Airline change fees set to return as more visitors arrive

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — Tourism is coming back, and so are the change fees on flights, most airlines allowed travelers to adjust or cancel their trips at no cost during the pandemic, but that is coming to a close for some airlines.

Travel uncertainty brought by COVID-19 forced many to change their trip plans.

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Ted Chung and Kim Ryann are visiting from Los Angeles after cancelling Christmas travels to the islands when they tested positive for the virus.

Chung said, “It was very easy for us to cancel the flight and then get a credit. So here we are three months later.”

Hawaiian Airlines is extending its waiver on changes through the end of April.

However airlines such as Delta and United removed change fees permanently.

While expiration dates for travel vouchers vary from airline to airline.

For Hawaiian Airlines, tickets purchased from March to December of last year have two years to redeem their voucher from the date of purchase.

Vouchers for airfare bought this year will hold its value for up to a year from the date the flight was booked.

Ryann said, “The fact that it’s expiring gives me. I don’t know, a lot could happen in two years. Will COVID-19 be done by then?”

Alaska Airlines is giving passengers a one year deadline from the date of purchase for tickets bought through the end of April.

For Delta, that deadline is December 2022.

While American Airlines has set March 31, 2022 for its cutoff to use travel credits related to the pandemic. American Airlines has also began charging a change fee for its basic economy.

Chung said, “I guess it will make us a little more cautious about planning our travels from, going forward.”

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