In 2020, it was a seismic shift to airfares when almost all domestic airlines announced that they were eliminating change fees. At the end of August 2020, Delta Airlines officially eliminated change fees on domestic itineraries for every fare class except for Basic Economy.
However, because we were still in the midst of a global pandemic, they also allowed people who purchased Basic Economy tickets to change tickets without a penalty through the end of 2020.
That waiver was extended again until the end of March 2021 but that’s when Delta went back to the policy of saying that Basic Economy fares were non-changeable and non-refundable. If you didn’t or couldn’t fly, too bad.
While most tickets offer the flexibility of no change fees, our Basic Economy tickets* are non-refundable and non-changeable** if purchased after the expiration of our current COVID-19 travel waiver on March 30, 2021.
You couldn’t blame Delta because at that point the number of COVID cases was falling, planes were full and people were making travel plans for the summer and beyond. In addition, the COVID vaccines were showing to be highly effective and more widely available to whoever was eligible and wanted to get one (or two).
In fact, back in July, our first flights with Delta to New York and back from Orlando were oversold. And at JFK, Delta offered $300 vouchers if you were willing to take a flight a few hours later.
It’s been just a month since that trip and things have totally changed because of the COVID delta variant. With a strain that’s more infectious than before and cases in some areas of the country surpassing even the levels seen at the previous peak, some leisure travelers are reconsidering those travel plans, and rightfully so.
A ticket to visit Orlando purchased in June, when cases were low and Disney and Universal had some COVID precautions in place, sounded like a good idea. The same trip with cases in Florida surging and the parks just now putting mask rules back into place isn’t as appealing( even less so if you’re traveling with someone elderly, with a depressed immune system, or too young to be eligible for vaccination).
I’m sure that Delta Airlines has heard this from many passengers looking to delay their trips until certain areas of the US get their collective ducks back in a row.
That’s why Delta (Airlines, not the viral variant) has put a waiver back into place, allowing even people who purchased Basic Economy tickets to make changes with no fee. So you can postpone the end of the summer trip to Thanksgiving or even later to time it over the winter holidays.
For customers with upcoming Basic Economy travel through December 31, 2021, please review our 2021 Basic Economy Changeability Waiver and learn how you have the flexibility to make changes to your upcoming flight without a change fee.
So if you booked a Basic Economy fare with Delta anytime between now and the end of 2021, you can change your ticket without paying any fee. Of course, you’re responsible for any fare difference but you’re not losing all of your money or having to pay a ransom to Delta to rebook your ticket.
In addition, any ticket previously purchased where the credit is due to expire in 2021 has been extended until December 31, 2022. Essentially, Delta Airlines is saying that the pandemic isn’t over and they’re going to take care of the people that booked trips thinking that it was.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary