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Earlier today I covered the news that American Airlines was the first of the US legacy carriers to announce that it would be waiving change fees for new bookings made in the next few weeks and now British Airways (American’s transatlantic partner) has followed suit….but with one significant improvement.
No BA Change Fees For Bookings Made By 16 March
British Airways has announced that it will be waiving all change fees for new bookings made between Tuesday 3 March 2020 and Monday 16 March 2020 with the policy set to cover all routes that the airline operates.
In addition, the airline has also confirmed that its new (and temporary) “book with confidence” policy will apply for changes made right up until departure…and that’s impressive.
While American’s new change fee waiver policy only applies to changes made up to 14 days before departure, the wording in the British Airways press release is clear in saying that its customers will be able to change their flights (and minds) right up until the point their aircraft is due to depart.
As the British Airways press release makes no mention of any end-date for the travel that’s being booked we’re left to assume that any bookings made from tomorrow through 16 March 2020 will be covered by this policy even if travel isn’t due to take place until 2021.
When British Airways says that there are “no change fees” is doesn’t mean that you can cancel your plans and get a refund. What it does means is that you can change your flights to different dates without incurring any penalty charges from BA but you’ll still have to pay the fare difference if your flights are more expensive.
First American and now British Airways…and this is just the beginning. It’s one thing for predominantly regional/domestic carriers (like JetBlue and Alsaka Airlines) to start offering change fee waivers just to keep people booking but it’s something a lot bigger when we start seeing the major world carriers doing the same.
I’m a little surprised that, at the time of writing, we haven’t yet seen the likes of Delta and United announce similar policies to the one American Airlines has temporarily introduced but I suspect we’ll soon see a cascade of other global carriers going down the same path.
No airline is immune from a sudden and steep drop in passenger numbers so this will be affecting the likes of Lufthansa, Emirates, Etihad, Qatar Airways, Qantas and others too so stand by for more fee waiver announcements over the next few days.