Hoping to spark bookings in the coming months and beyond, Delta Air Lines announced the complete elimination of change fees when flying from North America to any international destination on a Delta ticket. The move, which is sure to be received with excitement by potential overseas vacationers, has already been matched by American Airlines and United Airlines.
At the same time, Delta extended its no change fees waiver to all destinations, domestic and international, for all tickets purchased by March 30, 2021. That date is also the current end of the Atlanta-based carrier’s commitment to block middle and select aisle seats in order to ensure adequate onboard passenger sepatation during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. With the first vaccines having just been approved in the U.S., it remains to be seen if the empty seat policy will continue into the spring, and perhaps summer months.
Yours truly has already taken advantage of Delta’s new policy by booking a twice postponed European getaway for a third, and hopefully final time. With our new departure date of September 3 to Vienna via Amsterdam, we are crossing our fingers that vaccine distribution will be quickly implemented and successful. Some industry analysts are projecting a return to “normal” flight operations, probably with fewer flights initially, by mid-summer.
The airline’s press release specifies the goal of “making it easier for cutomers to book next year’s spring break or summer vacation with the confidence of knowing that they can change their plans at any time, regardless of the type of ticket they booked or where they are flying.” Only Basic Economy fares which are non-changeable and non-refundable, are excluded from this promotion.
It should be noted that United’s new policy is less generous than both American’s and Delta’s. If an AA or DL ticket is changed and the new ticket is less costly, both carriers will offer a travel voucher for the price differential, applicable to a future trip. United pockets the difference, believing that an itinerary change for a cheaper ticket is somehow an even exchange.
So, if you’ve been sitting on the fence about when is the best time to purchase an international ticket for post-COVID travel, now may just be the time to solidify your plans. With no financial risk, your next getaway to Europe, Central or South America, or other parts of the world may be just months away.