Delta Air Lines: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Latest Updates – Cancellation Policies, Status Changes, Routes, and More

Delta Air Lines Plane
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Like many other airlines, Delta Air Lines has been seriously impacted by COVID-19. If you have an upcoming trip booked with Delta, you might be wondering a few things about your trip — as well as your elite status.

What are your options for changing or canceling your trip? If you have to fly, are there any lounges open? What precautions is Delta taking to keep you safe during your flight? Will you still be able to maintain your Delta Medallion elite status?

This article will answer all of your COVID-19 questions related to Delta Air Lines.

Cancellation Policies

Delta has offered a more flexible change policy and waived change fees for all tickets except Basic Economy in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. These policies apply to both paid and award tickets — including non-refundable tickets.

We’ve broken down Delta’s change and cancellation policies due to COVID-19 in great detail. Click the link for full details, along with the other airlines’ policies.

Loyalty Extensions/Status Upgrades

Delta knows that you will be flying less as a result of COVID-19. Thankfully, it is offering some concessions for its customers. For example, Medallion Elite statuses will be extended through January 31, 2023, lounge passes will be extended, and MQMs from 2020 have been rolled over to 2021.

Explore our specific elite status extension details for Delta, along with what other airlines are granting for their elite status travelers.

Credit Card Incentives

Delta is extending certain benefits because of the impact of the pandemic:

Delta Vacations

If you have made your vacation plans through Delta Vacations, it has updated its travel change and cancellation policy.

If your travel dates and/or destination is impacted, you will receive an event waiver from Delta Air Lines. This waiver allows you to cancel your existing vacation and receive a travel voucher for the original package value. Vouchers issued during this pandemic are valid for bookings made through December 31, 2022, for travel by December 31, 2022.

If you need to change or cancel your Delta Vacations reservation (for air, hotel, and car), you can manage your booking within My Trips on Delta’s website or by calling 800-800-1504. If you booked through a travel agent, you must contact them directly.

Flight Reductions and Cancellations

The Delta Discover Map lists destinations that the airline is currently flying to, along with any associated requirements.

Domestic

On Delta’s Q2 2021 earnings release, it noted that “domestic leisure travel is fully recovered to 2019 levels and there are encouraging signs of improvement in business…travel.”

There were 11 airports affected by COVID-19 that Delta no longer services. Those airports include:

  • Aspen, CO (ASE)
  • Bangor, ME (BGR)
  • Erie, PA (ERI)
  • Flint, MI (FNT)
  • Fort Smith, AR (FSM)
  • Lincoln, NE (LNK)
  • New Bern/Morehead/Beaufort, NC (EWN)
  • Peoria, IL (PIA)
  • Santa Barbara, CA (SBA)
  • Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, PA (AVP)
  • Williston, ND (XWA)

International

During Delta’s Q2 earnings release noted above, it announced new routes in response to increasing travel demand, including:

  • Nonstop Dubrovnik (DBV) service from New York (JFK) (previously unserved by Delta)
  • Nonstop Seoul (ICN) service from Portland (PDX)
  • Nonstop Athens (ATL) service from Atlanta (ATL)
  • Nonstop Reykjavik (RKV) service from Boston (BOS)

For a complete listing of impacted international schedules, see Delta’s website.

Important Delta News

On August 21, 2020, Delta announced that they would be testing nearly 100 percent of employees for COVID-19.

Delta received governmental aid as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Under the terms of this $50 billion aid, all airlines — including Delta — were barred from cutting jobs through September 30, 2020.

Of the $50 billion, Delta received $5.4 billion in the form of a direct grant of $3.8 billion and a low-interest rate loan of $1.6 billion. It also noted that “the U.S. Treasury will receive warrants to purchase over 6.5 million shares of Delta common stock at a strike price of $24.39 with a 5-year maturity.”

The second round of support came in December 2020 totaling $15 billion in aid for airlines.

On March 10, 2021, the third round of support came with the passing of the American Rescue Plan. This included roughly $15 billion in aid for commercial airlines. This news came with the stipulation that airlines would not be able to furlough, layoff, or reduce salaries for employees through September 30, 2021.

Delta Sky Club Lounges Open

All Delta Sky Club Lounges have reopened as of June 2021. Effective May 4, 2020, all individuals entering Delta Sky Club lounges will also be required to wear a face covering.

While these lounges remain open, offerings will vary based on local regulations. There are hot and cold food offerings at each location, along with alcohol offerings.

Safety Changes

Additional safety precautions have been made as a result of the pandemic.

COVID Testing Delta Flights
Image Credit: Delta

Food and Beverage Service

All glassware, including coffee mugs and champagne flutes, has been removed. Hot towel service has been temporarily suspended in all cabins. Additional food and beverage service has been altered based on the duration of your flight.

U.S. Domestic and International Flights to Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, and Central America
CabinFlights From 251 to 499 MilesFlights From 500 to 1,500 Miles
Main Cabin

Delta Comfort+

  • Snack selection (sweet/savory options)
  • Coffee, tea, and 8-ounce bottled water
  • Delta Comfort+ customers will receive complimentary beer and wine service
  • Snack selection (sweet/savory options)
  • Delta Comfort+ will receive complimentary beer and wine service
  • Alcohol for purchase using tap-to-pay
  • Coffee, tea, Coca-Cola mini cans, and juice
First Class

Delta One

  • Snack selection (sweet/savory options)
  • Coffee, tea, and 8-ounce bottled water
  • Complimentary beer and wine service
  • Other beverages, including Coca-Cola mini cans, juices, and mixers
  • Snack selection (sweet/savory options)
  • Complimentary beer and wine service
  • Coffee, tea, Coca-Cola mini cans, and juice
  • First Class snack boxes available on flights over 900+ miles
Long-Haul International Flights
CabinFood and Beverage Service Provided
Main Cabin

Delta Comfort+

  • Choice of entree, along with dessert
  • Full selection of beverage options, including beer, spirits, and a limited selection of wine
Delta Premium Select
  • Choice of entree, along with salad, bread, and dessert
  • Full selection of beverage offerings, including beer, spirits, and a limited selection of wine
Delta One
  • Pre-departure beverage offering will be individual bottled water
  • Choice of entree, bread, and dessert selection
  • Full selection of beverage offerings, including beer, spirits, and a limited selection of wine

Delta states that “as always, customers are welcome to bring their own food and beverage on board to enjoy during their travels.”

Seating Arrangements

As of May 1, 2021, Delta no longer blocks seats.

Disinfection Changes

Delta Fogging Aircraft
Delta’s line maintenance crew disinfect the surfaces of the cabin. Image Credit: Delta Air Lines

Per Delta, as of the week of May 7, 2020, Delta is sanitizing every flight using electrostatic sprayers. These sprayers use a disinfectant that is highly effective against many communicable diseases. Following this, the cleaning crew will still complete “an extensive checklist of cleaning procedures” that includes wiping down areas “including seats, consoles, seatback screens, windows, doors, lavatories, and other high-touch areas of the cabin.”

Off of the plane, additional sanitization efforts are being taken at reservation centers, check-in kiosks and counters, employee work and break areas in airports, pilot and flight attendant lounges, and office spaces using this same procedure.

For more information on disinfecting efforts, see Delta’s website.

Face Masks

Flight Attendants

As of April 28, 2020, Delta requires masks for all flight attendants.

Passengers

As of May 4, 2020, all passengers are required to wear a face-covering (or mask) “starting in the check-in lobby and across Delta touch points including Delta Sky Clubs, boarding gate areas, jet bridges, and onboard the aircraft for the duration of the flight — except during meal service.” This policy applies whether you have been vaccinated or not.

The CDC mandates face mask usage inside the airport, including security lines and restrooms. People unable to keep a face covering in place, including children under 2, are exempt.

There has been further clarification of the Delta mask policy, stating that “Any mask with an exhaust valve is not approved as an acceptable face mask for customers traveling on any Delta-operated flight.”

Boarding Process Changes

The boarding process for Delta flights has been adjusted as a result of the pandemic. This includes Delta One, Delta Premium Select, First Class, Delta Comfort+ and Sky Priority customers being invited to board first.

After, Main Cabin and Basic Economy customers will use dual-lane boarding from back to front to reduce the instances of customers needing to pass by one another to reach their seats.

Bottom Line: Passengers that require preboarding or are seated in Delta One or first class, as well as Diamond Medallion members, will not be impacted by this change.

COVID-19 Tests

With the additional testing requirements being placed on international travelers, Delta customers in the U.S. will be able to purchase at-home COVID-19 tests. They can administer 1 prior to departure, and pack another with them to comply with negative-test requirements before their trip back into the U.S. You won’t have to worry about finding a testing location abroad with this method, so this is definitely great news for Delta customers.

Fleet Changes

Delta retired the following fleet in response to COVID-19:

  • 18 wide-body Boeing 777s (8 777-200ERs and 10 777-200LRs)
  • 47 MD-88 (retirement accelerated from December 2020 to June 2020)
  • 29 MD-90 (retirement accelerated from December 2020 to June 2020)

As demand for travel is recovering, Delta announced that it entered into agreements in July 2021 to add 36 new aircraft to its fleet:

  • 29 used Boeing 737-900ERs
  • 7 leased used Airbus A350-900s

Final Thoughts

As you can see, Delta has tried to make the change and cancellation processes a bit simpler. It also knows that it will be harder than ever to meet the minimum requirements for Medallion elite status during the pandemic. Because of this, it has reduced requirements and extended vouchers — for those with elite status as well as Amex cardholders.

If you must travel, Delta has taken steps to keep you safe from your first interaction with Delta staff until you are safely at your destination. As the demand for travel returns, Delta has reopened all of its lounges, and food and beverage service onboard has returned.


Frequently asked questions

What is Delta's COVID-19 cancellation policy?

Delta has waived change fees for award and paid tickets — with the exception of Basic Economy tickets.

We’ve broken down Delta’s change and cancellation policies due to COVID-19 in great detail.

What precautions is Delta taking for COVID-19?

Delta has enhanced cleaning procedures, changed food and beverage service, and altered boarding to limit interactions. Face coverings are also required by both employees and passengers.

Do I need to take a COVID-19 test to fly on Delta?

If you are flying to a location that is requiring a negative COVID-19 test, Delta will ask for proof prior to boarding. See Delta’s travel site for more details on location-specific requirements.

Also note that you must show evidence of a negative COVID-19 test to travel back to the U.S. from international destinations.

Do I need to wear a mask on Delta?

Yes. Federal law requires every passenger (over the age of 2) to wear a mask at all times in the airport and throughout the flight. Refusing to wear a mask can result in denial of boarding, removal from the aircraft, and/or penalties under federal law.

Please click here to see Delta’s mask policy.

Christy Rodriguez

About Christy Rodriguez

Christy was born in St. Louis, Missouri, but lived in Texas the majority of her life. Now, work has her living in the Bay Area with her husband and yellow lab. Her first international travel experience was for a summer study abroad program in Italy. After that, she knew that she was destined to travel as much as possible. Luckily, her husband worked at Southwest Airlines, so they were introduced to the exciting world of “non-rev” travel.

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4 comments

  1. Anthony Aquino March 28, 2021

    Delta is serving a hot meal on its HNL to ATL route.

    Reply

    • Caryn Alvarado April 25, 2021

      Did they also have all beverages offered? Wine, champagne, liquor, etc?

      Reply

  2. When you are fully vaccinated, do you need to take a Covid test?

    Reply

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