Delta becomes the latest airline to tighten its refund policy

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many would-be flyers have
decided to postpone or cancel their flights.

And because of all the future uncertainty surrounding the
pandemic, airlines have been much more liberal about
flight changes
. Most have issued
flexible travel waivers
for those looking to rebook travel or
hold on to
travel funds for future use
. Some, like Southwest, have even
introduced the capability to convert
credits into frequent flyer points
.

But if you prefer a refund, the rules are clear — if your
flight to, from or within the U.S. is canceled or significantly
rescheduled, you’re
entitled to a refund
.

That’s thanks to Department of Transporation (DOT) policy. But
the DOT doesn’t explicitly state what constitutes
“significant.”
And as we’ve seen throughout the pandemic,
some carriers have redefined what exactly “significant”
means.

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Delta’s revised schedule change refund policy

The latest policy update comes from Delta. The Atlanta-based
carrier previously issued refunds for itineraries that were

changed by 90 or more minutes
.

But as of July 30, Delta’s
tightening the rule
. Now, for any U.S. domestic tickets issued
on or after July 30, 2020, you’re only eligible for a refund if
the flight is canceled or changed by 120 minutes or more. (The
revised rule doesn’t apply to international tickets.)

Delta ticket
counters (Photo by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy)

Though this is just a 30-minute bump from the previous policy,
it’s important to note that this is Delta getting stricter about
refunds.

Related:
These airlines have been the worst — and best — about
refunds

However, it’s great that Delta isn’t applying this rule
retroactively, and they’ll still offer refunds if your flight
goes from nonstop to connecting. Additionally, Delta’s been one
of the
best carriers about providing refunds during the pandemic
, so
hopefully that won’t change with this policy update.

How this change compares to American, United

Aside from the fact that Delta’s change isn’t being applied
retroactively, a 30-minute bump is relatively minor compared to the
other major U.S. carriers.

American Airlines made a
very similar update
to its schedule change policy earlier this
year. As of April 8, AA will only refund nonrefundable tickets that
were changed by four or more hours. Like Delta, this update
doesn’t apply retroactively, but it does represent a two-hour
increase from the previous policy. (For tickets issued before April
8, you could get a refund if your flight was changed by two or more
hours.)

Related: United’s
back to issuing refunds for 2-hour schedule
changes

And then we have United. The Chicago-based carrier made multiple
changes to its schedule change policy
throughout the pandemic.
It irked customers when it went from a two-hour schedule change
policy to a 25-hour one.

Delta jets
at JFK (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

UA then backtracked to six hours but decided
to redefine the meaning of a “canceled†flight
. As such,
even if your flight was canceled, you couldn’t get a refund if
United reaccommodated you within six hours.

Related: You
are entitled to a refund for your canceled flight — even if the
airline says you aren’t

Fortunately, that’s all behind us since United went
back to issuing refunds for 2-hour schedule changes
on June 6.
And United will retroactively convert vouchers into refunds for
those who weren’t given their money back during the saga.

Bottom line

Getting a refund for a canceled flight isn’t too hard.
You’ll need to wait for
the airline to cancel your flight
(don’t make any voluntary
changes.)

But what happens if instead of canceling your flight, the
airline changes the departure or arrival time? Well, that’s
considered a
schedule change
and falls under a
different set of rules
.

Delta’s become the latest carrier to restrict refunds for
schedule changes. Previously, you’d be eligible for a refund for
a 90-minute change, but now it’s up to two hours.

Though the 30-minute bump is certainly noteworthy, I’m not
necessarily faulting Delta for inching closer toward the industry
average.

For more refund-related coverage, check out:

Featured photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty
Images

Source: FS – All-Travel destinations-News2
Delta becomes the latest airline to tighten its refund
policy