Air travel is an absolute mess right now. Flights are empty, planes are grounded, and an inexplicably short-sighted industry is asking for government support. In the wake of the coronavirus shutdown, airlines have been forced to adapt their cancellation/ change policies drastically. More and more airlines are moving toward a Southwest-style “change whenever you want, for free”-type model.
In hopes of gaining customer loyalty and trust during the quarantine, Delta Airlines is extending their rebooking window for two years. That’s massively helpful because while it’s expected that travel will open up again within a few months, building up the disposable income to travel might take potential flyers worldwide considerably longer. Delta’s previous policy only applied to trans-Pacific flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Incheon, South Korea, and Italy and required passengers to rebook their travel before May 31st, 2020, but considering a lot has changed since the early days of the outbreak — namely that the US now leads the world in COVID-19 cases by a substantial amount — Delta has expanded that policy to include all flights.
Delta’s current policy allows passengers to rebook their tickets for up to two years since the date of purchase and will waive all change fees until May 31st, 2022 if you’ve booked your flight for any time in April or May of 2020 or have existing eCredits or canceled travel from flights in March, April, or May of this year. Tickets purchased between March 1st and May 31st, 2020 can also be changed without a change fee for up to a year from the date of purchase. Thankfully, this is an automatic process and you won’t have to jump through any formal channels or make an official cancellation (a stipulation of many previous cancellation/rebooking policies) to score your eCredits. Delta is also making information on eCredits and their new ticket expiration dates readily available online soon.
“We are actively working on a solution to display the new expiration dates in all the places you can find your eCredits on delta.com,” reads a statement on the new policy, “If your eCredit for canceled travel has not yet been processed or extended, or is temporarily displaying incorrectly… rest assured your flight value is secure through May 2022 and will be ready to redeem online when you need it.”
Some fare differences may apply for new bookings, but fortunately if your fare ends up being cheaper than your original ticket you’ll receive the eCredits back into your account for the difference. Delta’s policy page has a full breakdown of this new policy — it’ll be interesting to see if other airlines follow-suit in the weeks to come.