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Change Fees "Gone For Good"(WW ex-USA,non-BE), credit for lower fare!, Intl&BE waiver

View Poll Results: What do you think of the recent UA changes in Changes fees?
Good idea: No Domestic Change fee w/ no rebooking residual AND No Standby fee/Free SDC all elites
148
64.35%
Good idea: No Domestic Change fee w/ no rebooking residual but NOT No Standby fee/Free SDC all elite
25
10.87%
Good idea: No Standby fee/Free SDC all elite but NOT No Domestic Change fee w/ no rebooking residual
18
7.83%
Neutral /donít care about either
30
13.04%
Donít like / think either is a good idea
9
3.91%
Voters: 230. You may not vote on this poll

Change Fees "Gone For Good"(WW ex-USA,non-BE), credit for lower fare!, Intl&BE waiver

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Old Jun 28, 22, 1:53 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: DELee
Wiki Link
Latest Update: 23 December 2021:

"Change fees are gone" (change fee waiver): https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly...ngefeesaregone
We've permanently gotten rid of change fees for most Economy and premium cabin tickets for travel within the U.S., or between the U.S. and Mexico or the Caribbean. There also won't be change fees for other international travel originating in the U.S. Learn more

For all other standard Economy and premium cabin tickets, change fees are waived through January 31, 2022. Basic Economy tickets can only be changed if theyíre issued by December 31, 2021, for travel commencing by December 31, 2021. See terms and conditions
(change fee waiver) Terms and Conditions: https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly...ChangeFeeTerms

Tickets: Applies to standard fare tickets issued between March 3, 2020, and January 31, 2022, and Basic Economy fare tickets issued between March 3, 2020, and April 30, 2021, or Basic Economy tickets issued between May 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021 for travel commencing between August 11 and December 31, 2021.

Changes/Cancellations: Customers with Basic Economy fare tickets issued between March 3, 2020, and April 30, 2021, or between May 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021 for travel commencing between August 11 and December 31, 2021, or standard fare tickets issued between March 3, 2020, and January 31, 2022, will be permitted to change without paying a change fee. If the new flight is priced higher, the customer may change for no change fee but must pay the fare difference. If the new flight is priced lower, the customer may change without paying a change fee, and standard fare tickets may be given residual value in the form of a future flight credit. If you purchased your ticket from a third-party agency, please check with the issuing agency for the rules of your ticket. Contract fares such as special bulk fares sold by travel agencies (e.g., opaque) may not be eligible for free changes. Any changes or cancellations must occur prior to ticketed travel date.

Please note: As of August 30, 2020, we no longer have change fees for most Economy and premium cabin tickets for flights within the U.S., or between the U.S. and Mexico or the Caribbean. We also no longer have change fees for international travel originating in the U.S. For more information visit united.com/changefee.

Fare validity: This applies to all standard fare tickets issued through January 31, 2022, all destinations, all points-of-sale, all travel dates available for sale, provided ticket number starts with 016. It also applies to Basic Economy fare tickets issued through April 30, 2021 or Basic Economy tickets issued between May 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021 for travel commencing between August 11 and December 31, 2021, all destinations, all points of sale, provided the ticket number starts with 016.

Miscellaneous: Fares, fees, rules and offers are subject to change without notice. Seats are capacity-controlled and may not be available on all flights or days. Some fares are nonrefundable except during the first 24 hours after purchase. Other restrictions may apply.

New fine print (1 April 2021)
  • You can change Basic Economy tickets without change fees if the ticket is issued by April 30, 2021,
  • and all other international travel without change fees if the ticket is issued by May 31, 2021.
  • If the new flight is priced lower, the customer may change without paying a change fee, and may be given residual value in the form of a future flight credit.
Updated 30 Sept 2021
Tickets: Applies to standard fare tickets issued between March 3, 2020, and December 31, 2021, and Basic Economy fare tickets issued between March 3, 2020, and April 30, 2021, or Basic Economy tickets issued between May 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021 for travel commencing between August 11 and December 31, 2021.

Changes/Cancellations: Customers with Basic Economy fare tickets issued between March 3, 2020, and April 30, 2021, or between May 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021 for travel commencing between August 11 and December 31, 2021, or standard fare tickets issued between March 3, 2020, and December 31, 2021, will be permitted to change without paying a change fee. If the new flight is priced higher, the customer may change for no change fee but must pay the fare difference. If the new flight is priced lower, the customer may change without paying a change fee, and standard fare tickets may be given residual value in the form of a future flight credit. If you purchased your ticket from a third-party agency, please check with the issuing agency for the rules of your ticket. Contract fares such as special bulk fares sold by travel agencies (e.g., opaque) may not be eligible for free changes. Any changes or cancellations must occur prior to ticketed travel date.

Please note: As of August 30, 2020, we no longer have change fees for most Economy and premium cabin tickets for flights within the U.S., or between the U.S. and Mexico or the Caribbean. We also no longer have change fees for international travel originating in the U.S. For more information visit united.com/changefee.

Fare validity: This applies to all standard fare tickets issued through December 31, 2021, all destinations, all points-of-sale, all travel dates available for sale, provided ticket number starts with 016. It also applies to Basic Economy fare tickets issued through April 30, 2021 or Basic Economy tickets issued between May 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021 for travel commencing between August 11 and December 31, 2021, all destinations, all points of sale, provided the ticket number starts with 016.

Miscellaneous: Fares, fees, rules and offers are subject to change without notice. Seats are capacity-controlled and may not be available on all flights or days. Some fares are nonrefundable except during the first 24 hours after purchase. Other restrictions may apply.

Originally Posted by spartacusmcfly View Post
I just went through the process on a post-April 1st itinerary and was issued the new FFC vs ETCs. The agent tried to explain the new FFCs in detail:

The Bad:
1. No more ETC
2. No transferability
3. No combinability
4. Given there is no combinability, there is no more date-pushing (meaning new expiration date is most favorable of combined cert dates)

The Good:
5. Can use multiple towards a single itinerary (up to 10 she said)
6. Can pull from multiple accounts (3 from yours, 3 from spouse), so you don't have to split the locator to use from multiple accounts
7. Can be used on partner itineraries as long as one segment is UA
8. The FFCs show up in the account of the recipient and the booker. So I can see my spouse's FFCs if I booked the itenerary
9. FFCs now show up as a payment method in the app booking flow. For multi-passenger FFCs, both passengers show up!

I can live with all this, in exchange for no change fees, and reclaiming residual!
The fine-print on the change rules:
  1. If the new ticket costs less, the residual value from the old ticket is lost
  2. Multiple cancelled reservations cannot be combined to pay for a more expensive ticket
  3. Strictly U.S. and Mexico or the Caribbean only (excludes Canada) and excludes Basic Economy and International flights
    1. Worldwide until Dec 31, 2020
United Airlines Permanently Eliminates Change Fees
Applies to all Economy and Premium cabin tickets for travel within the U.S.;
Airline also announces complimentary standby travel, becomes only U.S. airline that will let all customers in all classes of service fly same-day standby for free
With these new options, United gives more flexibility than any other U.S. carrier when customers' travel plans change
Video(1) Photos(1)

CHICAGO, Aug. 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The only thing constant is change and at United Airlines, some of the fees associated with changes related to flying are gone for good. The carrier announced today that it is permanently getting rid of change fees on all standard Economy and Premium cabin tickets for travel within the U.S., effective immediately. And starting on January 1, 2021, any United customer can fly standby for free on a flight departing the day of their travel regardless of the type of ticket or class of service, a first among U.S. carriers, while MileagePlus Premier members can confirm a seat on a different flight on the same day with the same departure and arrival cities as their original ticket if a seat in the same ticket fare class is available.

United is also extending its waiver for new tickets issued through December 31, 2020, to permit unlimited changes with no fee. This policy applies to all ticket types issued after March 3, 2020 and is valid for domestic and international travel. With these improvements, no U.S. airline gives their customers more flexibility when booking Ė and changing Ė their travel plans than United Airlines.

"Change is inevitable these days Ė but it's how we respond to it that matters most. When we hear from customers about where we can improve, getting rid of this fee is often the top request," said Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines, in a video message to customers. "Following previous tough times, airlines made difficult decisions to survive, sometimes at the expense of customer service. United Airlines won't be following that same playbook as we come out of this crisis. Instead, we're taking a completely different approach Ė and looking at new ways to serve our customers better."

The new change fee policy applies to all standard Economy and Premium cabin tickets for travel within the U.S. 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and customers will not be limited in the number of times they adjust their flights.

Additionally, United is giving customers more flexibility to change their flights on the day of their travel so they can head home if a meeting ends earlier or enjoy a few more hours on vacation. With the ability to list for same-day standby for free, customers will now have an option to take a different flight with the same origin and destination airports as their original itinerary if space is available at departure. This enhanced option will be available to all customers for travel within the U.S. and to and from international destinations beginning on January 1, 2021. Customers who want to switch flights will be able to add themselves to the standby list through United's award-winning mobile app, on united.com or at the airport no later than 30 minutes prior to departure for domestic flights and one hour before departure on international flights.

The carrier is also improving the travel experience for its MileagePlus members including waiving all redeposit fees on award travel for flights changed or cancelled more than 30 days before departure and allowing all MileagePlus Premier members to confirm a different flight on the day of their travel. As a way to thank MileagePlus Premier members for their loyalty, beginning January 1, 2021, all Premier members will be able to confirm a seat for free on a different flight with the same departure and arrival cities as their original ticket. This expanded option will allow MileagePlus Silver members and above to confirm a new seat in the same ticket fare class if space is available. Earlier this year, United announced that it will extend status for MileagePlus Premier and Global Services members through January 2022. United also reduced thresholds for Premier qualification by 50 percent for each status level, to make reaching an even higher status tier easier.

For more information on United's new flexible travel policies, visit https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly...hange-fee.html.

......
Related Threads
AA Eliminates Many Change Fees, Other Benefits 31 Aug 2020
Delta to Eliminate Change Fees on Domestic Tickets [Consolidated Thread]
Alaska Eliminates Change Fees (9/1/2020)

UA will extend BE/International change fee waiver (In response to AA?)
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Old Aug 30, 20, 4:13 pm
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Plane-is-home View Post
because before when it was costing money for most, it was easy do make last minute changes or get GS to rebook you. Now there will be longer lists.
True, but in a strictly standby sense there should still be some component of status in determining the herichary.

As far as GS simply ignoring add-collects to confirm changes...my guess is the agents will (hopefully) still have wide latitude to do so.

Also remember that for all those extra trying to get in the flight you want, there will be all those extra getting off the flight you want.
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Old Aug 30, 20, 4:14 pm
  #47  
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Originally Posted by J.Edward View Post
...
I’ll also note change fees are were a material source of income for the carrier. Don’t know what will be done to offset this... - and to be fair, maybe UA doesn’t know either - but ALL carriers right now have a massive revenue problem and sooner or later this will have to be addressed. Maybe it’s higher fares, maybe it’s more subsidies, maybe [ → they ← ] will change monetary policy/reset the currency...I really don’t know. But sooner or later the economic reality of operating any airline will have to be balanced. I just hope we can find a path forward that allows the carrier to operate with pay/service levels/benefits/products that work for all...but for now, a win is a win and glad to see UA making the best of a bad situation...
I guess for now, the top priority is to "get people money first". I guess one thing they might do is to increase the differential between Basic and Regular Economy. Maybe that + the unused residuals will end up making more money than the change fees.

To me, if the change fees are reasonable (say $30 US), then it is fine. However, when it gets into the $150-$250 range, it is just too much.
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Old Aug 30, 20, 4:15 pm
  #48  
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Originally Posted by Doppy View Post
Very customer friendly changes.
Originally Posted by drowelf View Post
A change that is extremely Customer Oriented.
Originally Posted by IMissThe747 View Post
Nice job leading with a shared win for customers and company.
United has a figurative gun to their heads. Zero public goodwill and a new policy of light-load cancellations you might not learn of until check in. They had to do some bold thing to change the narrative.

For year, UA and the other majors have exploited customers dry with high fees, a gutted FF program, and declining service -- because they could. The intent of the last round of mergers was to create an oligopolistic environment where customers had no leverage any more. I always said the fly-our-way-or-get-lost-bub approach would last until some exterior event changed the power calculus and gave the flying public a little leverage; then the airlines would be forced to capitulate at least a little. That day has come, courtesy of COVID-19.

Before you nominate United for a Nobel Prize remember that this is a company that has spent decades playing chess against you. One swallow doth not make a spring.
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Old Aug 30, 20, 4:19 pm
  #49  
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Stunned!

Finally a change that I like and a nice move but still stunned none the less
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Old Aug 30, 20, 4:20 pm
  #50  
 
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If you change to a cheaper fare on Southwest, do you get to keep residual value of the ticket? You don't on United. So this seems like marketing over relatively little changes.

It's a pretty large incentive not to book premium-cabin tickets occasionally, since you won't be able to change to a coach fare without loosing noticeable amounts.
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Old Aug 30, 20, 4:28 pm
  #51  
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Originally Posted by okrogius View Post
... It's a pretty large incentive not to book premium-cabin tickets occasionally, since you won't be able to change to a coach fare without loosing noticeable amounts.
I have never done this voluntarily and suspect this is an extremely uncommon event.
But I have changed flights and paid change fees many times. Net net for me this will be a win and suspect it will be for most.
There is always a corner case but on the whole a positive IMO.
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Old Aug 30, 20, 4:32 pm
  #52  
 
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This is a huge win for me, as I have spent tens of thousands on changing tickets with United. There were years when I would say that I changed 70% of my bookings.

I wonder if this is just one of many changes that will be coming that benefit frequent flyers and travelers in general. Year after year, we have seen it more difficult to achieve status, more expensive to redeem award miles, more difficult to benefit from FFP's.....

During difficult times, I wonder if the airlines will make their FFP's and other incentives more enticing.....

Waiting to see... but not holding my breath.
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Old Aug 30, 20, 4:36 pm
  #53  
 
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Originally Posted by iluv2fly View Post
Wow!!!
Ditto!
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Old Aug 30, 20, 4:43 pm
  #54  
 
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I applaud United for getting out there to do something to increase demand for their product. At the end of the day these days flying is a commodity. What do you give me for the price you are going to charge me? The airline industry in the USA has had some bad publicity over the last few years so while demand > supply they could weather it. Now supply > demand so there needs to be a change in business practices that is good for the consumer that will increase the top line and not be very harmful to the bottom line for United. After all United is there to make money for the shareholders.

However, the cynic in me says remember how wonderful it was when United introduced Plus Points and modified the 1K program as announed by United Insider? We all did a little jig for joy. And then the other shoe dropped (later in the week). Significant increase in spend - a frequent spend program and not a frequent flight program. A number of us who were adversely impacted by the change (yes I am one of them) said too much and United would lose our business and would regret it in the next economic downturn. Well that economic downturn is here. United has lost my business once I have used my Plus Points.

Hope I am wrong about the other shoe dropping with adverse news for United flyers, but good news on Sunday normally means another announcement later in the week that we may not like as much. As I said hope I am wrong.
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Old Aug 30, 20, 4:43 pm
  #55  
 
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Originally Posted by jjmoore View Post
This is a huge win for me, as I have spent tens of thousands on changing tickets with United. There were years when I would say that I changed 70% of my bookings.

I wonder if this is just one of many changes that will be coming that benefit frequent flyers and travelers in general. Year after year, we have seen it more difficult to achieve status, more expensive to redeem award miles, more difficult to benefit from FFP's.....

During difficult times, I wonder if the airlines will make their FFP's and other incentives more enticing.....

Waiting to see... but not holding my breath.
The 20% in your boat will likely endup making up 80% of the revenue loss through higher fares (either straight out, or through restrictions on booking classes for upgrades, less discounted inventory at popular business travel times of year/week/day etc). This will please customers that suffer a few changes per year where the change fee represents 30-40% of the ticket value. Carriers will look to the other group to make up the difference.

Clearly this is aimed at the population paying for their own tickets (leisure, small business) rather than corporate travel, so I suppose we can expect FFP changes, first class monetization, pricing to target elastic demand. Could the Saturday night stay make a comeback...?
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Old Aug 30, 20, 4:44 pm
  #56  
 
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Originally Posted by J.Edward View Post
Good news, glad to see UA taking the initiative here...will be nice to see a ďUA does [ x ], when will DL followĒ posted by our friends over on the DL forum.

...and there it is! https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/delt...ta-follow.html

Well said. Also would note Alaska, the donut-hole-airline [read: too big to be small and too small to be big] effectively offered this for their mid tier and above elites.

Said something similar back in February prior to the full on awareness of what we were in for with COVID. Basically it boils down to a macro demand problem that the carriers have no tools to address.

edited to add - COVID19 / Best Assessment as to "Secondary" Impacts on UA/M+ in 2020 from Black Swans


Yeah...but on the whole how will the average customer benefit more: getting a residual voucher back or paying $200 for a change fee.

Let me say it another way: looking back to 2019 - the last ďnormalĒ year - what amount do you think was higher: 1. Change fees, or 2. Residual values. Iím not saying thereís no nuance here, but for the average customer this will produce an positive outcome the majority (note: not ALL) the time.

Iíll also note change fees are were a material source of income for the carrier. Donít know what will be done to offset this - and to be fair, maybe UA doesnít know either - but ALL carriers right now have a massive revenue problem and sooner or later this will have to be addressed. Maybe itís higher fares, maybe itís more subsidies, maybe [ → they ← ] will change monetary policy/reset the currency...I really donít know. But sooner or later the economic reality of operating any airline will have to be balanced. I just hope we can find a path forward that allows the carrier to operate with pay/service levels/benefits/products that work for all...but for now, a win is a win and glad to see UA making the best of a bad situation.


One would assume standby lists would retain a status component.
I wouldn't be surprised if this is revenue neutral or even positive for UA -- you offset the change fee revenue with both the lack of residual credit when changing to a lower fare, and by tweaking when/what fares are offered on a given flight. And by capturing some of the market who simply isn't going to book at all right now without at least a perception of flexibility -- we want to see my family, but no idea if it will be able to happen in December or if we'll have to postpone to spring or the summer.

No residual is a BIG difference from Southwest -- less stress over fares potentially dropping, I feel a lot less pressure with WN to wait wait wait to see if fares drop, just book it now (thus WN capturing my money) and if they drop I know I can use the credit for the next trip. And in reality, I may forget to keep checking so miss the fare drop -- and then sometimes not use the credit in the end; win for WN and I at least felt that I wasn't locked in to the higher fare!
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Old Aug 30, 20, 4:44 pm
  #57  
 
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My takeaways:

1. Smart, aggressive, proactive move by UA.
2. Sets the tone that Kirby's reign will be customer friendly
3. In my case, 80% of my Southwest spend will shift to UA
4. On the earnings call UA discussed rebuilding the balance sheet (aka increase cash & reduce debt) post-Covid. This will help as advanced bookings should materially grow.
5. Remember, at any given time, UA normally sits on $12B of customer cash related to future travel. If that grows to $15B, the incremental $3B almost pays back the govt debt!
6. Dilutes MP a bit as the SDC and no mileage redeposit fees are things I valued. Now everyone has them.
​​​7. Watch Kirby's video associated with the release. He makes it clear a flury of additional changes are coming soon. He mentions it at a point In the video where it likely references the route network, although he may be referencing the loyalty program to address #6.
8. AA is not happy. When they match, they will lose material fee income, at a time when they desperately need cash.

To date, Kirby's management team has made smart operating moves. Raising cash aggressively, launching point-to-point domestic routes, and brilliantly monetizing MP was impressive.

However, with this latest change, it's clear this team is smart, aggressive and boldly looking to redefine how legacy carriers operate in this country.

There's a new thought leader in the industry and I don't think the legacy carriers or LCCs are too happy... Nice work UA.

Last edited by spartacusmcfly; Aug 30, 20 at 4:51 pm
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Old Aug 30, 20, 5:02 pm
  #58  
 
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Originally Posted by NYC Flyer View Post
The 20% in your boat will likely endup making up 80% of the revenue loss through higher fares (either straight out, or through restrictions on booking classes for upgrades, less discounted inventory at popular business travel times of year/week/day etc). This will please customers that suffer a few changes per year where the change fee represents 30-40% of the ticket value. Carriers will look to the other group to make up the difference.

Clearly this is aimed at the population paying for their own tickets (leisure, small business) rather than corporate travel, so I suppose we can expect FFP changes, first class monetization, pricing to target elastic demand. Could the Saturday night stay make a comeback...?
This is the primary segment flying now. Business and government travel is largely mising from mid March. Airlines have to cater to the group that is buying the seats
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Old Aug 30, 20, 5:03 pm
  #59  
 
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To avoid the issue with losing residual value couldnít one cancel the ticket instead of changing it? That would presumably result in a future flight credit that could be used the next time you want to book an equal or more expensive fare. Then to accomplish the change you just book a new ticket.
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Old Aug 30, 20, 5:06 pm
  #60  
 
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This change makes a lot of sense. Not having to consider change fees reduces the risk that someone is making a financial decision to fly still when they are sick. Not only will this will make me feel safer to fly UA, I expect statistics will back it up in the long term.
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