NEW YORK - Many major airlines are in the process of phasing out "Peace of Mind" waivers which were instituted at the start of the pandemic and allowed flyers to change or cancel a flight without any fees.
According to Zach Griff, a senior reporter and travel analyst with The Points Guy, before the pandemic, it used to be around $200 dollars to change a flight but airlines suspended the fees and in August United became the first major airline to permanently eliminate change fees. American and Delta soon followed.
The move essentially replaced the Peace of Mind waiver which most major airlines are trying to phase out by the end of May.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL WAIVERS SET TO EXPIRE:
• American 3/31
• Frontier 3/31
• Spirit 4/5
• United 4/30
• Delta 4/30
• Alaska 4/30
• Hawaiian 4/30
• Jet Blue 5/31
LOW BUDGET AIRLINE INFORMATION:
• Allegiant Air – Open-ended waiver
• Sun Country – Pre-pandemic fees since Summer 2020
• Southwest – Does not charge fees
There are exceptions including basic economy tickets which will revert to non-refundable and non-changeable
Griff adds there's another positive by-product of the pandemic--the prices of refundable tickets are much, much more reasonable.
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"Before the pandemic, these fairs used to be astronomical," says Griff. "So New York to London was maybe a $1000 round trip and regular coach, but around $10,000 round trip refundable coach. So what they've done and they've really, really, really reigned in on some of those super extreme high fares."
According to Griff, a flight from New York to LA with a major airline could cost as little as $50 to upgrade to a fully refundable fare.
"I'm looking at tickets for myself just to go from New York to LA and with United, it was only $50 more to purchase a fully refundable ticket. And in my mind that was like, 'Oh for $50, I'm basically buying myself COVID insurance because if I got sick? Or what if I have to change my flight?'"
And that money would go right back on his card.