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Delta to Eliminate Change Fees on Domestic Tickets [Consolidated Thread]

Delta to Eliminate Change Fees on Domestic Tickets [Consolidated Thread]

Old Aug 30, 20, 2:58 pm
  #1  
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Delta to Eliminate Change Fees on Domestic Tickets [Consolidated Thread]

From United:

We’re excited to announce a major change that’ll give you more flexibility when you fly with us. We’re permanently getting rid of change fees for most Economy and premium cabin tickets for flights within the U.S. There’s no limit to how many times you can change your flight, but you’ll have to pay for any fare difference each time.

If you want to take an earlier United flight on the same day, you’ll be able to join the standby list for free, departing from anywhere in our network. If a seat is available, we’ll assign you one before departure.

If you’re a MileagePlus
® Premier® member, you have even more flexibility and may be able to confirm a seat on an earlier flight for no cost at all.

https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly...hange-fee.html
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Old Aug 30, 20, 3:05 pm
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I don't think DL has any other choice but to follow.
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Old Aug 30, 20, 3:09 pm
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Ed alluded to some changes re: fees earlier this year. I wonder if they're still working out the details and United beat them to the punch, or if they had put this on hold because of increased flexibility re: COVID. Either way, yeah, would be surprising to see Delta not react to this promptly.

(Example: https://www.usatoday.com/story/trave...an/4425586002/)

Personally, I'd love to see them one-up United by offering no change fees and extending that to international flights as well.
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Old Aug 30, 20, 4:17 pm
  #4  
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Currently DL have waivers for change fees on new bookings through end of Sept, and they've kept extending it month at a time.

Understand that UA said 'permanent' but do you really think they won't bring it back in a year or so or whenever things recover? Airlines were making significant bucks off those change fees.
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Old Aug 30, 20, 4:38 pm
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Originally Posted by rylan View Post
Airlines were making significant bucks off those change fees.
And losing significant bucks from people unwilling to take the risk of losing hundreds if their plans changed.
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Old Aug 30, 20, 5:33 pm
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Originally Posted by DLASflyer View Post
And losing significant bucks from people unwilling to take the risk of losing hundreds if their plans changed.
Losing a few LVC leisure travelers when you have LFs over 90% (pre-covid) is irrelevant. All that cash you bring in from bus travelers whose plans change a lot...well worth the trade off. I prob spend ~$1000/yr on change fees. There is a cost for airlines to allow changes. Yeah it’s not $200, but it also ain’t free (opportunity cost, transaction fees, call center time (if needed)).

I would be very surprised if they aren’t reinstated in a few years when things get back to normal. I would think lowering them to like $50 makes more sense than just dropping them.
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Old Aug 30, 20, 5:40 pm
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Originally Posted by HDQDD View Post
Losing a few LVC leisure travelers when you have LFs over 90% (pre-covid) is irrelevant. All that cash you bring in from bus travelers whose plans change a lot...well worth the trade off. I prob spend ~$1000/yr on change fees. There is a cost for airlines to allow changes. Yeah it’s not $200, but it also ain’t free (opportunity cost, transaction fees, call center time (if needed)).

I would be very surprised if they aren’t reinstated in a few years when things get back to normal. I would think lowering them to like $50 makes more sense than just dropping them.
You’d stealth add them by closing the lower fare buckets to force customers to buy up to higher ones as the flight got closer in. For example on the day of departure you may only see Y open but all sub-Y classes closed off forcing anyone wanting to make a change to upfare.
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Old Aug 30, 20, 5:50 pm
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I think this is just another step in the evolution of Basic Economy fares, TBH. They’ll use this to continue to segment business travelers into Main Cabin, and will raise prices on those fares accordingly.

When BE was introduced, the price difference was $20-30 RT. Now, it routinely approaches $75. I wouldn’t be surprised to see that difference become $150 in the next year if these changes take hold.

The next step, of course, will be seat assignment buyups for basic economy fares. And then someone will start offering elite upgrades on higher basic economy fares. And then everything will be back where we started.... just like business class was originally like today’s Premium Economy. It’s the circle of revenue management life!
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Old Aug 30, 20, 6:00 pm
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Originally Posted by HDQDD View Post
Losing a few LVC leisure travelers when you have LFs over 90% (pre-covid) is irrelevant. All that cash you bring in from bus travelers whose plans change a lot...well worth the trade off. I prob spend ~$1000/yr on change fees. There is a cost for airlines to allow changes. Yeah it’s not $200, but it also ain’t free (opportunity cost, transaction fees, call center time (if needed)).

I would be very surprised if they aren’t reinstated in a few years when things get back to normal. I would think lowering them to like $50 makes more sense than just dropping them.
You must think Southwest has never made a dime in profit then...

Awesome news though. Good for United for doing this.
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Old Aug 30, 20, 6:14 pm
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Originally Posted by readywhenyouare View Post
You must think Southwest has never made a dime in profit then...
Reading comprehension fail or bad attempt at passive-aggressivism? I never mentioned WN. This is a DL thread (their potential response to UA). Try to follow along.
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Old Aug 30, 20, 6:24 pm
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Originally Posted by HDQDD View Post
Reading comprehension fail or bad attempt at passive-aggressivism? I never mentioned WN. This is a DL thread (their potential response to UA). Try to follow along.
My point is that WN has always allowed changes to their tickets and they've managed to stay in business for quite some time. And believe it or not, WN is quite popular with business travelers.
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Old Aug 30, 20, 6:26 pm
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Saw this from UA and immediately came here. UA also waiving SDC fees starting in January.

I think the majors have no choice but to do this in the medium-term, though I would be quite surprised if it doesn't eventually come back. I, too, also expect non-BE fares to continue to increase over BE, pricing some of this change in.8.2.3
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Old Aug 30, 20, 7:39 pm
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A huge difference is with no-shows. In the covid era, in theory DL could sell out all 67 seats on a 100-seat plane (middle seats empty) and none of the 67 passengers show up. Remaining passengers who wanted to book this flight at any price were denied as it was sold out. Yet all 67 no-shows would still get a 100% credit towards another future DL flight. Pre-covid DL would get to keep $200 per passenger, and all BE and award ticket fees. This is not sustainable for DL.
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Old Aug 30, 20, 7:50 pm
  #14  
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Right now it is irrelevant as the pandemic waiver covers changes. But, going forward:
1. Increase the non-BE fare buckets, thereby increasing the gap with BE and forcing more passengers into BE or collecting higher fares from the crowd effectively willing to pay for flexibiltiy.
2. Fiddle around with advance purchase dates to make close in changes more expensive (fare difference still applies). This is the WN gambit. No change fees, but once the WGA fees are gone, changing can be rather expensive.
3. The UA program expressly does not issue a credit when the fare has dropped.

This really leaves people who want to make changes quite far in advance. That really has never been the problem and RM/IM can deal with the costs of those changes quite neatly.

Just moving the deck chairs around. But, yes, DL & AA will follow suit.
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Old Aug 30, 20, 7:52 pm
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Originally Posted by J.Edward View Post
You’d stealth add them by closing the lower fare buckets to force customers to buy up to higher ones as the flight got closer in. For example on the day of departure you may only see Y open but all sub-Y classes closed off forcing anyone wanting to make a change to upfare.
This will mess up SDC opportunities too, which require fare class availability on DL, as opposed to SDS (standby) which makes any seat in the same cabin available.

To the extent that most leisure travelers are buying the cheapest basic economy fares, eliminating change fees on higher fees wouldn't make much difference. A lot of business travelers SDC/SDS unless the trip is cancelled; date changes are relatively rare.

Eliminating change fees on international tickets could create some interesting discussions with partners, especially JV/codeshare partners. Note that most discount international tickets with nonUSA carriers are completely nonrefundable and unchangeable; unlike exUSA tickets on USA carriers, they typically must be flown exactly as ticketed or the ticket loses all value. Of course, CVOVID-19 and the resulting travel restrictions and new requirements have sometimes made these tickets changeable too, while even refundable tickets have become nonrefundable in practice as some foreign carriers insist on issuing vouchers rather than refunds even when flights are cancelled.
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