Most US airlines have raised ticket change fees which make non-refundable tickets worthless. I had a USAir discounted non-refundable ticket for $198 but had to cancel the flight for personal reasons. After being routed to two India call centers, I was told that a credit will be issued under my name and I had one year to use it. The credit is not transferable and it will be worthless after one year from the date of issuance. Finally, the USAir call center rep told me that there will be a $150 change fee if I want to re-use my $198 credit for another flight.
After hearing the call center reading all the rules from his screen aloud to me for close to 2 minutes, I asked myself the following question: “What is the point of issuing me a $198 credit, then take $150 away on my next booking. Why doesn’t USAir just tell me that I have $48 of credit to use for another USAir flight?”
At first I thought the $150 change fee was steep, then I learned UAL has recently up their fees as well. Ghetto Delta has always charged $150 for their itinerary change fee but now they are charging $250 for international change fees (check their ticketing FAQ).
Here’s what I have learned from this experience:
1. If you see a cheap airfare and clicked on the “SUBMIT” button on a website, you better travel on those dates and times or your ticket will be worthless.
2. Buy a refundable ticket or wait until a week before you are planning to take off if your plans are still influx
Airlines are obviously using change fees as an alternative way to get more revenue and stick it to its customers.