JetBlue reinstates flexible travel waiver, leaving AA as lone holdout

Apr 2, 2021

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Good news for those booking JetBlue tickets.

On Friday April 2, the New York-based carrier extended its flexible travel waiver, giving flyers extra peace of mind when planning future travel. All JetBlue fares, including the carrier’s Blue Basic option, purchased through May 31, 2021, can be changed or canceled without fees.

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Note that you’ll still be on the hook for a possible fare difference if you’re switching to a more expensive flight. Also, you’ll receive future travel credit for cancellations; refunds are only processed when the airline makes an involuntary change or cancellation to your itinerary.

JetBlue’s move comes just days after it let its flexible waiver expire as originally planned on Wednesday, March 31. The airline then implemented its overhauled fare structure on Thursday, April 1, which includes a $100 (or more) change/cancel penalty for basic economy tickets and a no-change-fee policy for all fares.

But now, the carrier’s done an about-face and reinstated the global waiver. In a statement to TPG, JetBlue said:

In response to the pandemic, JetBlue was the first airline to offer a Go Back and Forth with Confidence policy waiving change and cancel fees. This policy was set to expire on April 1, in conjunction with the launch of our new fare options eliminating change and cancel fees for all fares expect Blue Basic.

We know our Blue Basic customers need continued flexibility during these uncertain times, and we are extending our Go Back and Forth with Confidence for any Blue Basic fare purchased on or before May 31, 2021. When this policy does expire, JetBlue will be the only airline offering a basic economy/ultra-low-cost fare that has change/cancel flexibility, with change/cancel fees of $100 or $200 depending on the route.

JetBlue’s updated waiver applies retroactively, so any tickets purchased on April 1 (with the new fare structure) will now enjoy free changes and cancellations.

Related: JetBlue eliminates change fees on most fares — with a major catch

Of the major U.S. airlines, Alaska, Delta and United have all extended their flexible travel waivers for all tickets purchased through April 30. Right now, JetBlue’s is the most generous since it covers all tickets bought through May 31.

And then there’s American Airlines — the strictest of them all. AA’s basic economy tickets returned to being non-refundable and non-changeable on April 1, and the carrier confirmed to TPG that there are currently no plans to reinstate the flexible waiver.

Related: American Airlines restricts basic economy flexibility in move to new normal

If you’re concerned about getting sick or needing to postpone your plans due to another wave of COVID-19 infections, then you might want to think twice about booking basic economy fares with American — any itinerary modifications will require a brand-new ticket.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

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