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All Major US Airlines Drop Change Fees

One bit of good news for the travel world in the wake of the pandemic…

This week, all of the major US airlines have permanently eliminated change fees, mostly for flights within the U.S.

Some added FREE same-day standby, as well.

Of course, Southwest ALREADY never charged change fees, because, well, they are awesome ;-).

United was the first to make the announcement on August 30, 2020, and within a day or two, American, Delta, Alaska and Hawaiian followed suit.

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Alaska says it will drop change fees for both US AND international flights!


Why This Is Important for Travel

airlines eliminate change fees

While I think it’s obvious that it’s important right now to be able to change flights quickly if needed as the virus increases and decreases in certain areas or if you get sick or have been exposed. This is pretty much a requirement for airlines to continue to operate if they want people to be comfortable flying.

But it’s surprising that all jumped on board to make this a permanent change.

This has long been a HUGE set-apart for Southwest Airlines, and personally, one of the MAIN reasons I try to always fly Southwest.


[Here are more reasons why I love to fly Southwest]


It’s a tremendous peace of mind to know that if I need to change my flight that I can do so without being penalized. It greatly increases my chances of booking a flight!

In the new world of travel we’re about to usher in in the midst of- and post-pandemic, people are going to expect flexibility and choose the airlines that offer it.


How Will This Impact Southwest?

Airlines eliminate change fees
Credit: Southwest Airlines

This is definitely a setback for Southwest who used this as a key differentiating point from other airlines, but it still have plenty of other set aparts that cause me (and others, I’m sure, as well) to choose it instead of any of the other major US carriers whenever possible.

These include:

  • The ability to check 2 bags up to 50 pounds FREE per person
  • The ability to CANCEL a flight with no penalty
  • The ability to book ANY flight, ANY time with points rather than having to find an available “award seat”
  • The option to book a fare with phone with no fee (I can’t tell you how many times Southwest customer service agents have saved the day!)
  • Their outstanding customer service, which is heads and tails above the rest


The Details of Each Airline’s Change Fee Elimination

DElta cuts change fees
Credit Tomás Del Coro from Las Vegas, Nevada Wikimedia Images


  • Eliminates change fees for ALL tickets except “Saver” fares
  • $15 fee to book by phone remains

Alaska Airlines fees list



  • Eliminates change fees for US flights and short-haul international flights (Mexico, Caribbean, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands)
  • Fly standby on same day to same destination FREE beginning October 1, 2020
  • Basic Economy tickets now have the option to purchase priority boarding, upgrades and same-day changes
  • $25-$40 fee remains to book tickets by phone



  • Eliminates change fees for flights within the U.S., Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands
  • 24 hours to cancel your flight at no cost after booking
  • No fee to book a flight by phone or in person (already in place)



  • Eliminates change fees for domestic and international flights for all seats except Main Cabin Basic. Main Cabin Basic can change for no fee through Dec. 31, 2020.
  • $25 fee to book tickets by phone remains
  • Most fares are non-refundable

Complete list of Hawaiian fees



  • Eliminates change fees for standard Economy and Premium cabin tickets within the U.S., Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands; no limit to how many times you can make changes
  • Fly standby free on any ticket type beginning January 1, 2021
  • $25 charge to book by phone, $35 at a City Ticket Office and $50 at the airport remains


What do you think about these changes? Do they make you more likely to give airlines other than Southwest a second look?


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3 thoughts on “All Major US Airlines Drop Change Fees”

  1. NOPE, not if I can help it!! Sticking with SW! Best customer service, bags fly free, Companion Pass, best seats with more legroom in the entire plane unlike other airline’s planes with the only roomy seats in first class while coach seats has each flier crammed into them like sardines.

  2. I just changed an American flight today that is scheduled to fly out on Tuesday to Wednesday for no change fee and actually got a credit of $1 each. That is not something that was possible in the past. I did it based on a weather forecast for snow in CO on the day we are departing back to Indy.


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