Travelers flying with Delta over the next two months will be able to re-book their trips more than two years out, the airline announced on Friday.
The airline, which counts Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport as one of its major hubs, has said that its new policy is available to anyone with travel already booked in April or May 2020, or who has existing eCredits or canceled flights from March-May.
With the COVID-19 crisis still severely impacting air travel and with many Americans being told to stay at home, those with travel plans can now re-book their flights as far out as May 2022 – a significant extension on the usual 12-month period offered by airlines.
Meanwhile, new tickets bought between March 1 and May 31, 2020, can be changed without a change fee for up to a year from the date of purchase.
It's possible that those with flights booked in April and May 2020 may end up having their flights canceled, in which case passengers are entitled to a full refund.
Those whose flights aren't canceled but don't wish to fly due to the COVID-19 outbreak are typically being offered airline credits or the chance to re-book without change fees.
However, U.S. airlines are coming under increased pressure to offer full cash refunds to passengers who wish to cancel their flights rather than reschedule, particularly given the financial pressure many U.S. families are now under.
A group of senators including Minnesota's Amy Klobuchar wrote a letter calling for an option of either cash refunds or travel vouchers, considering that the airline industry is in line for a $25 billion federal bailout due to the COVID-19 shutdowns.
"We write to urge your airline to issue full cash refunds to all customers who cancel their flights during the COVID-19 crisis, and to American citizens who encounter flight cancellations while stranded in countries that implemented travel restrictions," they wrote.
"Americans need money now to pay for basic necessities, not temporary credits towards future travel."
There have also been reports that some airlines are offering only travel vouchers even when flights are canceled, despite this being against federal law, which prompted the Department of Transportation on Friday to order airlines to provide refunds for cancelations.