New Poll Shows Airline Demand Could Rise With No Change Fees

Data from the new weekly Harris Poll shows that demand for air travel could rise in the wake of airlines eliminating change fees.

The polling demonstrates that with additional flexibility, airlines have given travelers the opening to resuming booking their next trip, Harris noted.

The poll centered on the coronavirus pandemic has been running for 29 weeks. This most recent poll was conducted September 10-13, 2020, among a nationally representative sample of 2,037 American adults and 1,609 Americans who say they typically fly.

United, followed by American and Delta, eliminated change fees – which can be as much as $200 – late last month. It was a game-changing decision, especially with air travel off 70 percent compared to last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. But it bought the airlines a ton of goodwill, since ancillary fees are a bane of the traveler’s existence.

And, now, hard and fast data shows it might have been the right decision.

According to the findings, 75 percent of Americans who say they fly said they would be more likely to fly as a result of some airlines recently having announced they are doing away with change fees. That number was above 70 percent across the political spectrum.

Among all Americans, 58 percent say they would be more likely to fly as a result of the elimination of change fees.

Looking ahead to the fall/winter travel seasons, 39 percent of Americans say they are likely to fly for Christmas this year, while 34 percent say they are likely to fly for Thanksgiving. Some 32 percent say they will fly for New Year’s.

Overall, 44 percent of Americans say they miss traveling on an airplane since the implementation of virus-related restrictions. That’s up nine percent since the second week of April.

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