Ad Alert

United Airlines: No Change Fees

United leaves some passengers behind.

Ad Alert

United Airlines: No Change Fees

In a series of Super Bowl ads this Sunday, United Airlines will encourage football fans to book their flight to next year’s big game in hopes that their team will be there. And if it doesn’t work out, that’s not a problem. Or as the ads will state:

But just in case… No fees to change your flight. Ever.

Ever? According to the fine print:

Excluding Basic Economy tickets.

United is spending millions on Super Bowl ads promoting the purported benefits of a decision it made more than three years ago to “permanently eliminate” change fees.

“When we hear from customers about where we can improve, getting rid of this fee is often the top request,” United CEO Scott Kirby reportedly said in 2020, when the pandemic nearly brought air travel to a halt.

But United left some passengers behind.

Specifically, those who fly Basic Economy (United’s cheapest fare) are unable to change flights without first upgrading to Economy (United’s second-cheapest fare) or a premium cabin – for an added cost. Some might even call this a fee, including United.

“Whether or not you have to pay a fee to change your flight depends on where you’re flying and the type of ticket,” United says on its website, under the heading “change fees.” (With regard to destination restrictions, the fine print in the Super Bowl commercials also notes, “Applies to flights within the US and between the US and Mexico or the Caribbean.”)

It’s expected that over 115 million people will be tuning into Sunday’s Super Bowl. And while those watching United’s commercial might reasonably understand “No fees to change your flight. Ever.” to mean that United doesn’t ever charge change fees, they’d be very wrong. reached out to United for comment. Check back for updates.

Find more of our Super Bowl coverage here.

Our Ad Alerts are not just about false and deceptive marketing issues, but may also be about ads that, although not necessarily deceptive, should be viewed with caution. Ad Alerts can also be about single issues and may not include a comprehensive list of all marketing issues relating to the brand discussed.

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