andrew50
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United's Change Fee

Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:26 pm

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
 
AirCalSNA
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RE: United's Change Fee

Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:30 pm

Another reason to avoid the United States' worst airline.
 
Rdh3e
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RE: United's Change Fee

Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:36 pm

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.
 
AeroWesty
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RE: United's Change Fee

Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:44 pm

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.
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rwsea
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RE: United's Change Fee

Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:48 pm

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.
 
JHwk
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RE: United's Change Fee

Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:51 pm

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.
 
AeroWesty
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RE: United's Change Fee

Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:05 pm

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.
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Frontier14
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RE: United's Change Fee

Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:50 pm

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.
 
flyabr
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RE: United's Change Fee

Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:57 pm

$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?
 
michman
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RE: United's Change Fee

Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:23 pm

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]
 
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DocLightning
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RE: United's Change Fee

Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:38 pm

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.
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JHwk
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RE: United's Change Fee

Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:40 am

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...
 
AeroWesty
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RE: United's Change Fee

Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:12 am

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.
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EA CO AS
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RE: United's Change Fee

Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:03 am

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

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
PDX88
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RE: United's Change Fee

Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:49 am

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.
 
AeroWesty
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RE: United's Change Fee

Wed May 01, 2013 7:35 am

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.
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B747forever
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RE: United's Change Fee

Wed May 01, 2013 8:27 am

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.
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aklrno
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RE: United's Change Fee

Wed May 01, 2013 12:37 pm

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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