7 Things to Know About Delta’s Flight Delay Compensation Policy
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.
Flight delays are common and they may happen when you least expect them. When it comes to federal rules requiring U.S. airlines to compensate travelers for regular delays—there aren’t any.
However, each airline can outline its policies for handling these situations. For example, when flying with Delta Air Lines, in some cases, the airline may compensate inconvenienced travelers for expenses such as an overnight hotel stay for delays that stretch overnight.
If you’re planning to fly with Delta soon, you should study the brand’s policies to know what to expect regarding Delta flight delay compensation. Here are seven things you should know:
1. Airlines, including Delta, aren’t required to provide compensation for delays
The U.S. Department of Transportation outlines rules that airlines must follow. And the DOT states that airlines aren’t required to compensate for delays for flights departing the U.S.
Due to recent DOT proposals, consumer protections for flight cancellations may change this fall.
Each airline can outline policies for handling flight disruption and delays. So it’s a good idea to be familiar with your carrier’s policies before you head to the airport. Luckily, Delta is known for being generous, and in some cases, you may qualify for Delta flight delay compensation.
» Learn more: The best airline credit cards right now
2. Delta will keep customers informed about delays
Delta is committed to making customers aware of known delays, cancellations and diversions. According to the airline’s customer commitment, the airline will alert customers within thirty minutes of becoming aware of the change of status of the flight.
This includes displaying updates on boarding gate signs, flight information display screens at airports, and on the Delta website and app. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the status of your flight so you know what to expect.
3. Delta will rebook you on the next available flight
If you experience a delay, cancellation or other operational disruptions, Delta will automatically attempt to rebook you on the next available flight. The airline will also make every reasonable effort to reroute your checked baggage on the same flight.
4. If you’re inconvenienced overnight, Delta will provide hotel accommodations or offer compensation
Delta’s customer commitment outlines what the airline will do if delays, cancellations or irregular operations result in you being inconvenienced overnight.
The airline promises to do the following:
Delta will provide hotel accommodations at Delta contracted facilities based on availability if you are inconvenienced overnight while away from your home or destination due to a delay, misconnect or cancellation within Delta’s control.
If accommodations are unavailable, the airline will compensate you with a transportation credit commensurate in value with the contracted hotel rate up to $100.
5. You can ask for compensation
If you experience extended delays or other significant travel disruptions while flying with Delta, you should ask a staff member if they will offer compensation.
Keep the above policies in mind and see what the airline will do for you. The Transportation Department notes that even though airlines aren’t required to offer compensation, customers may ask for it.
If you end up paying for hotel or transit costs out of pocket due to a delay, keep your receipts and submit a claim through the airline. You can ask Delta Air Lines to reimburse you for these added travel costs. You may also consider asking for some Delta SkyMiles for the inconvenience.
If you don’t ask or aren’t offered compensation, additional food, hotel and transit costs will be your responsibility—making your trip much more expensive.
6. Travel insurance can protect you even more
If you’re worried about the potential for flight delays, you may want to invest in travel insurance.
With the right travel insurance policy, you may be able to file a claim for compensation for expenses resulting from travel delays and disruptions.
You can purchase coverage through a travel insurance agency. However, comparing travel insurance policies is a good idea before buying one.
You should also compare coverage details to ensure you get the right policy for your needs. There are several resources available that will allow you to compare policies from different insurance companies.
Travel insurance could be a beneficial backup resource since flight delay compensation isn’t guaranteed and requires additional steps.
» Learn more: How to find the best travel insurance
7. Your travel card may already include travel insurance benefits
Some premium travel cards include travel insurance coverage as a card benefit. If you use an eligible card to book your Delta tickets, you may be able to file a claim to receive compensation for extra expenses not covered by Delta due to flight delays.
The exact coverage offered varies by card but may include coverage for trip delays, trip interruptions, baggage delays and lost baggage.
Some examples of travel cards with travel insurance benefits include:
» Learn more: Credit cards that provide travel insurance
Review your policy before your trip if you have a card with these perks. It’s important to know what’s covered and whether there are any exclusions before you make a claim.
The bottom line
No one likes dealing with travel delays, but they do happen. Delta may offer compensation depending on the situation and severity of your flight delay. However, the airline isn’t required to compensate customers in most cases.
You can ask the airline what they will do for you if you experience lengthy travel disruptions. To better protect yourself, consider investing in a travel insurance policy.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card