Delta Eliminates Domestic Change Fees

Delta today announced that the airline would eliminate domestic change fees for all other than Basic Economy-fares effective immediately.

Delta’s fee waiver applies to domestic US, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands. AA’s new waiver, however, also includes Canada, Mexico, and the entire Caribbean + voucher for any residual value (no mention on Delta’s release).

You can access Delta’s page for the announcement here.

Here’s the release from Delta:

At Delta’s Investor Day in December 2019, the airline shared its intent to overhaul its change fee structure, delivering the flexibility and simplicity customers are looking for. Since then, Delta has put its full focus into taking care of customers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including implementing a waiver to eliminate change fees in March 2020. Delta is now doubling down on its mission to make it easier for customers to book, change or cancel their travel plans by making this policy permanent for tickets purchased for travel within the U.S.

“We’ve said before that we need to approach flexibility differently than this industry has in the past, and today’s announcement builds on that promise to ensure we’re offering industry-leading flexibility, space and care to our customers,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian. “We want our customers to book and travel with peace of mind, knowing that we’ll continue evaluating our policies to maintain the high standard of flexibility they expect.”

The elimination of change fees is effective immediately and includes tickets purchased for travel within the domestic U.S., Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands in Delta’s First Class, Delta Premium Select, Delta Comfort+ and Main Cabin, with the exception of Basic Economy tickets.

Additionally, Delta will extend its waiver on change fees for newly purchased flights, including international flights and Basic Economy fares, through the end of the year and will extend its expiration on travel credits through December 2022 for tickets booked before April 17, 2020.

Conclusion

United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and American Airlines have now all announced their fee waivers and other enhancements.

Let’s see if United and Delta will eventually match AA’s broader geographical waiver area that includes the Northern and Southern neighbors + the Caribbean, and a voucher for any residual value (if the new ticket would be cheaper).

These cancellations and other fees have driven a lot of revenue in recent years when the airlines have moved into ala carte pricing and got creative with various fees.

I would expect some of these to return when the industry is back on a stable footing in a few years.

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