Delta and United make refund and change fee changes

4/4/20 Update:

United just announced that it will be extending the validity of travel funds for up to two years from the issue date, which is an increase of one year.

These travel funds will be extended regardless of when they were issued.

This is a dramatic change and it is the result of two things I believe.

First, the DOT recently came down on airlines and demanded them to offer refunds if they did not offer those to customers in the past.

Presumably, United will try to persuade customers to opt for travel funds now that they will have a longer validity period. (I do have to admit that adding an additional year to travel all funds is a pretty valuable change.)

Also, airlines are strapped for cash these days and so by making travel funds more appealing, they can increase the cash flow they currently have.

Original article 4/3/20:

The airlines and hotels are constantly making modifications to their cancellation and change policies in order to respond to the ongoing pandemic threat that we all face. For example, Southwest just decided to allow refunds for its Earlybird check in fee after initially refusing to do so. 

The latest airline to make a move is Delta, which just made a massive change to its change policy for coronavirus impacted flights. 

If your travel has been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, you may be able to change your flight for free for up to two years.

Normally, a ticket will expire one year after the purchase date. However, Delta is providing waived change fees and greater flexibility to travel through May 31, 2022, for customers who:

  • Have upcoming travel already booked in April or May 2020 as of April 3, 2020
  • Have existing eCredits or canceled travel from flights in March, April or May 2020

Meanwhile, new tickets purchased between March 1 and May 31, 2020, can be changed without a change fee for up to a year from the date of purchase. So you still get the free change but you just don’t get the two-year extension.

These changes mean that if you have travel currently scheduled for April or May (as of today, April 3rd), or you have canceled travel/eCredits from March, April, or May, you can reschedule a flight for sometime as far out as May 2022 without paying a fee.

Of course, you will have to wait for those schedules to become available to take full advantage of this new timeline.

I believe this timeframe is an indication that airlines are anticipating a return to travel over a pretty long time span. It’s very possible that flying will not get back to normal until mid to late 2021, and I think that some airlines are starting to realize this and making change policies in light of that reality.



  1. Question is it possible to get a flight out of New York anytime
    Like from the 15th of April 2020…..

  2. Again, we have another “expert” that has never worked for an airline thinking he knows how an airline works. His assumption that airlines are coming to a realization is preposterous. Has an airline EVER come to a realization other than how to nickel and dime us to death? Airlines are like democrats: if there is a few or a tax that they can create to steal more money they will create it. I know I spent 14 years in the industry. However, I am not a lawyer so I guess that is what qualifies him to be an “expert” right?

  3. United will be bankrupt by the time your travel voucher expires. its unfortunate that the Feds had to get involved to get a refund. no one feels bad for united airlines. they should be embarrassed at how they treat customers.

  4. From my own experience, United would’ve never try to refund their customers a penny unless the DOT would have gotten involved. I purchased a $1500 ticket to fly my mother over dor the Holidays. I didnt realized that it had all of her information, but my name (maybe autism filled). When I called them, they suggested to cancel the ticket as it was invalid. This may have opened up the seat for them to sell to a last minute traveler and United never gave me at least a partial credit. I had to come up with and extra $2500 to have my mother over during the Holiday. Horrible. Go under United, those employees deserve a better organization.

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