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Airlines Suspend Change Fees After Crash in Queens

November 18, 2001

Airlines temporarily waived change fees after an American Airlines jet crashed last week in Queens, N.Y., killing at least 265 people. The fees are generally $100 for domestic flights and $150 for international flights. An exception is Southwest Airlines, which doesn't charge the fee.

Policies vary; check with the airline for details. A sampling of general guidelines, as of the Travel section's press time Tuesday:

* American Airlines and TWA: Customers with reservations for travel between Nov. 12 and Nov. 15 could cancel without change fees and receive a refund or a voucher for future travel to the same destination. Customers with reservations for travel between Nov. 16 and Dec. 31 could cancel without fees and get a voucher only (no refunds). In either case, they would have to make their request by Monday and complete any rescheduled travel by Feb. 14.

* United Airlines: Passengers scheduled to fly Nov. 12 to Nov. 15 were being allowed to reschedule travel without penalty under certain circumstances, on a case-by-case basis, said spokesman Chris Brathwaite. Travel would need to be completed by Feb. 14.

* US Airways: Passengers on Nov. 12 flights affected by the shutdown of New York-area airports for several hours after the crash could change travel to a later date without penalty, said spokesman David Castelveter.

* Delta Air Lines: Its policy was similar to US Airways': Those affected Nov. 12 by airport closures could rebook. Refunds would be considered on a case-by-case basis, a spokeswoman said.

* Continental Airlines: Customers who were scheduled to fly Nov. 12 or 13 could rebook without penalty, provided it was "for travel within the validity period of your ticket" (generally one year from purchase), the airline stated on its Web site. Those whose Nov. 12 flights were affected by airport closures could rebook to the same or another destination or, in some situations, get refunds. Those whose flights were not affected could rebook to the same destination; refunds were not an option.

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