American and Delta Join United in Eliminating Change Fees for Tickets
After United Airlines announced they would eliminate change fees for all tickets booked, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines both responded quickly with policy shifts of their own. The legacy carriers announced they would also eliminate change fees for certain tickets.
Unlike United, which limited their change fees to domestic travel, American will allow flyers to change flights without any fees to a number of North American destinations. The new policy is effective immediately and will extend to main cabin, premium economy and premium flyers traveling across the United States, Canada and Mexico.
American is taking their policy a step further by allowing flyers to keep the value of their ticket if they book a lower-priced fare. For example: If a flyer originally books a $500 flight, and then decides to change to a $300 flight, they will be left with a $200 voucher valid towards a future flight. The elimination of change fees will also apply to award travel booked with AAdvantage miles.
The carrier will also allowing flyers to go standby on a different flight to their final destination on the same day for free. The new policy starts on Oct. 1, 2020, and applies to domestic and international travel, including Basic Economy fares.
There are two new benefits coming for basic economy flyers as well. Those who prefer to fly on the lowest fare class will be able to purchase add-ons to their flight, including upgrades to the main cabin or higher, priority boarding, preferred or Main Cabin Extra seats and same-day confirmed flight changes. AAdvantage elite members will also be able to access their benefits when booked in basic economy. This includes upgrades, elite seat privileges (including access to preferred and Main Cabin Extra seats), and same-day confirmed flight changes.
However, elite flyers cannot use basic economy tickets to qualify for status in future years. Starting Jan. 1, 2021, basic economy tickets won’t count towards elite qualifying dollars, miles or segments.