Major U.S. airlines are eliminating flight-change fees to attract passengers to fly with them.
"COVID has taught us that flexibility in travel is key," said Andrew Harrison, chief commercial officer for Alaska Airlines. "As we evolve our approach to travel to include more than 100 safety actions, it's important to give our guests flexibility when they book by eliminating change fees."
Needless to say, the airlines industry is one of the hardest hit industries by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the airline industry is expected to lose $84.3 billion in 2020.
"Following previous tough times, airlines made difficult decisions to survive, sometimes at the expense of customer service," said Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines, in a video message. "United Airlines won't be following that same playbook as we come out of this crisis. Instead, we're taking a completely different approach and looking at new ways to serve you(customers) better instead of defaulting to cuts."
United Airlines' move prompted other airlines to follow suit.
“We’ve said before that we need to approach flexibility differently than this industry has in the past, and today’s announcement builds on that promise to ensure we’re offering industry-leading flexibility, space and care to our customers,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said. “We want our customers to book and travel with peace of mind, knowing that we’ll continue evaluating our policies to maintain the high standard of flexibility they expect.”
It's worth noting that change fees was a good source of income for airlines industry, which brought in $2.8 billion last year.