Changing Flight Plans: What Each Airline Offers Passengers Who Have to Reschedule or Cancel Travel

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With holiday travel coming up and new travel warnings taking effect, Americans are once again rearranging their flight plans. Here’s the latest on airline change fees and cancellation policies.

This story was updated on November 17, 2020.

As increased travel warnings take effect, we've provided a breakdown on leading airlines' current change and cancellation policies. With holiday travel in full swing, COVID-19 rates rising across the U.S., and new travel restrictions coming into play, airlines’ change and cancellation policies are, once again, top of mind. Find out what you can do with your ticket (whether that’s requesting a refund or rescheduling without a change fee), if you need to rethink your travel in the coming months because of travel warnings or coronavirus spikes. Here, each airlines’ most recent policy on travel changes amid COVID-19.  

Related: What Does the Future of Luxury Travel Look Like in a Post-Coronavirus World?

Editor’s Note: The policies are changing as the situation develops, so we'll be updating this article to reflect each airline's latest policy.  

Delta Air Lines

Delta has eliminated change fees permanently for domestic travel. They are not charging change or cancellation fees for any travel through March 31, 2021 for customers who bought their tickets before April 17, 2020. If you opt to cancel your Delta tickets, Delta will issue an eCredit for the full value of your ticket. Delta recently put out step-by-step instructions on canceling or changing your flight, they are extending their status offerings through next year, and they now have an interactive map so you can see where they're flying.

United Airlines

United has now gotten rid of change fees for economy and premium tickets for those traveling in the U.S., to Mexico, or within the Caribbean. Any other travel booked through December 31, 2020 will have no change fees. Further, any travel booked prior to March 2, 2020 may be eligible for a refund, depending on the destination and CDC notices associated with the destination. 

American Airlines

American is getting rid of all change fees for flights on or after August 31, 2020. This zero-fee change policy applies to main cabin tickets (minus basic economy), first, business, and premium economy class tickets, and for any flights within North America, the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This fee waiver applies to existing tickets and new travel booked before December 31, 2020.  

Jetblue

Jetblue has waived change and cancellation fees for bookings made through February 28, 2021. This applies to both new and existing flights. All changes can be made, and all restrictions can be reviewed on Jetblue’s Travel Alerts hub. 

Air France KLM

Air France has waived cancellation fees for any travel planned through March 31, 2021—travelers can get a full refund or a voucher. You can also change your travel without paying a change fee, though of course, if the cost of the original ticket is different from the new fare, you’ll have to pay the difference.

Related: An Insider Shares His 5 Predictions for the Future of Air Travel

Emirates

Emirates will let passengers change their tickets to any time over the next 24 months without a change fee. Fliers can also request a refund, and while there are different eligibility requirements based on timing and destination, most bookings impacted by COVID-19 will receive a full voucher. These fee waivers currently apply to travel happening on or before March 31, 2021.

All Nippon Airways

All Nippon Airways now has a no change fee policy, which means changes can be made “an unlimited number of times” without a fee until March 31, 2021. Beyond this blanket policy, they have expanded the no change fees for certain destinations, depending on when you booked your flight; find all the details here.

Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus has waived all change fees through May 31, 2021, and all changes can be made at their Manage Trip portal. 

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic is now offering coronavirus coverage to new and existing bookings until March 31, 2021. Further, if you book before December 31, 2020, for travel anytime until August 31, 2021, those tickets will never see a change fee.