The world's busiest airport is feeling the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and the effects could last for years.

UPDATED: Delta extends change fee waiver

Delta Air Lines is allowing customers to book flights with more flexibility through June, and allowing those who cancel their flights due to the coronavirus two years to rebook.
Atlanta-based Delta announced May 28 it is extending its peace-of-mind change fee waiver for flights booked through June 30.

That means new Delta tickets purchased from March through June of this year can be changed without a change fee for up to a year from the date of purchase, the company says.

Delta earlier this year said it will also extend elite Medallion status for this year through 2021, and extend Sky Club memberships and expiration dates for Delta AmEx card flight credits and companion certificates.

In April, Delta extended certain waivers through September.

For the extension of flight credits from canceled bookings, Delta says for those who canceled trips through September 2020 or have eCredits from flights in those months, it is waiving change fees and extending flight credits through Sept. 30, 2022.

Those scheduled to take flights through Sept. 30 who booked those flights by April 17 can also rebook without a change fee for travel through Sept. 30, 2022.

The eCredits will be automatically extended, according to Delta.

Southwest Airlines, the second-largest carrier in Atlanta, also said it will extend the expiration date of credits.

If Southwest customers cancel their flights at least 10 minutes before the scheduled departure time, the funds normally become a credit valid for one year from the date of purchase. Southwest said it will extend credits until Sept. 7, 2022 if they were set to expire March-Sept. 7, 2020 and for flight cancellations March-Sept. 7 2020.

Dallas-based Southwest is also allowing frequent flier members to convert credits that were set to expire or were created between March 1-Sept. 7, 2020 into Rapid Rewards points, which never expire.

Some travelers had complained that they don’t know whether they will be traveling before the end of the year, given the restrictions on movement and concerns about COVID-19. One in five Americans don’t plan to travel again until 2021, according to a survey by the travel company Upgraded Points LLC.

Those whose flights are canceled by the airline are entitled to a refund, though some customers have had difficulty getting a refund.

Delta and other airlines have faced a cash crunch as bookings evaporate, and they are trying to steer customers toward flight credits instead of refunds.

Delta also says on its website “we’re happy to work with customers on a case-by-case basis to figure out the best way to address their concerns.”

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About the Author

Kelly Yamanouchi
Kelly Yamanouchi
Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport.
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