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There are several situations when you might want to cancel a confirmed flight on Delta Air Lines. A new job, an addition to the family, an injury or a health emergency can end travel plans in a moment.
Over the last year, many U.S. airlines, including Delta, implemented flyer-friendly policies that help travelers cancel most flights painlessly and without a charge. Still, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the nuances of the recent policy, including how to cancel a Delta flight online and how much it costs to cancel a Delta flight.
Delta’s flight cancellation policy
Delta’s flight cancellation policy is most easily understood by knowing what fare restrictions exist by ticket type. These types are as follows:
Basic economy (most restrictive).
Nonrefundable (some restrictions).
Refundable (most flexible).
Secondary to ticket type is the window of time in which you cancel your trip. The airline recommends that all cancellations happen prior to departure.
Here’s its flight cancellation policy:
Basic economy ticket*
Nonrefundable ticket for travel originating in North America
Nonrefundable ticket for travel originating outside of North America
Within 24 hours of booking
After 24 hours of booking
Remaining value minus $200-$500 cancellation fee.
Within 24 hours of flight departure
Remaining value minus $200-$500 cancellation fee.
*Starting July 28 and for travel through Dec. 31, 2021, customers booked in basic economy seats can make changes to their flights (which isn't normally permitted). This policy was enacted to help address call wait times.
How to cancel a Delta flight
Introverts, rejoice, as the easiest way to cancel a Delta flight is online. Log in to your Delta SkyMiles account, go to My Trips and select the trip you want to change or cancel. Click the "Modify flight" button and proceed with the cancellation.
Another way to cancel a Delta flight is by calling reservations at 800-221-1212. However, this method might be time-consuming, especially given staffing issues or if there's a severe weather event. Both factors can affect phone wait times.
If the hold queues for reservations are too long and you can’t get an agent on the phone, it’s possible to cancel a Delta ticket through an online chat session. Message Delta and request a flight cancellation.
If your flight qualifies for the free cancellation policy, you’ll receive an eCredit toward your next booking.
How much does it cost to cancel a Delta flight?
The cost to cancel a Delta flight depends on when you want to cancel and the type of fare you purchased. Not all fares are treated equally, so let’s take a look at how much it costs to cancel a Delta flight.
Any fare type within 24 hours of booking: $0
Passengers who cancel a flight within 24 hours of purchase are entitled to a full refund back to the credit card, no matter what type of ticket they booked.
Basic economy fare after grace period: $0, normally ticket price
Previously, passengers who purchased Delta basic economy tickets by April 30, 2021, fell under the COVID-19 travel waiver, which allowed free cancellation in exchange for a travel voucher, or an eCredit in the amount of the original cost of the ticket.
Basic economy tickets for travel through Dec. 31, 2021, are eligible for cancellation at no cost. Normally, and resuming in 2022, basic economy ticket holders will lose the value of their ticket if it’s canceled outside of the 24-hour booking window.
» Learn more: How to use flight credits on Delta Air Lines
Nonrefundable fare after grace period for travel that originates in North America: $0
A cancellation fee is waived on domestic Delta tickets, including to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, purchased after Aug. 31, 2020; international flights that originate in North America purchased after Dec. 9, 2020; and flights between the U.S. and Mexico or the Caribbean.
The value is distributed as an eCredit to spend on future flights with the airline.
Nonrefundable fare after grace period for travel that originates outside of North America: $200-plus
Beyond the 24-hour booking window, canceling a nonrefundable ticket will incur a cancellation fee that starts at $200 and depends on your itinerary. This up-to-$500 fee will be deducted from the original cost of your flight, and you’ll receive the remaining value of the ticket as an eCredit to spend on future Delta travel.
Refundable fares: $0
To get a refund, your ticket must have been purchased with a credit card, cash or check. The refund will be issued to your original payment method. You can apply for a refund on the Delta website.
» Learn more: Your guide to earning Delta Air Lines SkyMiles
Award tickets booked with Delta SkyMiles
You can cancel a Delta award ticket for free up to 10 minutes prior to departure time without having to pay a mileage redeposit fee (which was a hefty $150 prior to the pandemic). Miles redeemed on basic economy award tickets aren't refundable unless they’re canceled within 24 hours of booking.
How to cancel award tickets booked with Delta SkyMiles
Log in to your Delta SkyMiles account, navigate to My Trips at the top and click "View trip details" for the award flight you'd like to cancel.
From there, click "Modify flight" and "Start flight cancellation," then follow the steps.
» Learn more: How much are my Delta SkyMiles worth?
Delta’s no-show policy
What happens if you miss a Delta flight without canceling it first?
No-shows on tickets booked after March 31, 2021, will lose the value of the ticket. For this reason, it’s best to cancel or change a flight if you know in advance that you can’t make it, especially now that many flight cancellations are free of charge.
» Learn more: Which Delta Air Lines credit card should you get?
If you need to cancel a Delta flight
You have options when canceling your Delta flight, no matter the reason. Most fares for travel originating in North America, except basic economy, are eligible for free cancellations, which means the risk of losing your money is low. Just remember to change or cancel your flight before it’s considered a no-show to keep the ticket’s value for future travel.
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 2021, 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