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Delta ticket: accept eCredit voucher or go for cash refund for non-refundable ticket?

I would appreciate your thoughts on how to deal with Delta Airlines regarding a ticket that will not be used on the scheduled flight date. Back in December 2018 I purchased a round trip ticket to Tokyo for July – August 2020 to attend the Olympic Games. This is a “non-refundable” ticket; it is not the super cheap express ticket. Because of the novel corona pandemic this ticket has no immediate value to me since the Games have been postponed until 2021 or 2022.

When I contacted Delta they said I could rebook on a future flight or I could receive an eCredit voucher for the amount of what I paid and which could be redeemed any time before Sept 2022. No ticket change fee would be charged. This offer is acceptable except that maybe Delta could declare bankruptcy before I could use the voucher. My first question is: what is the likelihood that Delta will declare bankruptcy (the Wall Street Journal says that this airline is one of the hardest hit in today’s economy), and if so would it void all eCredits?

Several sources say that it might be possible to receive a refund if the airline cancels the flight or makes a significant change to the scheduled arrival time. The travel writer for the LA Times suggests making no changes to the reservation until the “last minute” to see if the flight is cancelled. My second question is: how close to the scheduled departure date can I get and still cancel the reservation and get an eCredit voucher? Or would the airline give you ample advance notice that the flight was cancelled. delta is still accepting reservations for the flight on which i am booked.

Thanks for your help.

Posted by
1542 posts

I think that if Delta does declare bankruptcy they will still honor of these tickets etc. So I wouldn’t really worry too much about that.

But yes if your flight is canceled or significantly changed you can get a refund. So I have waited to the last minute to cancel one recently and did get a refund as Delta canceled the flight I was originally on and move me to one several hours later

Posted by
2354 posts

I think that if Delta does declare bankruptcy they will still honor of these tickets etc. So I wouldn’t really worry too much about that.

I’m not an attorney nor an expert in bankruptcy. But I think vouchers would be a liability and it would not be up to Delta whether or not to honor them, it would be the bankruptcy court. I would wait until 48-72 hours before departure and contact them then. If they cancel your flight or reschedule in a way that is substantially different from your original booking you should be able to get a refund. And, did you buy travel insurance and will they cover your loss?

Posted by
200 posts

Simple:
You cancel, evoucher and you are lucky to get that with a non-refundable ticket.
They cancel, full refund.
They will let you know if they cancel the flight or if you want to cancel I would say no later than a day or two before departure. Please keep us informed.

Posted by
499 posts

Be careful. You are potentially burning each end of the candle so to speak. Right now you have a nonrefundable ticket that Delta is willing to give you an eCredit voucher- for future use. If you wait to the last minute and the flight has not been cancelled...you also may not qualify for the credit. Delta could easily say you have a ticket, go or not go but “that” ticket is it.

No one knows what summer brings. If summer heat causes the virus to retract Delta could keep that flight on the books and withdraw any ticket/voucher exchange offers. And no, they do not necessarily have to give you advance notice of that option terminating.

No one, not even at Delta, can tell you what will be going on in July and when you’re eCredit voucher option for a nonrefundable ticket will disappear. Tough decision that only you can make- how much gambler is within you? Just do not assume that the eCredit/voucher will always be available. If you fully wait it out (and I can understand doing that) and the flight doesn’t cancel the odds are high that the credit/voucher offer will also be gone. There is no guaranteed safe route here.

Posted by
865 posts

As an Atlantan, I feel confident that Delta will weather this storm financially. I wouldn't worry about that aspect too much.

I agree with the LA Times travel writer - if you truly want a refund and don't think you'll be flying in the next 2 years, wait until the last possible minute to cancel. I have 2 Delta trips currently booked - one for end of May (domestic) and one in July (international). I've been getting several emails about my domestic flight re: schedule changes - both of which are greater than 3+ hours difference so I will qualify for a refund that way, even though the flight hasn't been "canceled." I haven't heard a peep about the international flight. I logged on to Delta today and saw that Delta isn't operating flights to Iceland in July, despite me being booked on one, but I haven't gotten any notification yet about it being canceled, etc. So I wouldn't expect yet to hear anything about a September flight if they aren't even notifying passengers about July flights yet.

Regardless, I think you're going to be fine with the credit situation as they have it in writing on their website now that flights through September 30 qualify for the credit.

Posted by
4087 posts

Several sources say that it might be possible to receive a refund if the airline cancels the flight or makes a significant change to the scheduled arrival time.

This seems to be holding true.

Posted by
6433 posts

Back in December 2018 I purchased a round trip ticket to Tokyo for July – August 2020 to attend the Olympic Games.

How did you do that?

I have never seen air tickets sold for more than 330 days in advance.

On the bankruptcy issue, no one can say for certain. I suspect everyone will work toward avoiding that.

Delta could very well end up cancelling the flight as without the Olympics the flight may represent excess capacity.

If they do go bankrupt, you will be near the end of line after all the other secured creditors are paid. Pennies on the dollar would be the best to hope for.

In your place I would hold on until they cancel the flight and get the refund. The government money keeps them going through Sept. . I would take the voucher only if it were the only choice.

Posted by
253 posts

how close to the scheduled departure date can I get and still cancel the reservation and get an eCredit voucher?

The "Coronavirus Update Center" link on Delta's website shows you qualify for the voucher if you bought your tickets by 4/17/20 and your departure date is on or before 9/30/20. Under FAQ, Delta poses the question, "What happens if I can't change or cancel my trip before my flight?" This is the answer given:

If you are traveling soon and cannot get through on one of our service channels, we will ensure all changes will be processed and applicable credits will be issued if you don't take your flight. If you missed your flight and your ticket is unused, your ticket becomes an eCredit within 24 hours.

Posted by
2847 posts

If they do go bankrupt, you will be near the end of line after all the other secured creditors are paid. Pennies on the dollar would be the best to hope for.

I assume that if Delta does declare bankruptcy it would be Chapter 11, reorganization, so a ticket holder wouldn't necessarily lose out, but could. But I have my doubts that one of the world's biggest airlines, who presumably is getting a huge bailout payment, would go under. I don't think I would make bankruptcy a key factor in my decision.

Posted by
448 posts

Hi all:

Thanks for your responses. I will be giving each comment careful consideration (e.g., will Delta declare bankruptcy and what will the impact be on eCredit vouchers and mileage program members which I am not) before deciding what to do. I have given myself a July 1 deadline to fish or cut bait.

As far as JOE32's comment is concerned (re: airline booking date) he is correct. I was thinking about my hotel booking date .My Delta reservation was made in December 2019. I see that the current price of the same category of seat on the same flight for which I have a reservation is 30% lower than what I paid.

Posted by
3144 posts

Your trip is in July which makes it very different from my round-trip between JFK and Zürich which should have occurred between April 15 and April 22.

I bought that nonrefundable ticket last summer. My husband and I are both furloughed and would rather have our money refunded than have Delta hold it as an e-credit. We also have no idea about our employment situation so rebooking made no sense to us.

So I waited until Delta canceled the departing flight which was about just over a week before. I waited a few days and called Delta and ask for a refund and the agent did so and I was refunded within 24 hours. It made no difference that the flight was a nonrefundable fare.

The key thing with Delta and all airlines, as mentioned above, is that if you want a refund, you must wait until the airline cancels the flight. Airlines are making cancellations as last-minute as possible. They will not give you “ample advance notice“.

If you want an e-credit, reach out to Delta now. No doubt that Delta is still selling tickets for your flights.

Posted by
448 posts

Today's on-line edition of the Wall Street Journal has an article that details how each airline is handling the refund/voucher situation. The best airline appears to be Hawaiian which will issue a voucher upon request and if the flight is eventually cancelled will provide a cash refund at your request. Some airlines - United is cited - are playing hardball on this matter. Sorry I can't link to the article - WSJ has a pay all to protect its content.

Posted by
4509 posts

If they do go bankrupt, you will be near the end of line after all
the other secured creditors are paid. Pennies on the dollar would be
the best to hope for.

I assume that if Delta does declare bankruptcy it would be Chapter 11,
reorganization, so a ticket holder wouldn't necessarily lose out

Robert is essentially correct. Bankruptcy is typically intended for businesses to restructure their debts, such as loans from banks and payments to vendors. It would be rare for it to affect customers, unless the company literally goes out of business and closes its doors. That can happen, but seems unlikely. Even if Delta was likely to go out of business, another airline might buy them and merge to get their landing slots. So the chance of you losing out on a voucher is incredibly minuscule.

The more pertinent question for you is "Are you likely to fly on Delta enough within their timeframe to use the voucher?" If so, there is nothing wrong with taking a voucher - you lose no money. And assuming you are ok for cash flow right now.

Posted by
2354 posts

A voucher is an interest free loan to the airline with an expiration date. Great deal for the airline, lousy deal for the customer.

Posted by
448 posts

Regarding Douglas's comment: Delta's voucher will be good through September, 2022 (unlike, for example, United's which expires in a year or so), and because the Olympics will be rescheduled for the summer of 2021 or 2022 That's all I need.

Posted by
2458 posts

Alan, "great deal for the airline, lousy deal for the customer". So basically, it's still the same situation as it was before the virus.