Airlines quietly up their change fees, sometimes higher than the ticket cost


A few weeks ago, I was traveling to Florida, and while I was there, I need to extend my stay. I called JetBlue, the carrier I had used to get there, and asked to shift my return flight by three days. I was told, to my disgust, that I'd have to pay $100 for that, plus the difference in the fare of the new flight if that turned out to be higher.

One-way flights on JetBlue often cost less than $100 anyway. Now the airline wants me to double my expenses just to switch to a seat on another day? One that's empty anyway? JetBlue once charged $25 for such changes, which was tolerable but still seemed silly, because switching my reservation requires no manpower beyond a few keystrokes. Then it upped the rate to $40. Now, it's $100. I just bought another ticket instead, for $89.

Tripso, a travel blog, has also noticed the airlines being sneaky about upping their change fees to obnoxious levels. It points out that Delta once touted its low change fees as a reason to choose the airline. But there was no fanfare when Delta recently hiked its fee to $150 for domestic flights, bringing it in line with the rest of the industry. United did it on the sly last spring.