Does United Airlines Charge Change Fees?

A recent trip to United Airlines reminded me how important it is to take advantage of the no-change fee policies of US airlines.

As the new reporter for TPG, I was supposed to return to Houston on Friday. However, after checking the weather forecast, I was worried that my flight would be delayed or cancelled.

Using the United app, I was able to find various cheap and free options for an alternate flight. My trip was quickly booked after I earned 8 miles with my United Explorer Card. I was also able to secure one of the best seats on the aircraft for free.

United Policy of Charging Change Fees

In August 2020, United ended its policy of charging change fees for international and domestic tickets. This was a major step forward for the company, which previously depended on the fees to incentivize its business customers to purchase a more expensive ticket.

United has a same-day change policy that allows customers to change their flight status 24 hours before their scheduled departure. This option works seamlessly if your flight is delayed or cancelled.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, United has permanently removed the fees for most standard economy and business class tickets.

It appears that United has backdated its policy to May 1, 2021. This is a welcome change for Basic Economy holders who were expecting to pay the change fee on or after May 1.

Under the current policy, if the price of the new flight is higher than the previous one, the customer must pay the difference. If the price is lower, the customer can still change without paying a change fee.

This policy is good for tickets purchased through December 31, 2021. However, it can only be used for tickets that were purchased before the date of the original purchase.

Since I rarely buy Basic Economy tickets these days, I would probably have just gone for the cheaper fares instead of upgrading.

The basic economy tickets can only be changed after December 31, 2021. For international routes, the fee has been waived.

Electronic certificates will be valid for 24 months after they were issued. This includes those that were issued after April 1.

You can change your travel plans up to three times as long as the ticket price remains the same. Once you pay the difference, you’ll receive a future flight credit.

If your flight is cheaper, you’ll receive a future flight credit. If you’re travelling internationally, you won’t be charged any change fees.

The company’s 24-hour flight change policy applies to all tickets purchased after the original booking date.

United Airlines Flight Change Policy for Basic Economy Tickets: Although it allows you to cancel a ticket within the 24-hour window, United will not refund or replace it. However, if your ticket was purchased before December 31, 2019, you can still change it without paying a change fee.

United Airlines Flight Change Policy for Non-Refundable Tickets: Previously, United only allowed customers to change a non-refundable ticket without paying a change fee.

United Airlines Flight Change Policy for Refundable Tickets: However, if you’re changing a ticket to a cheaper option, you’ll still be charged the difference.

United Airlines Flight Change Policy for Award Tickets:

The company has eliminated the change fee for award tickets. You can also make changes without paying it if your flight is cancelled at least 30 days before the scheduled departure.

This policy change applies to all award tickets. You can now make changes to your tickets without paying a change fee if you cancel at least 30 days before your flight.

United Airlines Flight Change Policy for Coronavirus: All domestic and international flights after December 31, 2021, will be free of change fees due to the coronavirus pandemic.

You can change your flight’s time, date, or destination by phone or online at United’s website.

Related: What You Can Do When Flight Changes?

United Airlines Policy for Missed, Delayed, or Cancelled Flights

If your flight gets delayed by over an hour, United will find a new flight with a better schedule. Just download and print your boarding pass before going to the new airport.

United Airlines Schedule Change Policies

If United Airlines changes the flight’s arrival or departure time or adds a new route or aircraft type, you will be notified via email. You can also find out about the schedule change by contacting a travel agency or website that sells tickets.

If the new flight option doesn’t work for you, or if you’re not accommodated in the same cabin, United will refund the full amount of your original ticket.

United Airlines has started allowing customers to use the change fee waiver for all classes of tickets except Basic Economy.

With the new Basic Economy tickets, passengers can now change their travel dates without penalty until 2021.

Cases of the pandemic have started to rise in the U.S. due to the Delta Variant.

Many customers are now looking for ways to modify their travel arrangements due to the outbreak.

For instance, some of the affected flights include standard and Basic Economy tickets that were issued from March 3 to September 30, 2021.

Related: Will United Airlines Compensate For Cancelled Flights?

Ways to Change Travel Dates

Customers can now change their travel dates without paying a change fee by purchasing a new ticket or transferring their existing one.

If the price of the new flight is higher than the previous one, the customer can still change their travel dates without paying a change fee. However, if the new flight is cheaper, they may still lose their ticket.

Any changes or cancellations must be made prior to the ticketed travel date.

Cheap tickets purchased by travel agencies or other intermediaries may not be considered valid for free changes.

Effective August 30, 2020, United Airlines no longer has change fees for international flights originating in the US.

The validity of these changes applies to all standard and Basic Economy tickets that were issued from September 30, 2021, to December 31, 2021. It also applies to tickets that were issued from May 1, 2021, to December 31, 2021.

The prices, terms, and other details of a ticket can change without notice. Some restrictions may apply, such as the availability of certain seats.

Conclusion

Customers with Basic Economy tickets can now change their travel dates without paying a change fee or charges.

During a recent trip, I was able to change my travel dates without paying a change fee. It was a great opportunity to save money since I didn’t have to pay any additional fees.