Free Change Fees for Basic Economy Are Back on Delta

Things happen and you shouldn't have to pay the price.

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In life, things happen and all we can do is adapt. That same rule doesn't typically apply to air travel, though. When things come up or plans change and you need to make adjustments to your trip, you often simply have to pay the price. Delta is doing away with change fees for basic economy, however, making it a little easier to get where you're going on your schedule.

The decision is less about travelers' busy schedules and more about long wait times on Delta's phone lines, however. According to a statement from Delta CEO Ed Bastian, the airline has received an "unprecedented" number of calls to their phone lines with people asking questions about ever-changing travel policies and schedule changes. They've also seen an increase in travelers as the world reopens. TLDR: Wait times on Delta's phone lines have been hella long.

In response, Bastian said that customers won't have to pay to make changes to their basic economy ticket now through the end of the year. Delta will also be hiring 5,000 more employees to take customers' calls. 

Beginning today, to make changes to a Delta basic economy ticket, whether that's changing the date, time, or destination of a trip, all travelers have to do is log on to Delta.com or the Fly Delta app. They should then be able to see any booked flights they have under the "My Trips" tab, and should now have the option to "Modify Flight." From there, a "Start Flight Change" notification will appear, allowing travelers to select the changes they want to make.

They can also cancel a trip entirely and get credit for the cost of the cancelled ticket. The credit must be used on or before December 31, 2022, and if the new flight costs more than the original, travelers will have to foot the bill for the difference. Cancelling a trip is as easy as changing it: All customers have to do is click "Modify Flight" and "Start Flight Cancellation." Tickets bought on or before April 30 can be canceled any time before departure. Basic economy tickets bought before April 30 are final sale, however.

Like most US airlines, Delta eliminated change fees during most of the pandemic but reinstated them earlier this year.

Delta intends to return to business as usual in 2022. Basic economy flights during that year will be nonrefundable and nonchangeable. Just some things to keep in mind the next time you're booking a trip with the airline.

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Caitlyn Hitt is Daria IRL. Don't take our word for it—find her on Twitter @nyltiaccc.