Oh, Really?

At first, I thought this was good news:

Given the uncertainties of COVID-19, major airlines stopped charging penalties to change your ticket through the end of 2020. Now, United Airlines says it’s locking in the policy — it’ll be free to change in 2021 as well…

That sounds great, until you finish the sentence:

…as long as you didn’t book the low-price basic economy seats fare.

Which accounts for the vast majority of airline tickets sold.  But wait!  There’s more:

Apparently this wallet-gouging feature will not apply to international travel — which is the type of ticket most likely to be affected by borders closed off by the Chinkvirus for the foreseeable future.

Here’s the best part:

Since 2010, Chicago-based United has scooped up nearly $6.5 billion in change fees. Last year, it took in $625 million, third behind Delta and American, according to Transportation Department figures.

I already have a built-in animus against United Airlines, for reasons too many and varied to tell;  so it will be a cold day in Hell when they drag me kicking and screaming onto one of their foul airliners.

Update:  And right on cue, from American Airlines in my inbox today:


  1. SWA has never charged a change fee. You just pay the price difference for the new fare. I guess the United policy works out similarly, because if you booked a Wanna-get-away (the economy deal) those close 2 weeks out from the flight time, so if you change in the last two weeks, you have to pay the difference get an Anytime (full fare) ticket. (If you are changing more than two weeks out, you just get another WGA ticket and there’s again no fee.)

    But if you have to change again, you’re still paying the same price and can pretty much just change. That’s why I love flying SWA for business. I can book the last flight out the day I leave, and if I finish early, I just go to the airport and get on an earlier flight, no fees.

  2. The airlines used to be an enjoyable mode of transportation. They have become nothing more than buses of the sky, cram as many people in as possible and cut services to the bone and screw the customer.

    If I can drive there, I drive. I avoid flying whenever possible. SouthWest has been the least objectionable airline I’ve found in the last few decades. Unfortunately, I still get cards at St Valentine’s Day from a TSA groper.


  3. No flying for me. I had miles on twa, nor west, United and Aa. They screwed me out of those so no more

    And I have a major issue with TSA so it is pretty well settled.

    Since I have no real desire to see Europe and I can pass on the 2nd trip to Hawaii, I am goog

  4. Totally predictable though. If people choose the product based on “advertised price” then the company that has the lowest “advertised price” is going to get the sale – regardless of what the ACTUAL price is.

    Car and motorcycle dealers have been doing this for years. They know that the most important thing they have to do is get your ass into the showroom. Once they get you in there and talking, they have a much better chance of getting the sale. So they lure you in with a low “advertised price” and it’s not until you get there that you see that there are multiple fees added (“dealer handling” “transportation” “assembly fees”) on to that price that pushes the total price higher than the competition.

    Airlines do this by “unbundling” the various aspects of the product. Back in the old days, it was understood that an airline ticket meant not just that the airline would haul your body from point A to point B, they would also (1) allow you to carry a reasonable amount of luggage (2) offer you some kind of drink or food and (3) allow you to carry an in-cabin bag.

    So now what they do is “unbundle” those. Ticket to Chicago? That’s $75. Want to check a bag? Another $40. Want to carry your own bag? $25. Want something to eat or drink? $15.

    Hell if it wasn’t an FAA safety mandate they’d probably charge you an extra $50 if you wanted a seatbelt.

  5. Everyday that I see an announcement of impending layoffs within our marvelous air transportation industry I break into Kim’s Happy Dance.
    I’ve been dancing so much I buy liniment by the pail.

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