Both American Airlines and Delta Air Lines have said they will permanently cancel the costs associated with changing or canceling flights,media reported. The news comes less than a day after United first announced a permanent end to its fee policy. All three airlines have waived change fees since the new crown virus pandemic first disrupted global air travel in March 2020.
As demand dries up, airlines are trying to make flights look safe, easy and, most importantly, cheap. This means eliminating many of the costs and surcharges associated with air travel.
Ed Bastian, Delta’s chief executive, said in a statement: “We have previously said that we need to achieve flexibility in a different way than we have in the past, and today’s announcement is based on this commitment to ensure that we provide our customers with industry-leading flexibility, space and care.” “
Scott Kirby, United’s CEO, said: “Cancelling this fee is often our most pressing requirement when we hear from our customers about where we can improve. “
Vasu Raja, American Airlines’ chief revenue officer, said that by eliminating ticket exchange fees, customers had the opportunity to get to where they wanted to go faster, free of charge, but only on the same day.
It is reported that the new policy applies only to travel within the United States. Traditionally, airlines have earned billions of dollars from change fees of up to $200 per person per year. United received $625 million in re-signing fees in 2019, while Delta Earned $615 million. In 2019, industry-wide change fee revenue reached $2.8 billion.
But the new crown health crisis has brought the industry to the brink of financial collapse. Major airlines suffered historic losses in the last quarter. The three largest U.S. airlines — United, Delta and American — lost a total of $10 billion in the second quarter of 2020. JetBlue lost $320 million, Southwest lost $915 million and low-cost carriers Spirit and Alaska Airlines also lost $144 million and $214 million, respectively.
Small and medium-sized airlines are now under pressure to do the same.