United Allowing Free Changes to Flights Through UK Airports

May 26, 2017

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The horrific attack in Manchester on Monday has sparked United Kingdom security to be on high alert. In the wake of the attack, the UK government raised the threat level to critical — meaning that “an attack is expected imminently.” Because of this threat, London tourist attractions have shuttered and security across the UK’s cities and airports is especially vigilant.

If you’ve got a flight from, to or through the UK, you might be wondering what impact the increased security will have on your travels. Good news if you’re flying United Airlines: you can change your flight dates or avoid the UK altogether.

This week, United released a travel waiver for flights to/from/through five UK airports: Birmingham, England (BHX); Edinburgh, Scotland (EDI); Glasgow, Scotland (GLA); London Heathrow, England (LHR) and Manchester, England (MAN)​ for flights through June 2.

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If you work with United to rebook on alternative flights departing between May 24-June 30, 2017, the airline will waive any change fees normally charged and no fare difference will be collected. However, you do have to rebook in the same cabin (economy, Polaris business, Polaris first) and travel has to be between the same cities as originally ticketed.

If you delay your trip until after June 30, 2017 or want to change the departure/destination city, the change fee will be waived but you’ll have to pay any difference in fare. However, you still have to travel within one year of the issuance of the original ticket.

What does this mean for travelers? In short: free changes. Say you had to book Washington, D.C. (IAD) through London (LHR) to Frankfurt (FRA) as it was the cheapest option at the time. Now, you can use this travel waiver to get on the IAD-FRA nonstop instead.

You can even change your travel date to a more optimal date. There won’t be any charges to do so as long as you rebook in the same class of service and travel by June 30.

However, if you wanted to rebook your IAD-LHR-FRA to IAD-MAD (Madrid) instead, you’d have to pay the fare difference if that itinerary currently costs more. Change fees will be waived though.

We reached out to American Airlines and Delta to see if these airlines would also be releasing travel waivers for travel to/from/through the UK. At this time, American Airlines is depending on British Airways to make any decisions, due to their joint-venture partnership on flights across the Atlantic.

A Delta spokesperson responded to say that the airline “will work with customers who have concerns on a case-by-case basis. As always, we encourage customers to call us and discuss any concerns they might have about upcoming travel at 1-800-221-1212.”

Featured image courtesy of Mike Kemp/Contributor via Getty Images

Are you going to avoid or delay UK travel plans due to recent attacks?

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