• Jenna

Change Fee and Cancelation Policies For The Top 5 Airlines

Updated: Aug 19

A lot has changed over the past year and a half in the flight industry. Here are the updated change fee and cancelation policies for the top airlines in the United States.


Hi everyone! We are officially leaving for New York in 2 days and I am SO excited! We have been planning all week and have so many fun things planned! My mom and I were discussing flights last week for my wedding in Mexico next May and she was trying to decide what airline to fly. I began to do some research on change fees and cancelation policies for her and thought it would be a fun blog to write about! I looked up the top 5 airlines in the U.S. and looked into the change fee and cancelation policies for each. They are outlined below and if you click on the airline's title, it will take you to their website (specifically to their policies page), in case you want more information! :)


Delta

Change Fee Policy:


If you purchase a ticket for main cabin or above – There are no change fees anymore through Delta through these types of tickets. You just have to pay the difference in the price of fights. You can also cancel your flight for any reason, and you will receive an eCredit (usually one year from date of purchase).


If you purchase a ticket through basic economy – Any travel through December 31, 2021 has the ability to be changed without a change fee, but anything after that, you will be required to pay the change fee.


* If you have an eCredit expiring in 2021, they have extended the date of expiration to December 31, 2022.


Cancelation Policy:


Refundable Ticket – You can fill out a form requesting for a refund and it will be issued to your original payment.


Non-Refundable Ticket – Most tickets will have a cancellation fee deducted from your original cost and the remaining amount will be given to you as an eCredit. There are some tickets in this category (Basic Economy) cannot be canceled at all.


Southwest

Change Fee Policy:


Southwest has a saying “More fees, more problems” and has even had no change fees before Covid began. I have taken advantage of this on a few occasions and I was so thankful they offered the no change fees on all flights. You will only have to pay the difference in the price of the ticket prices.


Cancelation Policy:


Business/Select/Anytime tickets: These are refundable – you can either get a refund or get a travel fund to use on a future flight


Wanna Get Away tickets: These are not refundable – The only method is to get a travel fund to use on a future flight


United

Change Fee Policy:


There are no longer a change fee for standard economy/premium cabin ticket for travel within the U.S or to Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Mexico, and the Caribbean.


For Basic Economy tickets, there are no fee changes through December 31, 2021.


For international travel, there are no fee changes through September 30, 2021.


Cancelation Policy:


There is no fee for canceling a flight and you will either receive a travel credit or a refund for the full amount of the price of your original ticket. United will look at the type of ticket you purchased and disruption when deciding if they will give you a credit or a refund back.


Alaska

Change Fee Policy:


They have removed change fees for Main and First Class fares and you will just need to pay for the difference in flight prices. If you do a same day change, you will need to pay a $25-50 fee, but you will not need to pay a fare difference.


Saver fares (their lowest class fares) cannot be changed for any reason .


Cancelation Policy:


For Main and First Class fares (and Saver fees purchased before April 30, 2021) can be canceled only for a credit to use on a future flight. There are no refunds through Alaska. You cannot cancel flights through the Saver fares for any sort of credit or refund.



American

Change Fee Policy:


Any tickets for Premium Cabin, Premium Economy, and Main Cabin fares will no longer have any change fees. This is for all domestic, short-haul and long-haul international flights.


* You are allowed to only make one change, and this fee will be waived. Any change after that, you will be required to pay a fee.


Basic Economy fares after April 1, 2021 are non-refundable and non-changeable.



Cancelation Policy:


You can cancel Premium Cabin, Premium Economy, and Main Cabin flights at any time and will receive a credit in your account for the amount of the flight.


Basic Economy tickets purchased between March 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021 can also be canceled and you can receive a credit in your account for the amount of the flight. However, any other Basic Economy ticket is non-refundable.



It seems like all airlines are following fairly similar policies when it comes to change fees. For the lowest fares, there is either a fee, or the flight is not changeable. And for any of the other fare classes, there are no change fees. The cancelation policies are a little more different between the airlines. If you are looking for a flight, especially with the unknowns right now, it is really important to consider their change fee and cancelation policies.