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United, American, Alaska Follow Delta’s Lead with Waivers for All Flights

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United Airlines, American Airlines, and Alaska Airlines are now all waiving change or cancellation fees for previously booked travel, finally joining Delta in granting travelers more flexibility with upcoming flights booked before the coronavirus outbreak.

It's another case of these major airlines following Delta's lead. Most airlines focused on trying to drum up new ticket sales by waiving change and cancellation on new tickets booked in March. Yet Delta was the first to apply that principle retroactively, expanding it yesterday to all domestic and international travel scheduled through April 30.

By Tuesday morning, most of Delta's competitors were taking a similar approach. These waivers mean that travelers uneasy about their upcoming trips won't have to pay a $200-plus change fee, though fare differences may still apply.

But each airline is handling these waivers a bit differently, so keep reading for a full breakdown.


United Airlines

United was the first to follow in Delta's footsteps with a wider-ranging travel waiver. Here are the basics:

  • All flights booked March 2 through March 31 are eligible for a free change or cancellation (for a travel voucher).
  • Tickets booked before March 2 for travel between March 10 and April 30 can be changed for free, provided rebooked travel occurs within 12 months of the original travel date.
  • Read more on United's site.


united waiving change fees

American Airlines

American Airlines was among the last of the major U.S. carriers to grant more flexibility to travelers who booked flights well before the coronavirus outbreak. Here's a look at what they're doing:

  • All flights booked March 1 through March 31 are eligible for a free change or cancellation (for a travel voucher), though fare differences may apply.
  • Tickets booked before March 1 for travel between March 10 and April 30 are eligible for a free, one-time change so long as rebooked travel occurs by Dec. 31, 2020. Fare differences may apply.
  • These waivers do not apply to flights booked using American AAdvantage miles.
  • Read more on American's site.



Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines also joined the fold of airlines granting travelers more flexibility for upcoming flights. Yet its waiver is the most narrow among them.

  • All flights booked Feb. 27 through March 31 are eligible for a free change or cancellation (for a travel voucher), though fare differences may apply.
  • Any Alaska Airlines flight scheduled until March 31, regardless of when it was booked, can be changed or canceled for free. Changing your flight may incur a fare difference, though you can also cancel an upcoming flight for a future travel credit.
  • Read more on Alaska's site.


Bottom Line

Delta clearly set the bar, but it's great to see that other airlines are now giving travelers with upcoming flights more options to change their plans – and not just trying to drum up more ticket sales for new bookings.


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9 Responses

  • So, because I booked an international trip in February, with travel in March, according to Delta I still have to pay $300 for the change. HUH?!!! Now, this is a work trip…and yes, my work is paying for it. Regardless, does that matter?!!! Global company, that most of the workers in the U.S. fly Delta, 4 of my immediate co-workers are either Platinum or Diamond. I just think all change fees are ridiculous. How much does it really cost them?!!! I change hotel plans and car rental plans all the time…don’t get a fee for it. Airlines need to get rid of these stupid things…not like they still aren’t overbooking flights…..

    • If your travel is in March or April, it doesn’t matter when you booked – you are eligible for free change or cancel.

  • Thanks. I’ll have to talk to my travel agency then. Again, it’s directly not my money, but we do get bonuses, so indirectly it affects the bottom dollar.

    • No, Alaska Airlines has been waiving change/cancellation fees on new bookings for a while, hence the stronger February bookings. Waiving fees on previously booked tickets for upcoming travel is a new change.

  • I saw a very low fare to Hawaii onDelta today for March/April travel. If I cancel and rebook at a later date, will I still fly for the cheap rate or do I have to pay the fare difference?

    Thank you,

  • I booked my flights in April to travel from US to Germany and Netherlands. Who would have known about this virus last year! The insurance doesn’t cover pandemic so I am guessing I am out of luck? How does that make sense.

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