The US airlines waiving change fees – across all flights – amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak

Several major U.S. airlines are extending change-fee waivers to passengers thinking about booking travel, should any of their plans change amid the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

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Many of these airlines had previously extended travel waivers to countries and regions experiencing the worst outbreaks (many of which are still in place). These new policies, however, now extend to all tickets purchased, albeit between specific dates.

JetBlue

At the end of February, JetBlue became the first U.S. carrier to offer change- and cancellation-fee waivers for passengers who purchased tickets between Feb. 27 and March 11 – across all flights – for any travel completed by June 1.

The airline later extended this courtesy to any flight bookings made between March 6 and March 31 (for travel scheduled to complete by Sept. 8), allowing passengers to change or cancel flights without incurring additional fees.

“While there are no current travel restrictions to the locations we fly, customers can book with confidence on jetblue.com and jetbluevacations.com and know that changes or cancellations will be allowed without penalty should the situation change,” JetBlue announced.

More information can be found within JetBlue’s Travel Alerts.

A growing number of carriers are issuing change-fee waivers for all flights — not just those to affected areas.

A growing number of carriers are issuing change-fee waivers for all flights — not just those to affected areas. (iStock)

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Other major carriers soon followed suit, offering passengers more flexibility to change plans, if not cancel them entirely.

Alaska Airlines

Passengers who purchase travel between Feb. 27 and March 31, with plans to travel by Feb. 28, 2021, are eligible to cancel their trips altogether, and put the value of the fare toward future travel. Passengers who purchase nonrefundable tickets during the same time period are eligible for a change-fee waiver, for use on new fares booked before Feb. 28, 2021.

“It can be tough to keep track of what’s going on — and maybe even tougher to decide whether to make or keep your travel plans,” Alaska Airlines writes.

Additional information can be found on Alaska Airlines’ Travel Advisories.

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American Airlines

Per its latest policies, American Airlines will be waiving change fees for tickets purchased between March 1 and March 31. Eligible ticketholders must have travel scheduled before Jan. 30, 2021. Rebooked travel plans must be completed within one year of the ticket’s original issue date.

In addition, American is extending its change-fee waivers to passengers who purchased tickets prior to March 1, for travel scheduled through April 30. New tickets must be reissued before Dec. 31 or 12 months from the date the original ticket was issued (whichever is earlier).

Additional information can be found within American Airlines’s Travel Alerts.

Delta Air Lines

Delta is waiving change fees for all international and domestic travel booked between March 1 and March 31, for travel dates between March 1, 2020, and Feb. 25, 2021. Ticketholders will not incur a change fee if deciding to switch to an "alternate itinerary," Delta says, although rebooked travel must begin no later than Feb. 28, 2021. In addition, all passengers who had previously booked international flights scheduled to leave during March will be eligible to change without incurring a fee.

"As concerns continue about COVID-19, we are doing everything we can to ensure the safety and welfare of customers," the airline wrote in an update issued March 4.

Further information can be found at Delta's Coronavirus Travel Updates.

Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines is waiving both change and cancellation fees for travel scheduled to take place between March 10 and March 31. Rebooked travel must be completed by Nov. 9; travelers who cancel will be issued “a credit valid for 90 days,” according to Frontier’s policy.

More information can be found on Frontier’s Alerts page.

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Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines is extending change-fee waivers for passengers who purchase tickets between March 1 and March 31, across any flight. Ticketholders are required to request changes at least 24 hours before scheduled departure.

Additional information can be found at Hawaiian Airlines' "Book Confidently" page.

Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines is offering a "Flexible Travel Policy" to guests needing to change their travel plans, allowing ticketholders the opportunity for "one-time free modifications" by contacting the company via phone, text or Whatsapp. (Fare differences will apply.) Those wishing to cancel their travel plans can obtain a credit for the full value of their fare, though credits must be used toward future travel within six months (even for travel scheduled after that six-month time frame).

Details and contact information for Spirit Airlines can be found on the airline's website.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines is one of the few carriers that doesn’t charge cancellation fees or change fees for rescheduled travel.

“As always, our Customers can change their travel itineraries without a change fee and our non-refundable fares can be applied toward future travel without penalty as long as your reservation is canceled 10 minutes prior to the scheduled departure of your flight,” reads a message posted to Southwest’s Travel Advisories page.

United Airlines

Anyone who purchases travel – domestically or internationally – between March 3 and March 31 is eligible to reschedule their trips without incurring a change fee “to a flight of equal or lesser value” scheduled for one year from the original ticket issue date. Passengers wishing to cancel travel will also not incur a fee and will be eligible to apply the original value to travel scheduled within a year of the original issue date.

In addition, United Airlines will also be waiving change fees on tickets purchased prior to March 2 (again, domestic or international) as long as travel had been booked for between March 10 and April 30. Rescheduled travel must take place within a year of the ticket's original issue date.

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"Given the high level of uncertainty regarding travel because of COVID-19, we are working hard to give customers more flexibility," United said in a statement.

More information can be found within United’s Travel Notices.