As a result of the drop in demand for Hawaii flights we noted recently, more airlines are moving to once again offer free changes for all flights, even when using the cheapest basic economy tickets. That’s great news for Hawaii visitors. As you know, earlier this year, airlines across the board (except Southwest), modified their rules to no longer allow free changes on those least expensive tickets. Until now.
The latest announcement comes from bellwether Hawaiian Airlines.
Hawaiian Air is now offering a “rolling waiver” of change fees. It works like this. First, everything except basic economy (Main Cabin Basic) has been and remains changeable at no cost (other than for any fare difference).
Here’s what’s new. For basic economy tickets purchased between May 1 and Aug. 16, 2021, for travel on or before Oct. 31, 2021, changes can be made without a fee (other than any fare difference). Basic economy tickets purchased between Aug. 17 and Oct. 31, 2021 for travel on or after Aug. 17, 2021, can also be changed without a fee on the same basis. We’ll keep an eye on that rolling waiver for a possible extension on tickets purchased after October 31. Bottom line is that, for now, all Hawaiian Air tickets purchased from August 17 through October 31 are changeable with no change fee.
Last month Hawaii veteran United Airlines announced free changes on all tickets.
For tickets purchased through December 31, 2021, and for travel through the same date, the airline will allow free changes. Those tickets can then be changed for travel anytime in 2022. Any fare difference still applies, however. Today’s change returns all of the flexibility guests enjoyed in the past 18 months.
Passengers who have already purchased basic economy tickets since the last change-fee waiver expired can also make free changes. UAL said it will “allow customers to make changes to all basic economy tickets between now and the end of the year.”
Delta Airlines began the trend to allow changes on all tickets.
Also through December 31, 2021, Delta Airlines will allow passengers with basic economy tickets to make free changes to flights. Previously Delta permitted no changes to tickets after the 24-hour grace period from the time of purchase.
The temporary change allows customers to change the time, date, and location of their trip. In other words, trips can be canceled. Passengers only pay for cost differences that may exist, or if changes result in less expense, a credit towards future travel will be offered. Travel must be completed by December 31, 2022.
Two Hawaii airlines remain holdouts to free changes on all tickets.
We have not had word from Alaska Airlines or American Airlines. On checking today, their websites continue to indicate “no-change” policies on basic economy tickets. If anything changes, we’ll be sure to let you know.
Southwest Airlines free changes at all times.
Part of the Southwest Hawaii offer, and everywhere they fly, is free changes on all tickets. That continues to be the case.