Airline cancellation and rebooking policies are notoriously strict, but the coronavirus pandemic is forcing airlines to relax the rules to accommodate millions of passengers.
Delta recently unveiled a new cancellation policy — the most flexible in the industry, thus far — which will allow passengers to rebook flights for up to two years. Given the uncertainty surrounding travel right now, Delta reportedly wanted to give travelers some flexibility and peace of mind.
According to the new policy, “Tickets normally expire one year after purchase, but we’re providing waived change fees and greater flexibility to travel through May 31, 2022.” The rule applies to passengers who booked tickets as of April 3 for travel in April or May 2020, or have existing travel credits or canceled flights from March, April, or May 2020. Credits issued to these passengers will be automatically extended through May 2022.
It’s important to remember, however, that passengers are not required to accept flight credits for canceled flights. The Department of Transportation has stated, “Carriers have a longstanding obligation to provide a prompt refund to a ticketed passenger when the carrier cancels the passenger’s flight or makes a significant change in the flight schedule and the passenger chooses not to accept the alternative offered by the carrier.” Passengers are also entitled to be refunded for any bag fee, seat assignment, and other extras that may have been booked.