hope.

Posted by
586 posts

I believe that the phrase "United has just offered to waive ANY change fees for ANY flight booked between Mar 3 and Mar 31" actually means "any booked flight between Mar 3 and March 31." Mar 3 to 31 designates when your flight is, not when you booked it. Otherwise it doesn't make any sense - Waive change fees for a flight that you (on March 4) haven't booked yet? Huh?

Posted by
887 posts

NickB you may well be right. I'll admit the United wording may be somewhat unclear and certainly seems extremely generous. However when I read their phrase "Tickets: For tickets issued March 3 through March 31, 2020..." they are not saying "for tickets issued for FLIGHTS March 3 through March 31..." It may be wise to call United for clarification before one books a flight in March expecting to be able to cancel it for later credit.