United Drops Change Fees On Domestic Flights

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United Airlines said it heard customers’ displeasure and has permanently dropped the $200 fee to change a ticket for travel within the U.S., the company announced in a press release Sunday (Aug 30).

That’s not all.

Starting Jan. 1, the Chicago-based air carrier said customers can fly standby at no cost on a flight departing the day of their travel no matter the type of ticket or class of service.

“When we hear from customers about where we can improve, getting rid of this fee is often the top request,” United’s CEO Scott Kirby said in a statement. “Following previous tough times, airlines made difficult decisions to survive, sometimes at the expense of customer service… [W]e’re taking a completely different approach and looking at new ways to serve our customers better.”

United also extended its waiver for new tickets issued through the end of the year to allow unlimited changes for free. The changes apply to standard economy and premium tickets for travel within the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In addition to dropping fees, United said it rolled out United CleanPlus to put health and safety first.

The airline partnered with Clorox and Cleveland Clinic to provide temperature checks for employees and flight attendants; install sneeze guards at check-in and gate podiums; promote social distancing with floor decals to help customers stand six feet apart; disinfect high-touch areas such as door handles, handrails, elevator buttons, telephones and computers; and provide hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.

Last month, Kirby said the airline industry will face challenges until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine.

Also in July, United introduced a chat function called the United Automated Assistant in a bid to calm anxiety among passengers about cleaning and safety.

By texting “Clean” to FLYUA (35982), passengers can “get answers to questions about masks, boarding procedures, touchless check-in options and more,” the airline said.

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