Though the coronavirus pandemic has temporarily halted travel for most Americans, big changes by major airlines could make flying more appealing in the future. Yesterday, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines announced plans to drop domestic change fees—a move that mirrored United Airlines’ own announcement from one day prior. These new policies align with Southwest Airlines’ existing policy, bringing the tally of no-change-fee carriers to four.
As AP reports, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines have ditched change fees for all premium and most domestic flights; the one exception is the airlines’ cheapest economy fare. American Airlines is also getting rid of change fees for flights to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. There’s a handy breakdown of these new policies for American, Delta and United—and how they compare to Southwest—here.
Pandemic-related travel restrictions and fear have stopped many Americans from flying this year. Before coronavirus, 2 million people or more would pass through US airport security checkpoints each day in the summer months—but the numbers haven’t exceeded 900,000 people per day since March. With massive cuts to flight schedules this summer, airlines have been looking for new ways to lure travelers back.
Most airlines require crew masks and increased plane cleaning. A few, including Alaska, Delta, JetBlue and Southwest, have promised to keep middle seats open for a limited time to make room for proper social distancing. (A recent report from The Points Guy outlines the mask-wearing, cleaning, seating and boarding policies for each airline.)
Although the elimination of change fees from four major airlines is good news, you may still have to pay other unpopular flight charges. Delta, American and United still charge for checked bags, specific seat assignments, more legroom, priority boarding and more—so continue to watch for those add-ons as you make future travel plans.