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American Eliminates Change Fees on International Tickets, Ending Practice for Most Bookings

American Eliminates Change Fees on International Tickets, Ending Practice for Most Bookings
Joe Cortez

After cancelling change fees for most domestic airline tickets, American Airlines is extending the policy to international fares. The airline will no longer charge a change fee on international first class, business class, premium economy and main cabin tickets.

American Airlines is setting another precedent among the U.S. legacy carriers: no change fees for most tickets. The Fort Worth-based airline announced they would put an end to change fee policies for most long-haul international tickets, effective immediately.

“We’re Giving Customers More Flexibility No Matter When or Where They Plan to Travel”

Prior to the announcement, American was behind United in cancelling change fees for domestic airfare. The shift was necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, as flyers scrambled to refund itineraries due to cancelled flights and stay-at-home orders.

The new policy will apply only to first class, business class, premium economy and main cabin long-haul international tickets, when the travel originates from North or South America. As long as changes are made before departure, flyers will be able to keep the full value of their tickets.

“We are committed to making travel easier for our customers who fly on American,” American’s chief revenue officer Vasu Raja said in a press release. “By eliminating change fees, we’re giving customers more flexibility no matter when or where they plan to travel.”

There are some key limitations to the new policy. First, while flyers will not lose their ticket value if they decide to change to a cheaper flight, they won’t be able to recover the difference in cash. Second, as with the domestic policy, basic economy tickets are not eligible for free changes.

In addition to cutting change fees for many tickets, American will also do away with phone booking fees. The fees were first waived at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but have since been permanently retired.

American First Among Legacy Carriers to Cut International Change Fees

Although American is leading the legacy three, it may be only a matter of time before Delta Air Lines and United will follow suit. When United became the first to cancel change fees for most domestic airfare, their competition made similar changes within hours.

View Comments (4)


  1. davork

    November 20, 2020 at 4:24 am

    Looks at AA route map between the US and Ireland + UK.. Hmmm not much choice! (LHR – DFW is the last remaining SLF route :( )

  2. hinshaw

    November 20, 2020 at 10:47 am

    I have no doubt the money grubbers who run AA will reinstate their punitive change fees as soon as the airlines start recovering. They will not permanently give up the tremendous income they made off those penalties which was pure profit. As an Exec Platinum who changes a lot of flights, it angered me to no end to pay these fees. If they truly cared about their customers, they would have waived the fee or reduced it for Exec Platinum.

  3. daniellam

    November 20, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    By having no change fees, it does not stop the airline from charging any fare difference due to the original booking class not being available and having to rebook to a higher booking class.

  4. catocony

    November 23, 2020 at 11:00 am

    I don’t have an issue with charging the difference between fair buckets. It’s the change fee, which went from $25.00 to WTF on the major airlines over a period of years.

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