How to Cancel or Change a Delta Air Lines Flight (Cash & Points Tickets) – September 2023
Do you need to cancel or change a Delta flight? Your rebooking and refund options depend on several factors, including your fare type and how recently you bought your ticket.
It’s possible to reschedule or cancel your itinerary fee-free in many situations. Familiarizing yourself with Delta’s cancellation policy can help you make an informed decision to avoid extra fees and stress. Here are several ways to adjust your travel schedule online or by phone.
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Delta Air Lines Change and Cancellation Policy
Main Cabin or above fare types have the most flexibility with being voluntarily canceled and either being refunded or receiving an eCredit to redeem for another Delta flight ticket. Here is a closer look at when you can be eligible for a refund or flight credit.
|Time Period||Basic Economy||* Non-Refundable Fares||** Non-Refundable Fares||Refundable Fares|
|Within 24 Hours of Booking||No Charge/Full Refund||No Charge/Full Refund||No Charge/Full Refund||No Charge/Full Refund|
|After 24 Hours of Booking||Not Allowed (except for select fares originating abroad)||eCredit for the Full Ticket Value||eCredit for the Remaining Value Minus a Maximum $400 Cancellation Fee||Full Refund|
|Within 24 Hours of Departure||Not Allowed||eCredit for the Full Ticket Value||eCredit for the Remaining Value Minus a Maximum $400 Cancellation Fee||Full Refund|
24-Hour Risk-Free Cancellation
All flight tickets booked directly from the airline can be canceled penalty-free within 24 hours of the purchase time. Basic Economy fares are fully-refundable within the first 24 hours as well.
Specifically, Delta’s policy states: “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.”
The Vacationer Tip
You must contact your travel agent or third-party booking site to cancel when you don’t book through the Delta app or website.
Qualifying flights include those booked on the Delta App or delta.com. You can cancel your itinerary by visiting the “My Trips” section within your membership accounts. Flights booked with miles may need to be canceled by contacting Delta Reservations.
The refund returns to the original payment method, such as your travel credit card or SkyMiles balance. This policy also applies to Miles + Cash bookings, so you don’t have to worry about your cash portion being converted into SkyMiles to receive a refund.
Your entire ticket is refundable and this airline policy is similar to the federal-level 24-Hour Cancellation Rule that all US-based carriers follow.
Basic Economy Fares
In most cases, Basic Economy tickets are non-changeable and non-refundable after the initial 24-hour refund window. Therefore, only book these itineraries if you’re comfortable losing your entire purchase amount if you voluntarily cancel.
However, there are a few exceptions:
- For travel within the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands: Flights are fully refundable when canceled during the initial 24 hours. After that, a $99 cancellation fee applies and the remaining ticket amount is reimbursed as an eCredit.
- When travel originates outside the U.S. or Canada: The cancellation and change fee is from $99 to $200, depending on the origin country. Travel originating in Mexico cannot be canceled at his fare level.
- Basic Economy Award Tickets: Domestic travel can be canceled for 9,900 miles and international journeys for 19,900 miles. Then, the remaining balance deposits into your SkyMiles account.
- Death of an Immediate Family Member: The death of an immediate family member or a travel companion can also qualify for a refund when you can show valid proof.
In addition to the inflexibility, this entry-level fare doesn’t earn SkyMiles or count toward the Medallion status requirements.
After the 24-hour cancellation window closes, non-refundable fares in the Main Cabin or above are eligible for a Delta Air Lines eCredit if you’re not ready to book a replacement flight.
This travel credit can be used toward the cost of a Delta flight and government-imposed taxes or fees. Delta eCredits usually expire after one year.
If you reschedule immediately, you may need to pay the price difference if your new flight costs more than the original booking. Assuming it’s cheaper than the original booking, you receive a Delta eCredit for the remaining amount.
There are no change or cancellation fees for most itineraries.
Notable exceptions are Asia, Latin America, and Oceania where the change and cancellation fee can be as high as $400.
This fare type can be fully refundable in extreme circumstances such as the death of an immediate family member or a travel companion. Proof of claim is likely to validate your refund request. Contact Delta if you believe you have a qualifying situation.
You can receive a full refund to the original funding method (cash or miles) so long as you voluntarily cancel before the first leg of travel starts. This fare type is equivalent to “cancel for any reason” travel insurance.
There are no change fees or redeposit fees for award tickets for travel originating within the United States and the Caribbean. Changes must be made before departure and this fee waiver only applies to the Main Cabin or higher.
A $150 redeposit fee still applies to award tickets and mileage upgrades originating outside North America.
Additionally, Basic Economy award tickets have a change and cancellation fee of 9,900 miles for domestic itineraries and 19,900 miles for international itineraries.
If Delta cancels your flight or it’s significantly delayed, the airline will first attempt to find an alternate itinerary.
When rebooking isn’t possible, you have three compensation options:
- Adjust your itinerary in My Trips for a later date
- Receive an eCredit for your flight and eligible upgrades
- Request a refund to the original form of payment
You can apply for a refund here. Most refunds are issued for domestic credit and debit purchases within seven business days. Cash and check payments take up to 20 business days to be reimbursed.
Main Cabin or higher fare types are eligible for same-day flight changes within 24 hours of the original departure time. This feature is available in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
There are two different standby tiers:
- Same-Day Standby Confirmed: Can change to a seat in the same fare class with a confirmed seat on a new flight. A starting fee of $75 fee but it is complimentary for Diamond, Platinum, and Gold Medallion members.
- Same-Day Standby: May wait for an available seat earlier than your original flight. This tier is free for all passengers but only offered when Same-Day Confirmed is unavailable.
Passengers forfeit the value of their ticket when they don’t attempt to change or cancel their ticket before departure time.
If you’re in this situation, access the trip itinerary on delta.com or the airline app to make adjustments.
Contacting customer support can be a better option if you have an extenuating circumstance that can potentially be eligible for a refund, even with non-refundable tickets. To be clear, Delta’s contract of carriage is vague about which events can qualify, such as military orders or the death of a loved one. The airline evaluates situations on a case-by-case basis.
Exit EU Compensation
The European Union tends to have stronger air passenger protections when travel from an EU city is disrupted. As a result, you can request a refund or compensation for additional expenses in these instances:
- Delays exceeding five hours
- Canceled flights
- Overbooked flights
How to Change or Cancel a Delta Flight
Follow these steps to cancel or change your Delta-operated flight.
Visit Your Delta Account
First, head to Delta.com or open the Delta Air Lines app. You can also call Delta Reservations at 800-221-1212 if that’s easier for your situation, although this contact method can be more time-consuming.
As a reminder, you must contact Delta Vacations if your flight is part of a vacation package. The same goes for using an online travel agency instead of booking directly from the airline.
Look Up Your Flight
Visit the “My Trips” tab after logging into your account. Another option is finding your itinerary by confirmation number, ticket number, or credit card/debit card number.
Select Change or Cancel
After retrieving your affected itinerary, you can choose to cancel or change a flight.
When it’s less than 24 hours since securing the fare, you can request a full refund.
You will pay the price difference upfront plus any applicable change fees if changing. Thankfully, most travel originating from North America doesn’t encounter fees, including last-minute itinerary changes.
If you decide to cancel, non-refundable fares receive an eCredit that’s for one year after the original ticket issue date. You can redeem up to five eCredits per person when you’re ready to rebook.
Receive a Refund
If you have a refundable fare or an award ticket, the redeemed SkyMiles will redeposit into your loyalty account. It can take up to seven days to process most refunds.
Yes, all flights booked directly through Delta can be canceled within the initial 24 hours and receive a full refund. This benefit provides flexibility if you find a better fare or have “buyer’s remorse.”
After the 24-hour free cancellation period ends, only refundable fares are eligible for cash or point refunds. Non-refundable fares receive an eCredit that expires one year from the original ticket purchase date.
You can avoid the cancellation and change fees by canceling within the first 24 hours. The other option is to book a fare in the main or premium cabin and cancel before departure.
Be advised that change and cancellation fees still apply for international travel originating from Central America, South America, Oceania, and Asia. Eligible domestic and international Basic Economy fares also incur cancellation fees.
The cancellation fee is $0 during the first 24 hours after booking. After that, the cancellation fee is $99 for travel within the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The cancellation charge is $199 for international flights.
eCredits for canceled domestic and international flights expire one year from the original ticket issue date. The sooner you cancel the flight the better as you have more time to reschedule and avoid losing your credit balance.
The airline has previously extended eCredit expiration dates due to the pandemic. One of the most recent extensions is for all existing credits to expire on December 31, 2023, for travel through 2024.
The Vacationer’s Final Thoughts
Delta Air Lines doesn’t charge a fee for most flight changes and cancellations, but your fare type determines if you receive an eCredit or a full refund. In most cases, you won’t incur fees when your travel originates within North America.
You should also watch out for change and cancellation fees for international flights originating outside the United States or Canada and any Basic Economy flight. So, as one example, these fees could impact a return trip from Europe.
When you need to adjust your itinerary, time is valuable. Getting a full refund within the first day after booking your flight is possible. After that, you can quickly compare your options through the Delta site or app to make fee-free changes.
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