Posts: 3465
Joined: Sun Dec 10, 2000 4:08 am

Getting Rid Of Change Fees: Effects?

Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:17 pm

I understand the history of why change fees are in place. (Combination of 1) ensuring that people actually show up for the flight and 2) paying for the administrative fee to rewrite a ticket)

Southwest, as well as other low cost carriers, don't charge a change fee, and non-refundable tickets retain their full value toward future travel.

The administrative fee is almost non-existent now, as most transactions are electronic.

So what would happen if the legacies dropped all change fees? Do airlines count on those fees for the bottom line in a significant way? Would the price of the ticket, by definition, have to increase (no more "super saver" fares?) Would the "no show" rate increase to the rate that airlines will have no way to track yields?
18 year airliners.net vet! 2000-2017
Posts: 150
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2003 6:49 am

RE: Getting Rid Of Change Fees: Effects?

Sat Dec 15, 2007 2:12 am

It would probably kill yields.

I had a passenger who was either pretty dumb about how to work the system or just being blatant. He came right out and told me that he purchased his flight for tomorrow but HAD to go today.

When in the course of exchanging his ticket we asked why if he had such an urgent pressing need to be there today why he purchased the ticket for tomorrow? He stated "Well the ticket for tomorrow was $245.00 less tha the one today"

He truly didn't believe that he should pay a nickle more when he KNEW when shopping for his ticket that there was a significant difference in price on a high demand travel date. He wanted the lower fare on a day when only higher fares were available and couldn't come up with any way to sweet talk us into waiving a thing.

Just right outta the shoot with the hostility and ranting about how unfair the fare rules were. We even asked if there was any emergency reason for the change. Just got back a line that if there was even one seat empty on the flight there should be no fare difference or change fee what so ever...
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Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 3:39 pm

RE: Getting Rid Of Change Fees: Effects?

Sat Dec 15, 2007 9:49 am

Quoting Zrs70 (Thread starter):
The administrative fee is almost non-existent now, as most transactions are electronic.

If you've ever reissued a ticket, especially a partially flown one with a higher fare required for one of the unused segments, then you'll know why a fee is charged: while the transactions may all be electronic these days, that doesn't say squat about what type of work is involved - and reissues can be time-consuming and quite complicated.

I'm not sure if the benefits for the traveller outweigh the administrative nightmare that this would, most likely, create. It's one thing if you're talking about a domestic-only, non-interlining, non-connecting-flight (not sure if this the case with WN) and high-frequency airline - but I'd say there's simply too much involved in the legacy's world to drop the fees.

Aside from that, you'd be killing one of the last remaining true reasons for high-yield tickets to be purchased - the airlines would be shooting themselves in the foot, and seriously injuring their own hands if they were to do so...
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