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How to Change or Cancel a Delta Air Lines Flight

How to Change or Cancel a Delta Air Lines Flight

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Changing or canceling your flight has historically been a hassle, sometimes with fees that cost more than the airfare itself. With the pandemic shaking up the travel industry, carriers such as Delta Air Lines have made it easier to change and cancel your flight. If your travel plans have changed, this extensive guide will walk you through canceling or changing your Delta flight and the potential fees you can expect to see.

Delta change and cancellation fees

Delta Air Lines has made several changes to its change and cancellation policy, accomodating for the pandemic. Overall, these policies have loosened up, allowing for wiggle room depending on the type of ticket you’ve purchased.

Delta change feesDelta cancellation fees
Any ticket during the 24-hour risk-free cancellation periodNo change fee — includes basic economyNo cancellation fee — includes basic economy. Receive a full refund to your original payment method.
Any ticket purchased from March 1 to Dec. 31, 2020No change fee for up to a year from the original date of purchase — includes basic economyNo cancellation fee. Receive an eCredit with the value of your ticket for one year from the original issue date.
Any ticket purchased before April 17, 2020, for travel until March 31, 2021No change fee to rebook until Dec. 31, 2022 — includes basic economyNo cancellation fee. Receive an eCredit with the value of your ticket for use until Dec. 31, 2022.
Tickets purchased after Dec. 31, 2020, for the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin IslandsNo change fee — excludes basic economyCancellation fees apply: $200 to $500
Non-refundable tickets purchased after Dec. 31, 2020Change fees apply:
  • After 24-hour risk-free cancellation period: $200 to $500
  • Within 24 hours of flight departure: From $75 when available
Cancellation fees apply
  • $200 to $500
Refundable/flex tickets purchased after Dec. 31, 2020No change feeNo cancellation fee

24-hour risk-free cancellation period

Delta’s 24-hour risk free cancellation period allows you to cancel any Delta flight within 24 hours of your booking and receive a full refund with no fees attached. This includes basic economy fares, which typically are non-refundable in most other circumstances. You can cancel your flight on Delta’s website or app at any time within this 24-hour period in just a few clicks.

Delta’s Peace-of-Mind Purchasing waiver

All tickets purchased on or before Dec. 31, 2020 — including international and basic economy fares — are subject to Delta’s Peace-of-Mind Purchasing waiver. This means you won’t incur change fees for up to a year from the original purchase date. If you’d like to cancel your flight instead, you can receive an eCredit toward a new ticket, good for one year from the original issue date.

Delta waives change and cancellation fees for existing flights through March 2021

Because of the pandemic, Delta has made some exceptions for a few existing flights. If you purchased any tickets before April 17, 2020 for travel until March 31, 2021, the change and cancellation fees are waived. You can rebook or cancel your flight for travel until Dec. 31, 2022.

Change fees eliminated for domestic fares

One of the most significant changes Delta has recently made is permanently eliminating change fees and award redeposit fees on tickets purchased for travel within the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Fare differences will apply. However, basic economy fares are exempt from this new rule, as these tickets are both non-refundable and non-changeable.

Previously, Delta’s change fees for purchased tickets were $200 per ticket. This is an exciting, customer-friendly amendment moving forward, allowing much more flexibility than ever before.

Tickets purchased after Dec. 31, 2020

For all other tickets purchased after Delta’s Peace-of-Mind waiver expires, the standard policies apply. You’re not allowed to change or cancel any basic economy tickets after the 24-hour risk-free cancellation policy. For non-refundable tickets, you’ll have to pay a change or cancellation fee of between $200 and $500, depending on the fare. However, within 24 hours of flight departure, you may be eligible to change your flight for just $75 — subject to availability.

Of course, if you purchase a refundable or a flex ticket, you’ll never have to pay a change or a cancellation fee.

Delta SkyMiles award tickets change and cancellation fees

Terms similar to those listed above apply for SkyMiles award tickets, but there’s a bit more flexibility. Since you’re paying with SkyMiles rather than with cash, you’re able to get your miles back in most cases.

  • Award tickets redeemed during the 24-hour risk-free cancellation period incur no change or cancellation fees. If canceling your flight, your SkyMiles will be redeposited into your account.
  • Award tickets redeemed from March 1 to Dec. 31, 2020 incur no change or cancellation fees. If canceling your flight, your SkyMiles will be redeposited into your account.
  • Award tickets redeemed before April 17, 2020, for travel until March 31, 2021, incur no change or cancellation fees. If canceling your flight, your SkyMiles will be redeposited into your account.
  • Award tickets redeemed after Aug. 31, 2020, for the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands incur no change fees. To cancel, a fee of $150 applies, though it’s waived for Diamond and Platinum Medallion members.
  • All other award tickets incur a $150 fee for both changes and cancellations — except basic economy tickets, which cannot be changed at any time after the 24-hour risk-free cancellation period. This fee is waived for Diamond and Platinum Medallion members.

Keep in mind that you must make the change at least 72 hours before your flight departure or return — otherwise, you’ll lose your SkyMiles entirely.

How to change or cancel your Delta flight

If you need to change or cancel your Delta flight, you can go ahead with this process without getting in touch with a representative — in fact, you can cancel your flight at any time on Delta’s website or app.

If you’re already logged onto your Delta SkyMiles account, your trip should automatically be linked to your account. Otherwise, you will need to locate your trip using your flight confirmation number. This information can be found in your email, along with your flight receipt and details.

How to change or cancel your Delta flight

Once you find your confirmation number, you can use this information to locate your trip on Delta’s website or app. Enter your confirmation number, first name and last name to pull up the complete details of your flight.

How to change or cancel your Delta flight

Once you successfully locate your trip, you’ll find a red button that reads “Modify Flight” in the upper right-hand corner. Click this to start the change or cancellation process.

Modify Flight

Once you click this button, Delta will present two options to start either a flight change or a flight cancellation.

Modify Flight

How to change your Delta flight

If you’re looking to change your existing flight and find a new one instead, you can change the origin or departure airports, as well as the departure date. Toggle the options, and Delta will present you with the same screen, as if you’re booking a new flight from scratch. You’ll see the times, fare classes and prices for each flight. Once you find a better flight that works for you, you can finish the check out process.

If the new flight costs more, you’ll pay the difference. You will then complete the flight change process and finish checking out as if you’re booking a new flight.

Modify Flight

Once you pay for any fare differences, you’ll receive a confirmation email that your flight change is complete with your new flight details.

How to cancel your Delta flight

Once you click the “Start Flight Cancellation” button, you must confirm the flight you want to cancel.

Start Flight Cancellation

After pressing “Continue,” you’ll see another screen confirming your flight details. If you’re ready to cancel your trip, press “Cancel Trip” in the lower right-hand corner.

Cancel Trip

After a few moments, you’ll receive a screen that your trip has been canceled, along with a confirmation email. The email will have further details with your cancel authorization code and information about getting your refund to the original payment method.

How to avoid Delta change and cancellation fees

While Delta has largely updated its change fee policy, fees still apply in many scenarios. As a reminder, here are some ways you can avoid Delta change and cancellation fees when booking your next flight:

  • Cancel within Delta’s 24-hour risk-free cancellation period. In fact, all airlines are subject to this rule as administered by the Department of Transportation. You can cancel your ticket within 24 hours.
  • Purchase a refundable fare. When searching for fares on Delta’s website, simply click “Refundable” to see a list of fares that are refundable for any reason. While these fares will cost you much more than nonrefundable tickets, they won’t incur any change or cancellation fees — which can sometimes cost more than the airfare itself.
  • Hold Delta elite status. Gold Medallion members and higher enjoy waived same-day change fees. Diamond and Platinum Medallion members enjoy waived change fees for award travel, which typically cost $150.
  • Watch out for schedule changes. As airline demand has changed dramatically over the past year, your flight may be rescheduled or even canceled. In the event of either happening, you may be eligible for complimentary flight change or cancellation. For tickets issued after Aug. 17, 2020, a delay of 120 minutes or more, a change in the routing of the original flight, equipment or a misconnect or an outright cancellation qualifies for waived fees. You’ll receive an email with options to change or cancel your flight.
  • Contact Delta customer service for any extenuating circumstances. While any other reasons aren’t posted on Delta’s website, you should contact customer service if you need to cancel for any extenuating circumstance.
How to avoid Delta change and cancellation fees

ValuePenguin’s verdict

Delta Air Lines is among some of the airlines that have permanently eliminated change fees, although there are some notable exceptions to be mindful of. For example, international tickets will always incur change fees, while basic economy tickets cannot be changed or canceled whatsoever. However, Delta has made it easier for you to change or cancel your flight without even speaking to a representative, with the ability to make modifications on the website or app.

Stella Shon

Stella Shon is a travel credit cards writer with ValuePenguin. After studying abroad in Paris three years ago, she became determined to keep traveling. That’s when she discovered the world of points and miles, which enabled her to travel on a student budget. Since then, she’s flown over 150,000 miles and earned more than 500,000 points and miles with eight different credit cards. While in college, she even co-founded her own travel agency, helping her peers plan and book trips on a budget. As a recent journalism graduate from UNC-Chapel Hill, her goal is to write about travel to make it simpler and achievable for everyone. Her work has also appeared on JetBlue, The Points Guy, Travel + Leisure and CNBC.

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