Follow the Leader: US Airways Matches $50 Fee Hike by United
When one airline raises a fee, other carriers tend to follow.
US Airways has matched United's change fee hike for non-refundable domestic tickets, increasing the cost of modifying your reservation to $200 — up $50 from $150, the company said Wednesday. While United also increased change fees for international flights to $300 from $250, US Airways at this point has only matched the domestic ticket hike.
Other airlines have yet to match the increase, but have hinted at the need to stay competitive.
"We've increased some of our change fees for customers who purchase non-refundable tickets yet need to adjust their travel plans," a US Airways spokesman told USA Today on Wednesday. "This increase only applies to new ticket purchases."
Meanwhile, American Airlines had a different take.
"While we can't comment on any fee changes, we can assure you that American will continue to remain competitive," said a representative from American's product pricing and performance department. "Additionally, American offers fare choices that include no change fees, as well as additional ways for our customers to customize their trip based on what they value most." (Read more: American Airlines Fare Revamp Includes Options to Waive Fees)
And on Monday, Delta Air Lines offered the following statement regarding raising its change fees.
"We cannot comment on competitor pricing matters nor would it be appropriate to speculate on future pricing," said Paul Skrbec, spokesman for Delta Air Lines. "Delta's change fees are not impacted."
But as most airlines tend to raise or lower airfares based on the action of competitors, change fees probably aren't much different.
"I won't be surprised if other airlines match United," said Henry Harteveldt, an airline industry analyst for Hudson Crossing on Monday. "If they don't, United has two choices: callback the change fee to $150, or stand alone."