In what could result in a domino effect among other mainline carriers, United Airlines has raised change fees for non-award tickets to $150.00. The change appears to be effective immediately.
The news was initially mentioned on flyertalk, and although United has not made a public announcement of the increase, I just confirmed the change in the q&a section of the ual website.
Most mainline carriers, including United, charged no more than $100 (plus any applicable fare change) for making changes to a reservation. With the increase, United is making a bold move, one likely to upset business & leisure travelers worldwide.
But, in February United announced they would pioneer a special $25 fee for checking in a second bag, and despite grumbles from flyers, within weeks most of the larger U.S-based airlines announced a matching the fee. Here, they were successful.
In addition to increasing change fees, in the coming months I expect many airlines to find other creative ways to charge passengers, far beyond the price of the ticket. As fuel costs rise to an all-time high, the industry must find solutions to offset the higher cost of flying planes.