Well, that didn’t take long. In a bit of unexpected good news yesterday, United Airlines pleasantly surprised the travel world with some new, customer-friendly policies. I know … it sounds like an oxymoron for a legacy airline to implement “customer-friendly” policies when they’re just like what Southwest Airlines has been doing for years.
Yesterday, United announced they’re permanently getting rid of change fees for standard and premium tickets (not Basic Economy). They also said that all travelers will be able to fly standby for free and they’re extending the waiver for new tickets issued through December 31, 2020. I know it’s a lot to digest so read the full post here to catch up.
Delta Follows United And Eliminates Change Fees For Good
At 3:15pmET today (Aug 31, 2020) Delta Air Lines announced they’re matching United in regards to change fees and extending the waiver: “The elimination of change fees is effective immediately and includes tickets purchased for travel within the domestic U.S., Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands in Delta’s First Class, Delta Premium Select, Delta Comfort+ and Main Cabin, with the exception of Basic Economy tickets.”
“Additionally, Delta will extend its waiver on change fees for newly purchased flights, including international flights and Basic Economy fares, through the end of the year and will extend its expiration on travel credits through December 2022 for tickets booked before April 17, 2020.”
I expect by by tomorrow afternoon, American Airlines will follow United and Delta.
This is obviously great news for consumers and it just goes to show how desperate the airlines have become to get people in the air again. Business travel guru Joe Brancatelli tweeted these depressing TSA throughput stats from the last three weekends:
August 14-16: 2,336,588
August 21-23: 2,232,096
August 28-30: 2,138,302
It shows that numbers are going down not up so airlines need to do something and do it quick; this is a step in the right direction. But regardless of customer-friendly policies or how cheap they sell the tickets, the only way they’re going to get most people on their planes again is to implement accurate and rapid COVID testing.