Back in April I wrote that airlines will continue to need to waive change fees. At the time United was only willing to waive fees for tickets purchased by April 30.
However there’s so much uncertainty now. Is air travel safe? Will states ‘opening up’ lead to a spike in COVID-19 cases? With there be a resurgence in the virus? Many people will simply skip trips, since they aren’t comfortable pulling the trigger on airfare. Or they’ll wait until much closer to departure to buy – at which point they might buy on a different airline.
So it doesn’t surprise me that American has extended its change fee waiver to travel booked by June 30, but there’s a twist.
- American’s previous waiver, for new trips purchased by the end of May was “for all future travel, you can also change it a later date without change fees.”
- Their new waiver, for trips purchased by the end of June is “for summer travel through Sept. 30, 2020.”
Any ticket purchased on or before June 30, 2020, for travel through Sept. 30, 2020, will not incur change fees prior to travel. Customers must pay any fare difference, if applicable, at time of ticketing of the new fare. Fare rules may apply depending on the ticket.
All AAdvantage® award tickets are included in this offer.
Customers are allowed to change their origin and destination cities as part of this offer.
Travel must be completed by Dec. 31, 2021.
The airline had been waiving change fees no matter when in the future travel was booked for. Going forward, for June, it’ll only be for up to a four month window.
- Most bookings traditionally have been made within 90 days, though long haul travel is sometimes booked farther out.
- Bookings farther out are generally for summer long haul and peak holiday periods.
- The waiver still covers summer 2020 but won’t cover the Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays or next summer.
American seems to be saying that the lull in travel, while to some extent long lasting, is likely to bounce back. That’s at least true for leisure travel, since business travel wouldn’t be booking past September anyway. At a minimum there’s some chance that they won’t need to offer flexibility indefinitely into the future, so they’d rather offer this a little bit at a time. That makes sense, from a certain point of view.
The good news of course is that the change fee waiver must be for initial travel by end of September, but date of travel can still be changed into 2021.