Earlier this year the US carriers went through a round of cuts to change fees, but they focused mostly on domestic or regional routes. American Airlines took that a step further today, announcing that the new policy would also apply to First Class, Business Class, Premium Economy and Main Cabin (except Basic Economy) tickets for all long-haul international flying when travel originates in North or South America. Typically those changes cost $200.
We are committed to making travel easier for our customers who fly on American. By eliminating change fees, we’re giving customers more flexibility no matter when or where they plan to travel.– American’s Chief Revenue Officer Vasu Raja
Passengers will retain the full value of the ticket with such changes, even if the new fare is less expensive than the original booking. If the new fare is more expensive then passengers must pay the difference.
Call center fees disappear, too
In addition to dropping the international change fees, American Airlines is also killing off the $35 fee for making a booking over the phone. This fee had been suspended since the beginning of the pandemic. It will remain so going forward.
But is it enough??
Slashing the fees should be good news for most travelers, but it still might not be enough to get them to start booking. The airlines are desperate for any revenue right now, even if the travel happens well down the line. Making the funds pushed into the system more flexible should help convince some travelers to make that move.
There are also mixed messages to potential travelers. The CDC announced Thursday that people should not travel for Thanksgiving. Even some airports got in on the act.
But that has not stopped airlines in general, and especially American, from pushing a different message.
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