United Drops 'Hardship Fee' for Customers

PHOTO: United Airlines has dropped its $50 "hardship fee." Getty Images
United Airlines has dropped its $50 "hardship fee."

It's a holiday miracle.

Earlier this month, United Airlines quietly dropped its so-called "hardship fee." The $50 processing fee applied to ticket change fees for unplanned events, such as jury duty, injury or death.

"We know that our front-line employees want to help our customers in their time of need," said United Senior Vice President Sandra Pineau-Boddison in a Nov. 11 memo to employees. "Eliminating the processing fee is the right thing to do and will create a better experience for the customers and for our people."

United spokesman Rahsaan Johnson told ABC News: "We learned through employee and customer feedback that many of the circumstances involved customers in unfortunate and unplanned situations like illness or the death of a close family member, so we thought it best to stop assessing that charge."

The move came around the same time two other airlines -- Spirit and Frontier -- announced there would be a surcharge on checked baggage this holiday season.