When the current situation first arrived, airlines decided to try to stoke the bookings by offering things like “Book With Confidence”. An example of this is British Airways, where new bookings made between 3 March and 31 March allow free changes.
Finnair offered something similar, with the exact same title, as did Aer Lingus. Unfortunately those who had made bookings for travel around now prior to March were completely out of luck. Change fees applied and good luck getting any movement on that.
Free Changes Are Now Here!
Aer Lingus today announced they now allow free changes on all fares in all markets for all travel up to 31 May 2020. I imagine they’ve been copping hell on their telephone lines about this. It’s nice to see some sensible thinking enter the picture.
We're updating our systems to extend our flexible change policy to existing bookings. From 15:00 GMT today, online bookings made before 06 March for travel in March, April or May will not be subject to change fees. Fare difference may apply.
— Aer Lingus (@AerLingus) March 13, 2020
It’s the same with Finnair, who allow you to change existing reservations to as far out as 30 November 2020, as long as it’s booked before 30 April. British Airways passengers can cancel their flights and receive a voucher if your original trip was between 14 March and 31 May. Alternatively you can change for free. Quite good!
Will Other Airlines Follow Suit?
Let’s hope other airlines decide to do this as well, as the savings are real. For example, before British Airways decided to also offer free changes, they were asking for a €130 change fee on top of what I’ve already paid.
I’m quite happy to pay a fare difference, but that change fee is pretty on the nose. €130 for what? What did anyone do to deserve that money? Nothing, that’s what, so I’d much rather not pay it, thank you very much. Thank goodness I can avoid that now!
The entire situation is changing rapidly, so it’s good to see some evolution around the thinking on free changes. Some people have to hold off from travel, due to Government advice, and pushing things out until later in the year will make sense.
Those who have purchased deeply discounted fares should not be penalised for changing their flight tickets at this time. They are often the ones with the least money to spend, so slogging them for a change fee should be avoided.
What do you think? Should airlines be allowing these changes for free or should people pay and normal rules prevail? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.