Should Delta Waive Change Fees Indefinitely?

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Like many airlines, Delta Air Lines has relaxed its change fees on its tickets due to coronavirus, and has currently has extended a change fee waiver on all flights booked through the end of July 31, 2020.

If you purchase a ticket before this date, you’re able to make changes without a change fee, however a difference in fare will apply if the new ticket is more expensive.

For the past several months, Delta has been waiving change fees on a monthly basis, which continues to be extended month after month, which begs the question, should Delta waive change fees permanently?

Delta’s plan is to waive these fees until travel picks up, but there’s no end in sight on when that will be, so rather take a reactive approach and extend the change fee waiver each month, why not announce a permanent change fee waiver. 

It’s likely Delta will continue extending the waiver monthly into 2021 if they don’t permanently end change fees, as travel confidence won’t fully rebound until there’s an effective vaccine in place. If any of the big three airlines were to make this policy, it likely would be Delta, and it could benefit them in the long-haul with more bookings.

Even with a change fee waiver, Delta still collects a difference in fare, and based on trends, flights further out are slowly increasing in price, so even if you want to change your July booking till September, it’s likely you’d be hit with a difference in fare.

Southwest Airlines doesn’t charge change fees on any tickets, making it one of the most customer friendly airlines, so Delta would be in a more competitive playing field with Southwest if they were to also abolish these nasty fees.

If Delta was to announce a permanent change fee in place, it would drive more bookings over its competitors, and likely both United and American would follow.

See related: How to Check Delta Ticket Refund Status

Do you think Delta should implement a policy of waiving change fees permanently and only charging a difference in fare? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed.

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  1. Without free changes, people will guaranteed fly despite being covid positive change or otherwise sick because they wouldn’t want to pay the fees. It’s in airlines best interest to follow southwest model, or at the least allow free changes upto 3 days out.

  2. Longterm, this could be a benefit added to incentivize purchasing MC over BE that would actually add value to the MC ticket.

    The question is, how much revenue has Delta historically generated on the sale of refundable fares, change fees, and forfeited fares? Would a permanent change actually make financial sense to the airline?

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