United Airlines has extended its change fee waiver another month, with free changes and cancellations now permitted through May 31, 2020.
Yesterday evening, each MileagePlus member received an email from Toby Enqvist, United’s Chief Customer Officer. The letter was full of platitudes about United keeping employees and passengers safe, giving back to the community, and focusing on safety.
Two things, however, caught my attention. First, United will begin to provide masks for passengers starting next month. These won’t be mandatory (yet).
Second, United is extending its change fee waiver another month. That means any reservation booked before May 31, 2020 can be cancelled or rebooked (up to 12 months later) at no charge. If you voluntarily cancel, you do not receive your money back, but can choose to receive travel credit for the full value of the trip that can be applied to anyone.
Here’s the full letter from Enqvist:
As we all adjust to this new normal, my thoughts are with you and your families and I hope you’re staying safe and healthy. The last several weeks have been emotional and trying for all of us, but I continue to be inspired by the goodness in people and the genuine acts of kindness, large and small, that I see every day. These gestures of warmth, strength and caring give me the confidence that in time, we will emerge more United Together than ever before.
It’s in that spirit that I wanted to share with you some good news about what the 100,000 family members of United Airlines have been doing for you as we tackle the biggest and most disruptive crisis we’ve faced in our 94‑year history.
Good news as you’re making travel plans
Life is unpredictable in lots of ways right now. We know many of you started the year planning to fly with us to visit family, go to a game or concert, attend a trade show or just get away. And you might be feeling anxious about what to do about your upcoming travel plans. That’s why we’ve waived the fees to change or cancel any trip with us through the end of 2020, including travel that was already planned as well as trips that you’re hoping to take in the future. Every customer now has until May 31 to make changes to current reservations or book new flights that can be changed or canceled without a fee, and you’ll be able to reschedule your trip for anytime in the next 12 months. So take the next few weeks and do what’s best for you, your family and your work.
Good news for when you choose to fly
Safety has always been our top priority, and because of that, the social distancing and cleaning procedures that have become a way of life for all of us are now staples of the way we run our airline. When you’re ready to fly, you’ll see that a lot has changed at the airport and on board our aircraft. We’re boarding fewer customers at a time and starting from the back of the plane to avoid crowding in the gate area, on the jet bridge and in the aisle. We’re automatically blocking middle seats to give you enough space on board, requiring all our employees on board, including our flight attendants, to wear masks and, in early May, making masks available to our customers. Of course, these measures are in addition to our state‑of‑the‑art sanitization procedures like cleaning our aircraft with electrostatic sprayers, and extra precautions like taking our employees’ temperatures before they start work to protect the well‑being of our customers and colleagues. Find a complete overview of what’s changed at United to adapt to this new normal.
Good news for our communities
While we wait to welcome you back, we’ve been using our time and resources to do our part and support those on the frontlines of this crisis as well as the millions of families who have been affected by the most dramatic disruption of the labor market since the Great Depression. Leveraging the full power of our airline to do the right thing, we’ve flown more than 1,000 medical volunteers for free; donated 170,000 pounds of food; and used our fleet to get close to 20,000 stranded people home and medical supplies to the places that need them most. Here are just a few examples of how we’re contributing in the fight against COVID‑19:
I’ll end where I started: I hope you and your family continue to be well. This crisis has revealed a great deal about who we are as people and I’m moved by your continued resilience and resolve. We look forward to welcoming you the next time you take to the friendly skies.
Stay safe and be well,
Chief Customer Officer
You have at least one more month to book flexible travel on United or change existing reservations. Noting that it is April 30th, we probably won’t find out for another month if United will extend this waiver further into June.