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United Airlines Updates Flight Delay Compensation Policy

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United Airlines has updated its flight delay compensation policies to include not proactively awarding customers refunds for delays of less than six hours.

The changes were announced through an internal memo sent to United employees and obtained by Skift, which read, “When situations arise, and they warrant compensation outside of this guideline, do the right thing to take care of the customer.”

“With the ongoing enhancements within the In-the-Moment Care app, you can issue compensation on the spot, recover service disruptions, and avoid sending the customer to a website or service desk,” the memo continued.

United confirmed the changes to TravelPulse and released an official statement.

“This policy empowers our employees to make more personalized service decisions for our customers when a disservice occurs,” a United spokesperson said. “We will continue to analyze feedback on our policies and further invest in approaches that are most appreciated by our customers.”

The airline added the change of policy covers delays where United is at fault, such as flight crew shortages or mechanical problems. The procedures were designed to provide employees the chance to provide tailored compensation instead of a blanket voucher.

United isn’t the only company to implement changes to its flight delay compensation policies, as Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and other airlines have also recently implemented similar procedures.

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Airlines Scaling Back On Some In-Flight Services Due to Coronavirus

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A few airlines, including those already affected by the coronavirus outbreak, have begun scaling back on some in-flight services as a way to help fight the virus.

The Points Guy writes that Singapore Airlines – obviously based in Asia, where the coronavirus has been most dangerous after originating in China – recently sent its frequent fliers an email about such changes.

Singapore advised its customers that some in-flight amenities will be discontinued, such as hot towel service, after-takeoff drink service, removal of reading materials from seat-back pockets, and suspension of in-flight sales.

Henry Harteveldt, president of Atmosphere Research, said that Chinese and Taiwanese carriers have taken similar precautionary steps based on government guidance, including removing pillows and blankets on some flights.

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“They’re changing their cabin service procedures, so the passengers will notice this,” Harteveldt told The Points Guy.

But Harteveldt also remained optimistic that passengers wouldn’t pitch a fit given the circumstances.

“Passengers will accept (the reduction in services) because they’re being done in the interest of health and wellness,” he said.

As the virus, now known as covid-19, continues to expand globally, it remains to be seen if other airlines – including those based in the U.S. who offer international travel – adopt the same practice.

The aviation industry is quite often a copycat business, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see some similar changes put into place.

“As adults, we have to be logical and rational when we experience these inconveniences,” Harteveldt told The Points Guy. “This isn’t cost-cutting, this isn’t random, this is in the best interest of public health.”

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