How to avoid airline change fees

1AAPlaneWingWatching airfares but unable to commit to a trip because of $200 change fees? Here’s how to beat them.

1. Book Southwest. Besides giving you two free bags and good humored staff, Southwest lets you change your tickets for free. As much as you want. NBD. Southwest did start charging a fee to customers who fail to tell them that they’re not going to be on the flight–but, hey, that’s just common courtesy, anyway.

2. Book American. American is a legacy carrier so it can’t go as far as Southwest, but its new Choice Essential lets you pay an extra $68 for a ticket that you can change without penalty. It’s a helluva lot better than paying 200 bucks!

3. Book Frontier. Their Classic Plus is actually refundableIt costs $45 to $115 more than an economy ticket. Frontier’s Classic costs $22 to $40 more than an economy ticket and comes with a reduced change fee.   Note: Frontier Airlines has just been sold to a private equity firm that specializes in running ultra low cost carriers.

4. Book Sun Country. For an extra $30, Twin Cities-based Sun Country sells you a ticket that you can change for free.

Note: you can change your ticket for free on all of these, but you’re not protected from higher fares.

Want more detail? Click here for the story that I wrote for my day job!

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