Updated: What Change Fee Waivers Are American, Delta & United Offering?


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Update 04:00 PST 31 March 2020: American extends booking period through April 2020.

American Airlines was the first US legacy carrier to waive change fees for travel across its network and now that Delta and United have both caught up and issued their own change fee waivers I thought that I may be helpful to show what all three carriers are offering in one single post.

The key things to remember with all of these waivers are: They don’t allow for cash refunds and, when a customer comes to rebook, any fare increases will have to be paid – these waivers are not a license to book fares without consequences.

So, what to the change fee waivers offered by the legacy airlines look like?

Covered Booking Dates

American Airlines

Change fees will be waived for bookings made between 4:30 p.m. CST on 1 March and 11:59 p.m. CST on 30 April 2020 (American extended its wavier to 30 April on 31 March)

Delta

  • A one-time change can be made (fee-free) to all bookings made between 1 March and 31 March 2020.
  • Customers who booked travel prior to 9 March 2020 and who are scheduled to travel by 30 April 2020 can rebook (without paying a penalty fee) for travel starting no later than 31 December 2020.

United

  • Change fees waived for bookings made between 3 March and 31 March 2020.
  • Change fees waived for bookings made on/before 2 March for travel between 9 March and 30 April 2020

When Can You Decide To Reschedule?

American Airlines has said that changes must be made at least 14 days prior to the departure of your original flight.

Delta and United are allowing changes to be made right up until the day of departure.


Covered Travel Dates

American

Reservations made between 4:30 p.m. CST on 1 March and 11:59 p.m. CST on 30 April 2020 will be covered through to the end of the booking period. Customers who booked before 1 March 2020 are only covered for travel through 31 May 2020.

Delta

Travel booked through 25 February 2021 will be covered for bookings made between 1 March and 31 March 2020. Customers who booked travel prior to 9 March 2020 are only covered for travel through 30 April 2020.

United

Reservations made through to the end of the booking period will be covered for bookings made between 3 March and 31 March 2020. United customers who booked travel prior to 2 March 2020 are only covered for travel through 30 April 2020.


Covered Routes

All three US legacy carriers have now said that their change fee waivers cover all the routes they operate (domestic and international). Delta was the last airline to include domestic routes in its waiver but gave in to pressure on 4 March 2020.


Covered Fares

  • All three legacy carriers are waiving change fees on all the cash fares they issue (including basic Economy).
  • American Airlines has specifically stated that it is not including award bookings in its change fee waiver.
  • United and Delta have said that they’ll waive redeposit fees on award bookings.

Rescheduled Travel

American

Customers who are taking advantage of the change fee waiver for bookings made between 4:30 p.m. CST on 1 March and 11:59 p.m. CST on 30 April 2020 must have their rescheduled travel completed within 12 months of the original ticket(s) being issued.

Customers with bookings made before 1 March 2020 for travel through 31 May 2020 must have their rescheduled travel completed on/before 31 December or 12 months from the original ticket date (whichever is earlier).

Delta

For customers with bookings made between 1 March and 31 March 2020, new tickets must be issued on/before 28 February 2021 and rebooked travel must begin no later than 28 February 2021.

Customers with bookings made before 9 March 2020 for travel through 30 April 2020 must have their rescheduled travel completed on/before 31 December or 12 months from the original ticket date (whichever is earlier).

United

Customers with bookings made between 3 March and 31 March 2020 must have their rescheduled travel completed within 12 months of the original ticket(s) being issued.

Customers with bookings made before 2 March 2020 for travel through 30 April 2020 must have their rescheduled travel completed on/before 31 December or 12 months from the original ticket date (whichever is earlier).


Bottom Line

The change fee waivers for all three US legacy airlines have slowly become a lot more aligned but some key differences still exist. American is the only airline that’s won’t offer a change fee waiver right up to the day of departure and only Delta and United are waiving redeposit fees for award bookings.

As with most things related to the current outbreak, the facts and information to hand continue to change so make sure you keep up to date with what each airline is offering its customers on their respective travel update pages (links below).

I’ll update this post as and when I hear of any further policy changes.

Link to American’s “Book Your Flight With Confidence” policy
Link to Delta’s Corona Virus Travel Updates
Link to United’s Travel Notices