The impact of the coronavirus spread is affecting the global economy. Now, American Airlines is copying Delta and United’s strategy on eliminating change fees.

This desperate measure arrives in order to boost travel demand. Due to the extension of COVID-19 and the travel restrictions, the number of flights have decreased substantially.

“In a world that’s constantly changing, American is resolute to our purpose of caring for customers at all points of their travel journey. American is offering more flexibility and ease than ever before should travel plans change. By eliminating change fees, giving customers an opportunity to get where they want to go faster with free same-day standby on earlier flights, and providing access to upgrades and seats for all fare types, we’re giving customers the freedom to make their own choices when traveling with American.

American’s Chief Revenue Officer Vasu Raja

This move will affect all the kinds of tickets from the First Class, Business Class, Premium Economy to Main Cabin tickets for all domestic and short-haul international flights. Destinations include flights to the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Moreover, these new conditions will be extended to tickets for any new travel purchased by Dec. 31, 2020.

American Airlines change fees

Great News for American Airlines Clients

After following a similar strategy to its competitors, American will allow customers to keep the full value of their original tickets. Even if they change their travel plans prior to the scheduled travel. Obviously, if customers are looking forward to changing the flight, they will have to pay the difference.

The new policies don’t end here – starting Oct. 1, customers will also be offered same-day standby for all domestic and international travel. It will affect flights with the same departure and destination information at no charge. On top of that, Basic Economy fares will now be able to purchase flight upgrades including priority boarding and Preferred/Main Cabin Extra seats. On the other hand, AAdvantage members with Elite status will continue to receive those same benefits with their membership.

Desperate Times Require Desperate Measures

We’ve said before that we need to approach flexibility differently than this industry has in the past. Today’s announcement builds on that promise to ensure we’re offering industry-leading flexibility, space, and care to our customers. We want our customers to book and travel with peace of mind, knowing that we’ll continue evaluating our policies to maintain the high standard of flexibility they expect.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian

Delta is also applying these measures. In addition, Delta will extend the waiver on change fees for new flights, including international flights and Basic Economy fares. Despite being a difficult moment for airlines, Delta will also extend its expiration on travel credits through December 2022. This rule will affect tickets booked before April 17, 2020.

American Airlines, United, and Delta opted for removing change fees. Worldwide airlines are struggling with the coronavirus situation, which is impacting fiercely into the companies earnings. The change fee waiver is the latest attempt by airlines to boost demand. There is no doubt that the industry is suffering significant financial losses but they have to revert the situation.