United CEO says air travel demand will roar back once there’s a vaccine

United Airlines president Scott Kirby speaking in Chicago, Illinois, June 5, 2019.

Kamil Krzaczynski | Reuters

Watch United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby walk through the company’s O’Hare airport hub and two things jump out.

First, there are so few customers in the terminal that Kirby calls it “surreal” to see one of the world’s busiest airports so quiet.

Second, there is a steady stream of United employees asking Kirby about the state of the business. 

“How are we looking?” one United ramp worker asked him.

“We’ve got a tough year ahead until there’s a vaccine,” Kirby answered. “The good news is, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

This is the world of Kirby a little over 100 days into his tenure as CEO. Despite aggressive cost cuts, United is still burning through an estimated $40 million every single day. The airline has parked about 40%

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United Airlines eliminates $200 fee to change travel in U.S.

Aug. 31 (UPI) — United Airlines will no longer charge passengers to change itineraries for travel inside the United States, the carrier has announced.

United had charged $200 for passengers to make changes to their travel, but said Sunday the fee has been removed permanently.

The change follows months of severe hardship for U.S. airlines brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Following previous tough times, airlines made difficult decisions to survive, sometimes at the expense of customer service,” CEO Steve Kirby said in a video message Sunday.

“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 our customers better.”

The airline also said it will allow all travelers to fly standby for free, beginning in January, on flights departing the same day of their travel regardless of the type

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Delta, American follow United, drop ticket change fee for domestic travel

Delta Air Lines and American Airlines will both eliminate change fees for domestic travel, they announced Monday, as the transportation industry fights to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.

Delta said the elimination of change fees is effective immediately and includes all tickets for travel within the U.S., including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, with the exception of Basic Economy tickets.

American said its elimination is also effective immediately, excludes Basic Economy tickets and includes all travel within the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. 

The announcements follow a similar move from United Airlines on Sunday. United CEO Scott Kirby said in a video that getting rid of the $200 change tee was a “top request” from customers.

“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

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