United Airlines announced Sunday that it would drop fees for changing tickets after purchase, a move expected to be popular with consumers and put pressure on competitors.
In a video post, the company's CEO said that the elimination of the company's costly $200 fee for changing a ticket to a different flight was a "top request" heard from customers. The policy only applies to flights within the U.S.
The move comes as airlines have struggled in recent months to attract customers back to air travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has heavily reduced rates of commercial air travel around the world.
“When we hear from customers about where we can improve, getting rid of fees is often the top request,” said CEO Scott Kirby in the video.
"We’re getting rid of change fees for good on all standard economy and premium tickets for travel within the U.S. and making same-day standby free for everyone," the company added in a separate Twitter video advertising the change.
Best news of 2020.— United Airlines (@united) August 30, 2020
We’re getting rid of change fees for good on all standard Economy and Premium tickets for travel within the U.S. and making same-day standby free for everyone.
Learn more: https://t.co/35JEfYZ5ig pic.twitter.com/tBFhIsROiu
The company previously warned in July that tens of thousands of employees at the airline could face furloughs later this year due to decreased business as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The reality is that United simply cannot continue at our current payroll level past October 1 in an environment where travel demand is so depressed,” read an internal memo obtained by The Hill. “And involuntary furloughs come as a last resort, after months of company-wide cost-cutting and capital-raising.”