Delta Airlines Flight Change and Cancellation Guide [2019]

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Delta Airlines might be known for their great on-time performance and service, but Delta is definitely not known for their generous change and cancellation policies. You will often face fees and restrictions with changing or canceling tickets.

In this article, I will discuss Delta Airlines change and cancellation policies for basic economy, refundable, and non-refundable tickets for main cabin, comfort+, first class, premium select, and Delta One seats. I will then show you step-by-step how to make a change your Delta flights and how to cancel your flights.


Delta Airlines flight change policy

Change fees are still here and won’t go away. The bandwagon for fees will keep on going, and airlines like Southwest won’t be setting the trend anytime soon for no change fees, even though we wish other airlines would follow suit.

Time periodBasic Economy FareNon-Refundable TicketRefundable/Flex Table
During 24 Hour Risk-Free Cancellation PeriodNo Charge + Fare DifferenceNo Charge + Fare DifferenceNo Charge + Fare Difference
After 24 Hour Risk-Free Cancellation PeriodNot Permitted$200-500 + Fare DifferenceNo Charge + Fare Difference
Within 24 Hours of Flight DepartureNot PermittedFrom $75 when availableFrom $75 when available

24-Hour Risk-Free Cancellation/Change

Any ticket is eligible for free changes and cancellation within 24 hours of the flight purchase date. Basically, Delta holds the ticket for 24 hours and then charges you once the 24 hours is up. Therefore, your purchase will post to your credit card statement with a 24 hour delay. However, Delta will hold the funds on your credit card.

This means if you buy the ticket on December 14th at 7:00pm, you have till December 15th at 11:59pm to change/cancel (or also defined as midnight as it quotes in the terms and conditions.)

Cancellation request must be made by midnight of the day after the eTicket is purchased or midnight of the departure date of the first flight, whichever comes first. Cancellation request must be made before travel commences for the first flight. Available only for eTickets purchased at the time of reservation through Delta ticket offices and airport ticket counters, Reservation Sales, or at delta.com.

This could give you a little more than 24 hours to change or cancel your ticket made directly through Delta. Do note, tickets made through travel agencies like Expedia, Priceline, Orbits, etc. will have to go through the travel agency’s 24 hours change and cancellation policy.

Prices

Fees will be per passenger for the whole itinerary.

Basic economy tickets aren’t permitted to change tickets 24 hours past the purchase of the ticket.

Non-refundable tickets change fees can range from $200 to $500 depending on the location you’re traveling to. Plus, the price difference. Same-day flight changes fees are $75. (Same-day change fee is waived for Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Medallions.)

  • Domestic ticket change fees are a flat $200 (within the 50 US, Canada, Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands)
  • International ticket change fees range from $200 to $500 (the fee depends on the length of the flight, location, and type of fare)

Refundable tickets have no change fees, but you will still need to pay the price difference. Same-day flight changes fees are $75. (Same-day change fee is waived for Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Medallions.)

Award tickets change fees is a flat fee of $150. (The fee is waived for Platinum and Diamond Medallions.)

Deadline

Basic economy tickets changes must be made within the 24-hour risk-free cancellation/change policy. Otherwise, you aren’t allowed to make any more changes.

Non-refundable tickets changes without fees must be made within the 24-hour risk-free cancellation/change policy. Changes made past 24 hours of the ticket purchase are subject to change fees. Changes within 24 hours of the departure are only eligible within the US, Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands.

Refundable tickets changes can be made anytime until 24 hours before the departure of your flight. Changes within 24 hours of the departure are only eligible within the US, Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands.

Award tickets, changes can only be made at least 72 hours in advance of the departure or return of the flight.

Price changes

Flight changes will be subjected to price differences if the value of the new ticket is higher than the original, no matter if you have a refundable or non-refundable ticket, you will have to pay the difference in ticket value. Ticket values that are less in price than the original ticket value, you will receive as an eCredit if your ticket is non-refundable. Refundable tickets will receive a refund of the fare difference.

For example, if you hold a refundable ticket that originally cost $500 and change the flight that now costs $400, you will be refunded $100. However, if you change the flight that costs $600, you will be charged $100 since the value of the new ticket is higher. (The same concept applies to non-refundable tickets, but you have to take into account the change fees.)

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Delta Airlines cancellation and refund policy

Like above, Delta Airlines isn’t pursuing cheap cancellation fees. Delta cancellation and refund policies are similar to Delta’s change policy. Therefore, some will be repetitive.

Time PeriodBasic Economy FareNon-Refundable TicketRefundable/Flex Ticket
During 24 Hour Risk-Free Cancellation PeriodNo ChargeNo ChargeNo Charge
After 24 Hour Risk-Free Cancellation PeriodNot PermittedRemaining Value Minus $200-$500 Cancellation Fee*Refundable
Within 24 Hours of Flight DepartureNot PermittedRemaining Value Minus $200-$500 Cancellation Fee*Refundable

*Remaining value gets refunded as eCredit

24-Hour Risk-Free Cancellation/Change

Any ticket is eligible for free changes and cancellation within 24 hours of the flight purchase date. Basically, Delta holds the ticket for 24 hours and then charges you once the 24 hours is up. Therefore, your purchase will post to your credit card statement with a 24 hour delay. However, Delta will hold the funds on your credit card.

This means if you buy the ticket on December 14th at 7:00pm, you have till December 15th at 11:59pm to change/cancel (or also defined as midnight as it quotes in the terms and conditions.)

Cancellation request must be made by midnight of the day after the eTicket is purchased or midnight of the departure date of the first flight, whichever comes first. Cancellation request must be made before travel commences for the first flight. Available only for eTickets purchased at the time of reservation through Delta ticket offices and airport ticket counters, Reservation Sales, or at delta.com.

This could give you a little more than 24 hours to change or cancel your ticket made directly through Delta. Do note, tickets made through travel agencies like Expedia, Priceline, Orbits, etc. will have to go through the travel agency’s 24 hours change and cancellation policy.

Prices

Fees will be per passenger for the whole itinerary.

Basic economy tickets cancellations after 24 hours the purchase of the ticket aren’t permitted.

Non-refundable tickets cancellation fees can range from $200 to $500 depending on the location you’re traveling to.

  • Domestic ticket cancelation fees are a flat $200 (within the 50 US, Canada, Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands)
  • International ticket cancellation fees range from $200 to $500 (the fee depends on the length of the flight, location, and type of fare)

Refundable tickets have no cancellation fees.

Award tickets cancellation fees are a flat fee of $150. (The fee is waived for Platinum and Diamond Medallions.)

Deadline

Basic economy tickets cancellations must be made within the 24-hour risk-free cancellation/change policy. Otherwise, you aren’t allowed to cancel your ticket.

Non-refundable tickets cancellations without fees must be made within the 24-hour risk-free cancellation/change policy. Cancellations made past 24 hours of the ticket purchase are subject to cancellation fees.

Refundable tickets cancellations can be made anytime before the departure of your flight.

Award tickets, cancellations can only be made at least 72 hours in advance of the departure or return of the flight.

Refunds

Non-refundable tickets refunds are issued as a credit. Therefore, you can only use it with Delta, similar to how one would use a gift card. You can access your eCredits here.

Refundable tickets refunds are issued as a refund to your payment method. If you used a credit card, the refund would go back to your credit card.

If you have any trip extras or seats that you have purchased as add-ons, some of those will not be refunded, and it depends on each itinerary.

No show and missed flights

Luckily if you do not show up or miss your flight on non-refundable or refundable tickets, you will automatically get the remaining credit of the flight you missed, minus a cancellation fee that is only for non-refundable tickets. (Basic economy tickets will not be refunded.)

For example, you missed the return flight of your non-refundable round-trip itinerary. The cost of the round-trip ticket was $1500, but you only missed the return. Therefore, you will get half of the total value of the ticket and minus the cancellation fee of $200. $1500 divided by two equals $750. Then minus the cancellation fee of $200. The credit you get to your Delta account will equal to $550 and can be used 1 year from the original travel date.


Delta Airlines same-day flight changes policy

Within 24 hours of the original departure of your flight, you are able to change your flight to an earlier flight on the same-day. Same-day changes are only available when flying within the US, Puerto Rico, or the US Virgin Islands. Same-day flight changes are only available with non-refundable or refundable tickets in any cabin. Basic economy tickets cannot have same-day flight changes.

The fee is $75 for same-day confirmed and same-day standby changes to tickets. Same-day changes are subject to availability for seats in the same cabin. Doing same-day changes won’t always work.

For example, changing to earlier flights aren’t possible all the time as there might not be an earlier flight or no seats available. However, if there are multiple flights from the airport and you want to change to an earlier flight, the chances are better especially on less business traveled days.

I recommend checking how many seats are available on earlier flights.

The good thing about same-day changes is the fact that you will only be charged the fee if you get a seat. If there is no availability you won’t be charged for being on same-day standby.


How to change a Delta flight online

Log in to your account. You will be redirected to Delta’s homepage.

Select “My Trips” from the top, and your next upcoming flight will show. If you have more than one flight that is upcoming and you don’t see it, you can select “view all trips” on the lower left-hand corner.

Select “view trip details” to take you to your reservation. (If you’re not logged in, you can search for your flight by your confirmation, credit/debit card, or ticket number.)

What you would see while logged into your account.
What you would see if you weren’t logged into your account.

Once on the trip details page, you will select “modify flight” to make any changes to the flight.

On the modify flights page, you will be shown the options of changing the flight and canceling the flight. Both will display the corresponding fees that are associated with the flight you want to modify. Since we want to change the flight, you will select “start flight change”.

You are now able to select one flight, all flights, or add a flight onto the same itinerary. Then you are able to edit the airports and dates if needed. There is even an option to purchase refundable tickets instead of purchasing non-refundable tickets.

Do note, you aren’t able to change names. To change names go back to the trip details page and edit the names. If you cannot change the names under trip details, contact Delta Airlines at +1 800-221-1212.

Once you select the new flights, your new itinerary will be generated with the prices per passenger and the total. New flights subtracted from the original fare.

You will need to provide a method of payment like credit/debit, gift card, or eCredit and at this time you can select seats. Once you have verified all the changes, click “complete change” and you will be all set.

You will instantly receive an email confirming the changes and the changes will show up in your trip details.


How to cancel a Delta flight online

Log in to your account. You will be redirected to Delta’s homepage. Select “My Trips” from the top, and your next upcoming flight will show. If you have more than one flight that is upcoming and don’t see it, you can select “view all trips” on the lower left-hand corner.

Select “view trip details” to take you to your reservation. (If you’re not logged in, you can search for your flight by your confirmation, credit/debit card, or ticket number.)

What you would see while logged into your account.
What you would see if you weren’t logged into your account.

Once on the trip details page, you will select “modify flight” to make any changes to the flight.

On the modify flights page, you will be displayed with the options of changing a flight and canceling a flight. Both will show the corresponding fees that are associated with the flight you want to modify. Since we want to cancel the flight, you will select “start flight cancellation”.

Notice how there are no fees? There will be no fees if you cancel or change within 24 hours of your ticket purchase or if you have a refundable ticket.

On the next page, it will list the flight(s) that are on the itinerary you want to cancel. You will press “cancel” or “request refund” depending on your type of ticket.

Example of a refundable ticket.
Example of a non-refundable ticket.

On the next page, you will be presented the flight information again with the ability to select passengers tickets you want to cancel or keep. It will also display the fee associated with the cancellation or if you’re eligible for a free cancellation and refund. To cancel the flight, you will select “cancel trip” or “request refund”.

Do note, the fee is per passenger.

You will instantly receive an email with the cancellation confirmation. You can also check your receipt under “My Receipts” in your Delta account.


Canceling or changing a Delta flight on the phone

You can make changes or cancel a flight over the phone with Delta.

  • General Sales and Service +1 800-221-1212
  • SkyMiles Members +1 800-323-2323
  • Ticket Refunds (Mon-Fri 8am – 7am ET) +1 800-847-0578
  • Hearing & Speech Impaired (TDD) +1 800-831-4488

How to get Delta fees waived

Delta is one of the most lenient airlines to get fees waived no matter if you’re holding status or not.

If you have a specific reason to cancel the flight like you or an immediate family members death or sickness, Delta will waive the fees. You might have to provide proof. If you don’t fall into either of those categories above, you can call Delta and request the fees to be waived. That will usually be up to the representative’s digression, but sometimes they waive the fees for being nice and having a good reason.

If you don’t fall into one of those reasons, Medallion members can get certain fees waived. Platinum and Diamond Medallions have award redeposit/reissue fees waived. Being able to not pay award tickets fees for cancellations or changes is a really nice benefit to be flexible. Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Medallion have same-day confirmed and standby fees waived.


Third-party ticket change or cancel

If you bought your flight through a vacation or hotel package and want to change/cancel the ticket. Then, additional fees may apply. The third-party ticketer might charge an extra fee. If you change or cancel the ticket directly with Delta and not the third-party ticketer, you will be charged an extra $50 on top of the original change/cancellation fees.


Additional Delta Airlines tips

If you love flying Delta Airlines and have a stash of SkyMiles, then you should check out my 15 best ways to redeem Delta SkyMiles. In that article, I talk about some of the best ways to use SkyMiles and where it can take you.

If your flight is delayed and need compensation, check out Daniel’s article on flight delay compensation for US carriers like Delta.


Final word

With airlines raising and implementing new fees each year, these fees and policies for changing flights or canceling them will become stricter. While I don’t change flights much, it only takes one flight that you need to cancel and realize you still have to pay a giant fee on top of the ever so growing airline ticket prices.

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