When airline exchange fees were first introduced, way back when, they were quite reasonable (usually $25 or $50). Today, however, exchange fees are much higher and really, there’s very little reason for the price hike. After all, online exchange of this flight for that flight should cost the airlines very little. Instead, the fees seem to be designed to penalize travelers who have to change their plans. Or worse, they seem to be designed to force stuck travelers into purchasing higher-priced tickets.
The best airline for reasonable change fees is Southwest airlines, but JetBlue and Frontier come very close:
- Frontier recently reduced their itinerary change fees from $100 to $50 for both same day flights and future flights.
- JetBlue charges a fee of $100 per flight change when the change is made prior to the scheduled departure day. Same day flight changes cost $40 per person and you must travel the same day as your original itinerary.
- Southwest is alone (and quite proud of it considering their latest advertising) in imposing no fees, which means when you cancel a non refundable ticket, you retain the full dollar value as credit toward a future Southwest flight.
Presumably, when you buy a cheap ticket, you fully plan to participate in that travel, but stuff happens. Of course, if you’re forced to cancel a trip, having travel insurance protection means a full refund your out-of-pocket cost for airline tickets.