Sure, Letting You On An Earlier Flight Makes Everyone’s Life Easier: Give Us $75 Anyway

Bill wrote to us from the airport. He was frustrated. He was there, suitcase packed and ready to flee Philly earlier than scheduled. The airline had plenty of flights and plenty of seats, but they wouldn’t give him one of them without charging a $75 change fee. Why? Because they said so.

He wrote:

As I sit here in Philadelphia International Airport awaiting my flight to Pittsburgh, I have had ample time to reflect. My originally scheduled flight was PHL to PIT at 6:50 PM. Unfortunately, I finished my work and showed up at the airport at 1:30 PM. I asked the Check in agent if I might depart early. I was not picky, US Airways had 4 flights departing for Pittsburgh prior to 6:50 PM. Any of these would be preferable to me.

The response was simple, $75 to change, even if an earlier flight is less booked. The answer was the same at various desks. No standby because there were seats left on the flight that was about to leave. This was starting to get to me.

The logic was so poor and the policy so consistently frustrating. The people are friendly; the policy sucks. The human element has been removed. It is clear that the nickel is more important than the person to the new US Airways.

There is a logic to the policy: without a change fee, passengers might just change their flights willy-nilly, resulting in confusion and more work for employees.