Tuesday, April 22, 2008

New United Change Fees

Here's a good primer on the new international change fees by United Airlines and Lufthansa, thanks to this note today from Tom Parsons of BestFares.com:

(United yesterday raised its domestic change fees from $100 to $150, by the way.)


From Tom Parsons:

"United Airlines and Lufthansa Airlines raised their international change fees from $200 to $250 on European tickets. This new increase is effective immediately, but passengers who purchased tickets on United Airlines or Lufthansa Airlines prior to April 19, 2008 should be able to make changes to their airline ticket, if need be, at the old change fee of $200," states Tom Parsons, CEO of Bestfares.com.

United Airlines also raised its change fees from $100 to $150 per ticket to destinations within Mexico, Central America, Canada and Caribbean. Travel to deep South America such as Santiago, Chile, as well as Australia and Asia has also increased from $200 to $250 per ticket.

In just three short months, the major airlines have made so many changes that it's becoming very difficult for the traveling public to find consistency between one airline and the other.

The differential in change fees for USA travel to international destinations vary greatly by airlines depending on the number of international airlines servicing the same markets. Consumers who have intentions of flying on the exact dates they booked, but later needs to make a change, for one reason or the other, should be careful choosing which airlines they book their ticket on , especially with those who have super high change fees.

For example, American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines and United Airlines offer the same airfare from Dallas to Santiago, Chile. American Airlines and Continental Airlines charge a $150 change fee, Delta Airlines charges a $200 change fee and United Airlines now charges the highest change fee of $250. If you booked your ticket on United Airlines, it will cost you $100 more in change fees, versus if you had booked with American Airlines or Continental Airlines.

Listed below are destinations and various change fees by international airlines.

Europe Change Fees: United Airlines and Lufthansa Airlines charge $250 per change; British Airways, Air France, KLM Airlines, Continental Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, US Airways and Northwest Airlines charge $200 per change.

Asia Change Fees: United Airlines charges $250 per change; Japan Airlines, Continental Airlines and Northwest Airlines charge $200 per change; Korean Airlines is charging $150 per change; Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and American Airlines charge $100 per change; and Air Canada is only $50 per change.

South America Change Fees: United Airlines charges $250 per change; Delta Airlines charges $200 per change; American Airlines, US Airways and Continental Airlines are charging $150 per change.

Australia Change Fees: United Airlines charges $250 per change; Quantas Airways and Air Canada charge $200 per change; American Airlines charges $150 per change; and Air New Zealand charge $100 per change.

"Travelers who wish to stack the odds in their favor need to pay attention to many of the new rules and fees implemented by the major airlines in the past 3 months. Last summer the consumer had very simple, consistent rates and fees which varied very little between airlines. This year, if you pick an airline with the highest change fees, new baggage charges and fuel surcharges and it could end up costing you dearly," adds Parsons.""


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