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 of ticket or service class.
“We’re making the bet, and I think it’s the right one, that doing the right thing for customers in the long term is going to pay off,” he told NBC’s Today Monday.
United also extended an existing waiver for all change fees, including international travel, through the end of 2020.
Globally, airlines have reported significant revenue losses so far this year and passenger demand has fallen by 54%, according to figures from the International Air Transport Association.