Published on Thursday, April 25, 2013

Second US carrier raises ticket change fee

There were picketers at the US Airways check-in counter at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport and at its corporate headquarters in Tempe, Arizona, yesterday.

They were not demonstrating against the new $50 increase in fees for changing tickets—though that would have been nice for the traveling public.

It was US Airways mechanics on an "informational picket" protesting the fact that while pilots and flight attendants got new contracts, the mechanics did not. The protest did not stop flights from taking off or landing.

Some customers, too, might be ready to demonstrate. Just days after United Airlines raised its ticket change fee to $200 from $150, US Airways did the same.

That's not a good sign, as the airlines often raise fees or prices, then watch to see what their competitors do. If everyone else joins in, the higher prices sticks; if not, the airline rescinds it.

And since US Airways is merging with American Airlines, the new fee could be more easily passed on to AA's  customers as well.

That's one reason to fly Southwest, the only carrier with no change fee. JetBlue, which charges only $100 to change a ticket, is offering a special free change policy for the first change on its Getaways vacation packages.

JetBlue and Southwest both told TravelMole they have no plans to change their fees.

By Cheryl Rosen

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