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Delta Air Lines cancellations

There is a least one thread about cancellations in general (How Are Your Refunds Going?), but I thought it might be helpful to start one that was more specific to one airline. (The thread mentioned had several descriptions of how things went with Delta, and they were mostly positive.)

First, let me say I like Delta. I think they have done a better job than many other airlines during the pandemic (and a better job generally before the pandemic).

I have run into one glitch, however, that bears a caution to others. The caution first: Do not try to cancel a flight online or through the app as Delta asks you to. I explain why below.

I had to cancel a domestic flight that was scheduled for late March and an international flight scheduled for late April. I did the domestic one first, but the online system actually would not complete the cancellation. This attempt was early in March as things were shutting down so I then tried calling, but really could not get through due to the wait times. Totally understandable. I tried sending a direct message through Twitter -- I have a Twitter account solely for this sort of thing -- and I got a response fairly quickly. I explained my situation and the reservation was cancelled and I got a full refund credited to my account within a few days.

I waited until later to try and cancel the international flight, as Delta asked its customers to wait until closer to the date of the flight. I tried to do so online again for two reasons: 1) Delta asked me to in its recorded messages and posts on its web site, and 2) I thought five or six weeks later that the system would work.

On this effort, it looked like my attempt would work. I got to a later screen that showed the amount of the full refund. When I hit the "submit" button, I got an error message that said the cancellation would not go through and that I would have to contact Delta. But then, almost simultaneously, I got an email confirming the cancellation and the $350 cancellation fee. Say what? The cancellation fee did not show on my screen when I hit "submit." In fact, it never showed.

I had been getting emails from Delta and seen public notices from the airline that stated that any cancellation fees had been waived for flights cancelled due to the virus. My cancellation was not a whim, either: The country I had a ticket to travel to had closed its borders to visitors from the U.S. and Delta had changed my flight (or actually, flights) so that one leg of the flight was scheduled to arrive after the next leg was scheduled to depart. That is, Delta had rescheduled my trip with a flight it was impossible for me to make.

Delta credited my account for the amount of my ticket within a few days, but less the $350 cancellation fee. I have been in contact with Delta three times since this took place to find out if I can expect this fee to be credited back to me. Unsuccessful so far, and I can tell by the signs that my refund request has dropped into a black hole in Delta's computer system. In my third contact, the CSR admitted that I should not have been charged the fee and that it resulted from the automated system. I suspect I will need to have more communications with Delta about this before there is any resolution. Hence my caution: Do not attempt any automated cancellation. Go through the steps to speak or communicate with a human person.

Posted by
1669 posts

I have a friend having the same problem with American. So my advice would be on any airline if you need to cancel it and it looks like it’s going to charge you a fee stop what you’re doing and call.

Posted by
2316 posts

Yes, if you want a refund, interact with a real person... call or Tweet @Delta.

Posted by
996 posts

I submitted my request to cancel/refund via the chat/text option on the Delta app. While that was easy enough as I had a real person on the other end of the text, I am still waiting to receive a yes/no on the refund. I did receive an email saying that the request had been received and that it might take 21 business days to process the request. I'm still within that 21 business days time frame, but I would love to know if this has been successfully resolved or not.

Your post has some good advice. Sorry that things didn't go smoothly. I hope that you're able to resolve the rest of it quickly & without too much hassle!!!

Posted by
1003 posts

Here is a summary of my recent favorable experience with Delta:

August 2019: Delta announced a new seasonal route from Boston to Manchester England

November 2019: Booked RS Best of England Tour for September 2020. Our plan was to visit Liverpool before the start of the tour. Therefore, the new BOS-MAN nonstop route was appealing to us.

January 2020: Purchased Delta multi-city tickets BOS - MAN 9/1/20 and return from Heathrow to Boston on 9/23/20.

Mid-April 2020: Noticed that the BOS-MAN route was not available for purchase on the Delta website or on Kayak. Flights available were 1 -stops through JFK or Atlanta.

4/26/20: Checked my reservation through Manage My Trips. The BOS-MAN flight was cancelled by Delta but no email was sent.

4/27/20: Requested refund from Delta on the phone. I could have obtained a no-fee credit from Delta on the website to be used by 9/30/22 but preferred the refund. Delta has a special phone number for cash refunds: 1-800-847-0578. The cash refund service is available Monday - Friday 8 AM to 7 PM.

4/28/20: Refund posted to credit card statement.

Overall, I am happy with how Delta handled this. This whole process was simplified by the fact that the BOS-MAN leg was a new route, and I expected it to be cancelled. Also, the entire itinerary was purchased on the Delta Website with no partner airlines involved. We also did not have the complication of separate flights within Europe. Last year we used miles to purchase round trip tickets Boston - Paris and bought separate tickets from Air France to complete our trip to Italy.

My understanding is that if you initiate the cancellation for an eligible flight, then Delta will waive the fee and offer a credit to be used through September 2022.

Posted by
6554 posts

We bought a flight to Berlin from Ovago who purchased the flight from American Airlines who arranged for the flight thru their partner, British Airways. We were told that when B/A cancelled the flight we'd get a full refund, but now a credit's sitting at American Airlines that must be booked by 7/31/2020 for a flight to be completed by 12/31/2021.
The problem is that European flights are 3x what our credit will pay. And Ovago wants to charge us another booking fee.
There's really no place we want to go to in the U.S., as we only travel internationally by air.
Maybe the flight world will settle down a little by July and we can figure out our alternatives..

Posted by
47 posts

Echoing Bob, I had a good recent experience with Delta. All was booked through Delta last November; all was confirmed over the phone, and only over the phone. My flight was to depart the 4th, last Monday; Delta canceled the flight on 30-April. So, the above are essential towards success with obtaining refunds, if that is what you're after.

The only wrinkle in the entire process, Delta sent the cancellation notice on the 30th to my sibling. No where near similar email addresses; we're just both Delta customers.

I'll add that I've been quite satisfied with Delta before the pandemic and hope to continue flying Delta.

(I had also booked a hop through KLM to get me from OPO to AMS; they canceled that flight in mid-April, and a voucher was the only option. No complaints from me.)

Quite a learning experience for this novice overseas traveler.

Posted by
2316 posts

aquamarinesteph--

I sent a message through Twitter on 7 May regarding a refund request that was on business day #22 (after the initial e-mail response, like yours, said to give Delta 21 business days). I got a response that said "due to high volumes," it now may take up to 30 business days to adjudicate the request.

Posted by
3054 posts

Bob , Thanks for the detailed information . My flight out isn't until 8/23 ( JFK - MAN ) but this will be useful when the time is close

Posted by
896 posts

Interesting - that sucks that happened to you. I had 3 Delta flights booked - was able to cancel one domestic online online, no problem, got my refund 2 days later. I had another domestic and an international and every time I tried to cancel those online I got an error message. The domestic was with a companion certificate so that was why I couldn't cancel online, but no idea why the international wouldn't cancel online. I called Delta, they did the "we'll call you back when it's your turn" thing, they called back in 1.5 hours, got those refunds 2 days later as well.

Posted by
2316 posts

My Delta experience thus far on non-refundable fares:

  1. Ticket #1. April 10 departure for solo roundtrip domestic itinerary. Requested refund by phone April 8 due to arrival time changing by > 3 hours. Request sent to refund department by agent. Follow up e-mail from Delta said to wait up to 21 business days for refund decision. Tweeted Delta May 6 (business day #22) due to no communication regarding refund (and no refund) -- was told it may take up to 30 business days.

  2. Ticket #2. April 29 departure for solo roundtrip transatlantic itinerary (Berlin). Requested refund by phone April 8 due to connecting flight in Amsterdam departing before I arrived in Amsterdam. Same phone call as ticket #1. Request (allegedly) sent to refund department by agent. No confirmation e-mail. Called back April 10 due to no confirmation e-mail. April 10 agent said refund request never made by April 8 agent; April 10 agent sent request. Money back on my credit card April 14.

  3. Ticket #3. May 11 departure for two-person roundtrip transatlantic itinerary (Munich). Notified April 14 by Delta that itinerary had been cancelled. Called Delta the same day (while also sending a Tweet). Phone call wait time beat Twitter response time. Money back on my credit card April 16.

So... my refund experience has been a little uneven.

Update #1: I received an e-mail that confirmed the refund on Ticket #1 on May 12 (business day #25).
Update #2: The refund was applied to my credit card on May 14 (business day #27)

Posted by
3151 posts

I started a thread about my great experience with Delta last month. Real short, I waited for Delta to cancel my flights between JFK & ZRH, called them, and was refunded the next day.

That same agent saw that I had a round-trip between LGA & Montréal 4 weeks later. He offered to e-credit me as the flights had not canceled. I told him that if I were to fly in to Montreal, I would be quarantined for 14 days and my trip was only a long weekend. He then offered to refund the round-trip tickets and I received the refund the next day.

Great experience with Delta.

Posted by
743 posts

What are people’s recent experience with wait times when calling Delta? Got email Sunday that one leg of our scheduled flights in June had a 3 1/2-hour departure change. I plan to call soon for a refund.

The flights were for an Alaska cruise we’ve already rescheduled for next year, so I would have eventually been canceling flights anyway, so was actually just as glad to see the schedule change.

Posted by
1669 posts

Delta did a major schedule update Saturday, May 9th.

If you can wait even a week to call you will find the wait times drop dramatically. I have a flight on 6/28 that I need to cancel. I figure I have until 6/28 to cancel. (Yes, in March I cancelled 4 hours before a flight :) )

Delta apparently expects a LOT of people to cancel. Unfortunately for them I have to fly in June to deal with a family member having surgery and they literally have NO seats from Atlanta to South Florida for a period of about 7 days. So I will be flying SW :) My friend the TA thinks that seats will open up, but... I have to fly so I can't hope Delta gets it together.

Posted by
2316 posts

Carol,

There were a lot of equipment changes on routes with the schedule update on Saturday. It looks like the seat availability for flights with equipment changes got zeroed out; for example, all the Cincinnati, Louisville, and Lexington (KY) flights to Atlanta for June were showing sold out on Saturday and Sunday. Seats are now showing as available for most (but not all) of those flights.

Posted by
996 posts

Dave --

Thanks for the update on how long it could take. I figured 21 business days was optimistic given how many people fly, but you never know. Anyway, thanks!!

Posted by
5623 posts

Carol: NO seats from Atlanta to South Florida

If you can drive, an alternative to flying is a long day's drive.

Posted by
62 posts

Got an email that Delta canceled our flights for next month. Email said they’re processing our eCredit for travel. No where in email did they mention Refund. I looked through App/online and saw no easy way to let them know I want refund, not voucher.

I called. 5 Hours and 17 minutes wait. 2 minutes convo with agent, who sent email confirming Refund while I was still on phone with her. She didn’t even try to talk me into a voucher like another airline did. Refund came through credit card two days later.

I wonder if Delta figured if someone’s willing to be on hold for 5+ hours, they want Refund! LOL.

Posted by
25 posts

Delta was great! Our non-refundable flight was rerouted and we could not accept the change for our August RS Ireland trip that will probably be cancelled anyway. Not only did they refund quickly to our Delta AMX card, my husband requested ( by phone ) that we be refunded cash since our flight was not taking place and we didn't want a credit card credit. Check was in the mail that day and has since arrived!!! Wait time on phone in the AM central time was only 5 minutes.

Posted by
1017 posts

Josh, my experience with refunds approved over Twitter was that they appeared in just a few days. On the situation I described above, I'm still waiting and it has been more than 30 calendar days so far.

Posted by
1017 posts

An update: Still waiting. Plus, sending a direct message no longer works. Trying to do so just gets you to a response that directs one to some online AI form that went no where. When I then tried calling a number, I was directed to other methods (that had not worked in getting a response) and then the call was automatically terminated by Delta. That is, they hung up on me.

In a day or two, it will be two months from when this started. Any suggestions?

Posted by
142 posts

Paul, if you are on Facebook, try sending a private message with your name and reservation number and concern. I waited maybe 20 minutes for a CSR to reply yo my message, but they took care of refunding our fares in a few minutes, and credits appeared on our VISA within 3 days. Good luck!

Posted by
44 posts

For a Delta refund (or credit) call 800-847-0578 between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.. Was on hold for only 28 minutes this morning at 9:00 a.m.

Posted by
138 posts

My husband spent about 15 minutes waiting in a phone queue and was able to get a refund for our cancelled July flights to Edinburgh. The only glitch was the fact that the credit card he used to book the flights had expired but had been replaced in the interim with a new one. Fortunately, it had the same account number so it didn’t take long to make the refund.

Posted by
1217 posts

Apparently Delta had a shareholder conference call last week where they admitted the customer service line hold time has been a big problem and was in the process of recalling 2000 customer service reps back to their jobs.

Posted by
1017 posts

Finally, after numerous contacts, including a few phone calls, I got a credit for the cancellation fee I was erroneously charged when I did an online cancellation (as Delta asked me to do on its website). I was really due a refund, but after all this time, I just wanted to take what I could get to get things resolved.

The system simply would not get past the fact that I had received a partial refund in April. I thought I was getting somewhere last week when a CSR put in a new request after spending a great deal of time working with her supervisors trying to figure out how to get the computer to even let her make the request. It kept rejecting her attempts, in that way that computers sometimes do. She was very nice, but was clearly frustrated by the computer's single-minded position that a refund had already been made on that ticket. At the end of our call, she expressed, with some frustration, "If you need to make a refund request in the future, please don't do it online. Call us instead."

But . . . it didn't work. The system still said my ticket had been refunded already. I called again today and spoke with another very nice CSR. She ran into the same problem. I said, "Would it help if I took a credit instead of a refund?" She liked that idea because her department could award credits without going through a refund procedure that required more steps and separate approvals. It took some effort on her part, and some back and forth with her supervisor, but success, at least of a sort.

Bottom line: It is worth it to make the call, even if you have to stay on hold a while.