United Airlines Extends Travel Waiver, Makes It Easy to Change & Cancel Flights

The airline will continue to offer flexible bookings this spring.

Editor’s Note: We know COVID-19 is continuing to impact your travel plans. As of February 2021, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommends against traveling if you don’t absolutely have to. Should you need to travel, be sure to familiarize yourself with the CDC’s latest guidance as well as local requirements/protocols/restrictions for both your destination and home city upon your return. Be safe out there.

No amount of preparation can prevent the inevitable instance that, at some point in your life, something will throw a wrench in your travel plans. When last-minute issues arise and you need to alter or cancel a flight, it's a slap in the face for the airline to hit you with an exorbitant change fee.

In an effort to stay competitive with other airlines and offer travelers more flexibility with their travel plans, United announced that it would extend its travel waiver, which allows customers to change or cancel flights without being penalized.

Here are the two main travel waivers currently in effect, and when they're set to expire:

  • United customers with Basic Economy tickets have until Friday, April 30, to make changes to their flight reservations without being charged fees.
  • United customers whose flights originate outside the US have until Monday, May 31, to make changes to their flight reservations without being charged fees.

If you have a flight reservation that doesn't meet one of the above criteria, don't worry—you're actually in luck. Change fees have been permanently nixed for all Economy and premium cabin tickets for travel within North America. International travel that originates in the US will also be exempt from change fees indefinitely.

United isn't the only airline that's been forced to stay flexible as the pandemic rages on. This week, Delta also announced similar waivers for travelers.

Maybe if we ask nicely enough, airlines will just take the leap and permanently cancel change fees altogether. They're so close, yet, for Basic Economy flyers like me, so far.

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Kyler Alvord is a news writer at Thrillist. Find him on Twitter and Instagram. Or don't. It's really up to you.