United Airlines axes change fees. Delta, American, Alaska follow.

United Airlines dumps the change fees permanently.

Unless you’re flying “basic economy”

Travelers hate change fees. Airlines love them and make a lot of money from those fees.

At least they used to.

With the arrival of COVID-19, most airlines have been temporarily waiving ticket change fees.

United Airlines has been temporarily waiving change fees too.

But on Sunday United Airlines announced that is dumping change fees permanently for all standard Economy and Premium cabin tickets – but not for basic economy tickets – for travel within the U.S. 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“Customers will not be limited in the number of times they adjust their flights,” the airline said in a statement.

“When we hear from customers about where we can improve, getting rid of this fee is often the top request,” said Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines, in a video message.

We hope and expect other airlines to do the same.

But wait, there’s more.

United also announced that, as of January 1, 2021, any customer can stand by for an earlier flight for free. “If a seat is available for that flight, we’ll assign you one before departure,” the airline promises.

Mileage PlusPlus Premier members will be able to confirm a seat on a different flight on the same day with the same departure and arrival cities as their original ticket if a seat in the same ticket fare class is available.

Delta and American Airlines nix change fees too.

As expected, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines joined United in ending the $200 fee for ticket changes.

Each has their own take on the policy.

Southwest Airlines never charged fees for changing tickets in the first place.

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