How to change or cancel flights as the pandemic and travel restrictions cripple the airline industry’s nascent recovery

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The airline industry’s hope for an air travel resurgence during the holiday season may be dashed as some travelers are looking to avoid flying amid a coronavirus surge. 

Rising COVID-19 cases and new lockdown orders from governors across the US that limit how many people can be at Thanksgiving dinner are forcing travelers to rethink their holiday plans. And for some, that means staying off of airplanes, despite the industry’s push to show that flying is safe. 

For those looking to stay home, airlines are being more flexible this year out of any year prior when it comes to changing plans. In the US, four major airlines eliminated change and cancel fees permanently in an effort to increase bookings despite the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic. 

American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and Alaska Airlines have done away with the fees, normally a huge revenue driver, while others have waivers to allow limited changes with restrictions. 

But even though airlines are using words like change and cancel, the policies often have restrictions about which travelers are often unaware. While there might not be a change fee, for example, customers will have to pay any difference in airfare.

Here’s what you need to know about changing or canceling a booking as coronavirus continues to impact travel.

Four major US airlines are eliminating change and cancel fees for domestic and limited international travel

United Airlines was the first major international airline to eliminate change fees over the summer for its flights within the US or to the Caribbean and Mexico. Passengers with economy tickets and above, excluding basic economy, can make changes or cancellations as many times as they’d like. 

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Award ticket holders can similarly make changes or cancel their flights. In order for the miles to be redeposited without a fee, however, the passenger must cancel greater than 30 days from the day of departure. 

Passengers with basic economy tickets who book or have booked their flights before December 31, 2020, are able to change their flights under United’s earlier change fee waiver. 

Travelers can rebook or cancel on United’s website, mobile app, or by calling 1-800-864-8331.

American Airlines’ new policy is a bit broader and includes the US, Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean, as well as all “long-haul international” trips that originate in North or South America, though American hasn’t yet defined which routes classify as long-haul international. Ticket holders in all classes except basic economy can make changes or cancel their flight without a fee if they’ve booked after August 31.

Passengers who also bought a ticket before September 30, 2021, for travel between March 1 and December 31, 2020, regardless of cabin class, can make a one-time change for free under American’s existing travel waiver. 

Travelers can rebook or cancel on American’s website, mobile app, or by calling 1-800-433-7300.

Delta Air Lines is allowing customers with tickets booked between March 1 and December 31, 2020, to change their flights with no fee for up to a year after they’ve purchased. Tickets purchased before April …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Life


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