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United's Change Fee  
User currently onlineandrew50 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 120 posts, RR: 1
Posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 3914 times:
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United secretly raised their change fee to $200 for domestic flights and $300 for international flights. What a ripoff! Let's see I buy a ticket for $400, then have to cancel a couple of days out, then United resells that seat for $1200 to someone who has to go on short notice. Now I have to rebook, on their website, I do all the work, pay the change fee, and the difference for the fare of the new ticket, which usually is higher. Boy what a scam that is!

http://www.cnbc.com/id/100660764

17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAirCalSNA From United States of America, joined Mar 2010, 326 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 3910 times:

Another reason to avoid the United States' worst airline.

User currently offlineRDH3E From United States of America, joined Mar 2011, 1570 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 3865 times:

Not sure why but the other thread was deleted, still cached on google though it appears:

United Increasing Change Fee To $200? — Civil Aviation Forum ...
www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/general.../read.../5741634/
24 posts - 18 authors - 5 days ago
There is a flyertalk thread mentioning UA change fee is now $200/$300. Sounds like UA is trying a silent change fee upgrade and hoping other ...

Probably best just to let this one die.


User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20322 posts, RR: 63
Reply 3, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 3814 times:

Quoting andrew50 (Thread starter):
Boy what a scam that is!

Flexibility costs. The change fee is basically liquidated damages for buying a cheap fare ahead, while still expecting the flexibility that a more expensive ticket affords. The airlines are beginning to charge more and more for that over the years.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlinerwsea From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 3076 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 3793 times:

Many European airlines don't allow changes at all on the cheapest tickets. If you don't take the flight you booked, you lose the whole thing. I expect to see the US carriers gradually shifting towards this model.

User currently offlineJHwk From United States of America, joined Jan 2013, 218 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 3781 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 3):
Flexibility costs. The change fee is basically liquidated damages for buying a cheap fare ahead, while still expecting the flexibility that a more expensive ticket affords.

Which is fair enough when you are charging a discount rate somewhere. It is a bit of a slap in the face though when you are buying a $400 round-trip ticket for a 300 mile journey. At that point, driving really becomes more attractive, in terms of cost, travel time, and flexibility.


User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20322 posts, RR: 63
Reply 6, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 3737 times:

Quoting JHwk (Reply 5):
It is a bit of a slap in the face though when you are buying a $400 round-trip ticket for a 300 mile journey.

That $400 is a pretty well discounted ticket. Full Y for SFO-LAX-SFO for tomorrow is in the $1,200 to $1,400 range. Discounted fares for tomorrow are in the $400-500 range. Book three weeks in advance, and the fare goes down to $136 round-trip.

United is charging you $200 for the option of buying a ticket with flexibility without having to pay the $1,200+ fare. You don't have to pay the $200 if you don't make a change.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineFrontier14 From United States of America, joined Dec 2010, 183 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 3615 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 3):
Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 3):
Flexibility costs.

UAL is likely losing dollars at the low end of their fare chain, and the increase reflects their attempt to bolster this revenue component.


User currently offlineflyabr From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 644 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 3595 times:

$200 change fee...what next...$100 to put a bag in the cargo hold!! Flying ain't what it used to be! Seriously, if you aren't an elite flyer, is there literally anything the majors (excepting LUV) don't charge a fee for?

User currently offlinemichman From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 486 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 3535 times:

Quoting rwsea (Reply 4):
Many European airlines don't allow changes at all on the cheapest tickets. If you don't take the flight you booked, you lose the whole thing. I expect to see the US carriers gradually shifting towards this model.

Delta has a no-frills 'E' fare that works the same way. No changes, no refunds, and no advance seat assignments. Right now, they are only selling it on non-stop's from DTW to select Florida markets (currently TPA, RSW, and FLL, I believe they were also available to MCO in the past). There's a 3 week advance purchase and Sat night stay requirement on these fares. It's been around for awhile, and it's not clear if they will be expanding to other markets.

[Edited 2013-04-23 16:24:48]

User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 19278 posts, RR: 58
Reply 10, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 3479 times:

Why on God's Green Earth would you fly UA from SFO to LAX unless you're UA elite or something?

WN offers better pricing (and can fly you out of OAK, which is much less prone to weather delays) and VX offers a better overall product.


User currently offlineJHwk From United States of America, joined Jan 2013, 218 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 3314 times:

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 10):
Why on God's Green Earth would you fly UA from SFO to LAX unless you're UA elite or something?

Personally, all my tickets are less than 7 day advance, and WN and UA are the same rates or WN is more expensive. LAX to downtown SF is fastest via SFO/BART and Terminal 3.

Being elite and getting the free upgrades does make it more bearable of course...


User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20322 posts, RR: 63
Reply 12, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3180 times:

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 10):

Why on God's Green Earth would you fly UA from SFO to LAX unless you're UA elite or something?

Economy Plus seating, Mileage Plus miles, close-in gates at SFO, the last terminal in the horseshoe at LAX, and a 35-year-old habit top my list.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineEA CO AS From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 13478 posts, RR: 62
Reply 13, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 3096 times:
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There's also one very important reason for change fees.

To KEEP CUSTOMERS FROM MAKING CHANGES.

Yes, it actually does cost the airline money to make the change to your ticket - even if you do it yourself on their website - but one of the reasons airlines offer discounted tickets is because they carry penalties to offset the cost of changes while also being a disincentive to the customer so they'll think twice about making change after change, potentially resulting in spoiled inventory.

Keep in mind, when changing that $400 ticket you bought 3 weeks ahead to another flight another month out, that seat you had held for tomorrow's flight now has far less chance of being snapped up at the full walkup fare.



"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan
User currently offlinePDX88 From United States of America, joined Mar 2012, 165 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3028 times:

Quoting flyabr (Reply 8):
is there literally anything the majors (excepting LUV) don't charge a fee for?

I get annoyed hearing people (especially on here) grovel about fees. Any fee a legacy charges you is purely optional. They don't force you to check a bag, or pay for a daily membership to their club, or purchase a seat with more legroom, or eat their food, etc.

And WN isn't fee free either. They charge for their own gimmicks.


User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20322 posts, RR: 63
Reply 15, posted (1 year 2 months 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 2876 times:

And today, Delta matches, $200 domestic/$250 international:

http://www.delta.com/content/www/en_...hanges-refunds/ticket-changes.html

Quote:
Based on the fare rules, you may have to pay a service fee and/or a difference in fare. For travel within the 50 United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the fee is $200 for Delta-marketed flights.

For travel outside the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the change fee for Delta-marketed flights is typically $250, but can vary based on location and type of fare. Changes are usually permitted only to the return portion of an international itinerary.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently onlineB747forever From Sweden, joined May 2007, 17048 posts, RR: 10
Reply 16, posted (1 year 2 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 2870 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 15):
And today, Delta matches, $200 domestic/$250 international

That is exactly what United wanted. Who is next, AA?


It is amazing that WN doesn't charge a single penny to change a ticket while the legacies now will charge you $200.



Work Hard, Fly Right
User currently offlineaklrno From United States of America, joined Dec 2010, 914 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (1 year 2 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 2853 times:

Quoting B747forever (Reply 16):
It is amazing that WN doesn't charge a single penny to change a ticket while the legacies now will charge you $200.

And WN consistently makes money.

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 13):
Keep in mind, when changing that $400 ticket you bought 3 weeks ahead to another flight another month out, that seat you had held for tomorrow's flight now has far less chance of being snapped up at the full walkup fare.

Actually, that's not quite right. Usually the really expensive fares don't kick in until a couple of weeks before the flight. If I change a cheap ticket two weeks ahead of the flight on WN, they now have a chance to sell that same seat for a higher price. I move to a cheap ticket later so I'm ahead, the airline is ahead (WN flights in my neighborhood are usually very full), we are all happy.

The silliest case for charging a change fee is when I want to switch to an earlier flight. In that case the airline clearly has a better chance of selling my old seat. If I get to the airport a couple of hours early, the airline should put me on the next flight out if there is a seat. To let the seat go empty when they had a chance (however slight) to sell a later seat is just stupid. Even if they can't sell it they might be able to accommodate a passenger with a late connection and avoid a lot of hassle for everyone.

Before change fees became their only chance to make a profit, they put me on an earlier flight most times I asked.


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