The COVID-19 pandemic did more to the travel industry than just slash business travel and shrink the travel market—it thoroughly disrupted the status quo and forced executives to rethink policies and innovate offerings to stay relevant in today’s wonky travel landscape. One such area ripe for retooling was ancillary fees, namely those known as “flight change fees.” These fees were typically charged when a passenger changed their flight. Ranging from $75–$200 depending on ticket type, this fee was charged in addition to paying the fare difference. These flight change fees make the airlines a large chunk of tax-free revenue but are generally loathed by business travelers and employers who foot the bill.

We all know how quickly plans can change—it’s part of life—so why are we penalized for the inevitable, especially in the time of COVID-19?

A Pandemic Creates Change
It may have taken a pandemic to force airlines to consider eliminating change fees, but the good news is that most carriers have finally come to their senses. The wave of change began rolling in August, when United announced it was eliminating change fees permanently. Less than 24 hours after United made their announcement, American Airlines and Delta both followed suit. Now nearly every major US airline has fallen in line (JetBlue is one current exception), eliminating change fees on most domestic flights. Of course, each airline has their own set of unique guidelines and stipulations.
Less Fees, Less Hassle, More Options
What was once a hallmark of Southwest (no flight change fees) is now available on every other major player, opening up a whole new world of possibilities to the business traveler. Now you have the flexibility of being able to travel when you want without penalty on the airline YOU want to fly. There is no better time than now to shop around and review your preferred airlines. With change fees eliminated, perhaps another carrier’s loyalty program better suits your business needs? Seize the opportunities of the new normal and revamp your program for maximum appeal and higher adoption.

Review Your Options. Let ADTRAV Help.

If you need assistance reviewing your options or would like to discuss how to optimize your organization’s travel program, we’d love to help. Visit Adtrav.com to learn more about our services. Feel free to drop us a line and schedule a demo or consultation.