Delta Air Lines has extended its credit validity through the end of 2023, giving customers another year of flexibility with their travel. As other airlines are preparing to sunset their pandemic-era flexibility and credit policies, Delta is extending their policy. All existing travel credits and future bookings will have the flexibility to rebook through 2023.
Delta extends the validity of credits
A policy initially instituted during the depths of the pandemic, Delta Air Lines has decided to extend its flexibility and rebooking policy regarding credits for canceled flights. Effective January 12th, all existing eCredits will be extended through December 31st, 2023, for rebooking. This will allow customers to book using those credits for travel through 2024.
The policy also extends to Delta Vacation customers with existing vouchers. Those plus all future trips will receive a travel credit extension of one year. Delta will communicate with those travelers regarding extensions.
Allison Ausband, Chief Customer Experience Officer, stated the following on the move:
“We want to ensure our customers enjoy peace of mind when booking or rebooking their Delta trips this year. This leading extension provides more time for customers to use their travel credits, so they can book with complete confidence that Delta has their back even when moments arise out of their control.”
Flexible travel policies continue
Despite the recovery continuing, Delta has taken a different stance compared to other airlines on its flexibility policies. While the airline has eliminated change fees, in line with other airlines, it has also been ahead of the pack in terms of other changes.
Delta previously extended travel credit validity from expiration in December 2021 to December 2022. This was unsurprising, as Delta made the move when the recovery had started, though it was clear that ongoing restrictions and uncertainty still impacted some travelers.
In a surprising move, Delta announced last summer that it was extending status for its elite members through January 31st, 2023, giving customers an extra year of status. However, customers who earned status in 2021 organically for 2022 would receive upgrade priority ahead of same-tier elites who received their status from an extension, and qualifying top-tier elites would also receive Choice Benefits.
The choppy recovery continues
Just a few months ago, it appeared that 2022 would be a year of continued recovery, and airlines were busy boosting their transatlantic summer schedules. However, recently, the global health trajectory has left airlines cautious about the recovery and left some travelers wondering whether they should book their trips or not.
The extension of credit validity has two benefits. The first is that it gives customers who currently have credits with Delta more time to book and stay loyal to Delta. The second, and arguably more important for the airline, is that it will give some customers more confidence to book travel knowing they have more flexibility. Whether this translates to more bookings remains to be seen.
Getting more passengers to book travel gives Delta a better idea of what its summer travel will look like and boost its revenue. The first quarter is typically one of the busier ones for customer bookings across the Atlantic, which is one of Delta’s key geographies. However, the airline still has a cautious eye towards its capacity in the market. The extended flexibility policy may be the impetus some travelers need to make bookings further out, giving Delta a better idea of what its summer operations could look like.