Delta waives fee for many same-day standby flight changes

Delta Air Lines customers check-in at the electric kiosk during an early morning at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer/Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

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Delta Air Lines customers check-in at the electric kiosk during an early morning at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer/Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Delta Air Lines is eliminating its $75 fee for most customers who want to stand by for an earlier flight on the day they are scheduled to travel domestically.

The new policy, effective Aug. 4, applies to all domestic tickets except basic economy.

Delta is eliminating the fee as it works to reduce hours-long waits for customer service on its phone lines for travelers who want to change their flights. In another move to reduce call wait times amid an air travel rebound, the airline recently loosened restrictions on basic economy tickets to allow changes for travel through Dec. 31, 2021.

For those who want to try to catch an earlier flight, if there are no seats in their fare class available, they can request to stand by for free on Delta’s website or its app within 24 hours of departure.

While Atlanta-based Delta last year eliminated most of its change fees, those who change flights could still be on the hook to pay the difference in fare, which can be substantial for last-minute changes.

While standing by for an earlier flight does not guarantee the switch, it doesn’t require paying a higher fare or change fee.

If there is an available seat in the same fare class on an earlier flight, it costs $75 to confirm the seat as a same-day change, which could be less than the fare difference. That’s already complimentary for Delta’s gold, platinum and diamond-level elite Medallion members.

“By enabling same-day travel changes directly on the Fly Delta app, customers will also save valuable time rescheduling their plans while on the go, without waiting in line at the airport or calling Reservations,” Delta senior vice president Sandeep Dube said in a written statement.