Delta Copies United’s Elimination Of Change Fees, Doesn’t Go As Far As American

It isn’t often that Delta copies United but, like American, they’re also going to waive change fees. All three of course are copying Southwest Airlines – which doesn’t charge baggage fees either.

While Delta’s announcement was rushed out because of United’s move, they’ve actually been considering doing this for some time. They were talking about rethinking change fees at the beginning of 2020.

Delta is eliminating change fees on domestic non-basic economy tickets including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (matching United, but not going as far as American which includes Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean)

Unlike American, which is also waiving fees for standby travel and allowing customers to retain credit when changing to a less expensive itinerary, Delta hasn’t spoken to these issues yet.

However like American they’re extending their change fee waiving, including basic economy and international tickets, through December 31. They’re also extending the expiration of unused travel credits for tickets booked before April 17, 2020 out to December 31, 2022.

While not continuing to block all middle seats, Delta is going to keep limiting capacity on board planes for the rest of the year and they’re putting hand sanitizer stations on aircraft. They’ve largely been a leader. They could have been on this issue too. So far though they’re just matching United on change fees – so for today’s round I dub American the winner.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Both will still lag Southwest because when leisure customers are comparing lowest fares, none of these features will be available. It is good news for the clients of business travelers as it will encourage earlier bookings – but if a trip is cancelled entirely, will there still be a $200 cancellation fee to re-use the funds?

  2. Gary,
    Regarding the recent announcements, am I correct in assuming the change fee for a basic economy ticket for travel prior to December 31, 2020 will be waived for Delta tickets but not for American, United or Jet Blue? Thanks

  3. Change fee rule are clear but what about cancelation fees?

    If I cancel a $500 ticket, (not change it to another flight), will I get $500 in funds for a future flight?
    Without any fee?

  4. I am still a bit confused about how/whether the United waiver might apply to international award bookings made between now and 12/31/2020 for travel in 2021.

    The United website (…hange-fee.html) says that the waiver applies to flights within the 50 US states, the Caribbean, and Mexico. But it also has the language below. Maybe tickets starting with 016 are always domestic/Caribbean/Mexico?

    Changes/Cancellations: If the customer decides to change or cancel the flight they booked between March 3, 2020 and March 31, 2020, they can retain the value of the ticket to be applied to a new ticket without a change fee for travel up to 24 months from the original ticket issue date. If the customer decides to change or cancel the flight they booked between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020, they can retain the value of the ticket to be applied to a new ticket without a change fee for travel up to 12 months from the original ticket issue date. Any changes or cancellation must occur prior to ticketed travel date.

    Fare Validity: This applies to all tickets, all UA fare types, all destinations, all points-of-sale, all travel dates available for sale, provided ticket number starts with 016.

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