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Delta Announces New Same Day Confirm/Same Day Standby Policy Starting April 23

by on April 11, 2013 · 34 comments

in Delta

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A few weeks ago, I posted about a rumor that Delta was about to make changes to their Same Day Confirmed Policy that included:

  • The desired flight must have availability in the originally ticketed fare bucket, not just the same cabin of service.
  • Fee waiver for Gold Medallion/Platinum Medallion/Diamond Medallion only applies if the desired new flight is within 3 hours (before/after) the ticketed flight. Otherwise, $50 fee applies.
  • The Same Day Confirm request must be made before the departure time and on the same day as the ticketed flight. (You don’t have to wait until 3 hours before the desired flight.) With redeye flights, it can be on the same day or the prior day.
Big changes are coming to Delta's SDC policy.

Big changes are coming to Delta’s SDC policy.

Well Delta just confirmed the changes this morning as posted by DwayneDeltaSkyMiles on Flyertalk:

“Starting April 23, you’ll be able to request a day-of-flight change any time prior to the departure time of your original flight within the same calendar day. Previously, changes could only be made within three hours of your new departure time. This expanded timeframe and improved flexibility will allow more time to request same-day changes on the day of departure.

As part of this change – actually part of what enables it – the same booking class (e.g. Q, K, L, U) as your original ticket must now be available in order to make the change. Our systems will automatically identify the booking class of both purchased and award tickets to offer same-day confirmed options when the same fare class is available on another flight.

Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallion members will receive complimentary same-day travel changes for new flight departure times that are three hours before or after your original departure time. For flights departing outside of this window, a $50 fee for each same-day confirmed ticketing change will now apply. Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallion members also may continue to stand by free of charge for flights outside of the complimentary window or when your booking class is not available.

All other customers will now have the ability to same-day standby for a $50 fee when their booking class is not available by requesting a day-of-flight change any time prior to the departure time of the original flight. This is a new feature of the same-day travel change program and the fee will not be charged until you have cleared the standby list and are on the aircraft.

While the technology to support this new same-day travel program will go into effect on April 23, it is important to note that our reservations team has the ability to honor the same-day travel policy referenced in the fare rules for tickets purchased prior to April 23, 2013 as requested.

Full details about same-day travel options are available at delta.com/samedaytravel. If you’ve used same-day confirmed or standby options in the past, you should be receiving an email with information about this in the next day or so.”

So the changes were pretty much exactly in line with what was predicted and they all mean more challenges – and more money! – to take advantage of Same Day Confirmed flight changes.

In my opinion, the biggest blow to the program is that you can now SDC only to the originally ticketed fare class, since if you buy cheap fares, the chances of a cheaper fare class tickets decreases greatly in the hours leading up to the flight, and you could have a ticket in first class, but if it’s not full-fare, chances are there won’t be any space for you to SDC to a different flight in the hours leading up to it.

Though these changes might work out for some flyers including those who have to buy full-fare tickets, I doubt that they’re a good thing for most travelers, and I see it as just another example of Delta scaling back its elite benefits.

In the past, I’ve maintained at least Gold Medallion status specifically to take advantage of this benefit since my schedule changes all the time and I like having the flexibility of being able to change flights, especially if I already have a ticket for business or first class and know I won’t get stuck back in coach.

With these changes, I’m going to reevaluate my frequent flyer strategy and see if I should give even more of my business to some of Delta’s competitors including American and United whose policies are more lenient and who give you a bigger window to change your flights.

I dislike how American charges $75 for a confirmed change for everyone no matter their elite level. The alternate flights must be for your same itinerary and your flight change can only be confirmed within 12 hours of departure of the desired flight and subject to availability that only phone agents can see and does not correspond to any available fare classes, so it can be tough to gamble on getting the change you want.

As for United, SDC’s are Free for 1k, Platinum and Gold, $75 for non-elite/Silver. The same-day flight change option is available within a full 24 hours before your originally scheduled flight and the requested flight can be in any fare class and be departing within 24 hours from the time the request is made. The only requirement is that changes must be made prior to your original scheduled flight, so this might be a more feasible choice for my own plans.

What do you think of Delta’s new rules? Will they change the way you travel?

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Jack

    Does the passage quoted below mean PM/DM/GM can still do SDC without same fare class?

    Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallion members also may continue to stand by free of charge for flights outside of the complimentary window or when your booking class is not available.

  • jessica

    I guess I shouldn’t be sad I probably won’t qualify for gold again this year. I use SDC all the time.

  • Taha Jamil

    Platimun on Delta, currently doing a status challenge on United (should make it comfortably). United has had more flexibility with change, moreso now. But Delta seems to give better service. United’s convenience trumps it for me.

  • Michael

    No. It means that you can do same day STANDBY not confirmed which means you actually have to go to the airport and wait to see if there is a seat available right before take off. So you can’t know for sure you can get on the flight which means you can’t plan and also can’t make sure you get a good seat

  • Michael

    If they at least said that the fee was waived for DM/PM/GM outside of the 3 hour window then at least there was some benefit to go with the detrimental change but all they are saying is now you can pay 50 dollars to confirm outside that window if your fare class is eligible.

  • http://twitter.com/gnomehole The Gnome

    Please do drop Delta if you are a medallion member. There are too many currently. 70% of the plane boards when they call priority boarding – its just stupid. (I realize some are idiots and board whenever they want regardless.. and most gate agents could care less) I’d vote to have everyone pay to change their flight regardless. The airlines have better things to do than have to play travel agent to your last minute whims.

  • Dan

    I think you’re wrong on United’s policy. They require the same ticketed fare to be available for them to the fare difference: http://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/reservations/samedaychange.aspx

  • Dan

    *for them to WAIVE the fare difference

  • John

    Does this change still allow you to change routing? I read the policy on delta.com and don’t see where it states you can’t change from a direct to a connecting flight or vice versa? I know that was originally rumored but wanted to confirm.

  • http://twitter.com/pricesquire Ben Price

    So true. Priority boarding means “cattle call” these days. Nobody cares/listens. Everyone knows its a sham.

  • Richard Ingersoll

    I’m coining the name “DealtLess Airlines”

  • http://twitter.com/jeffsettravel Jeffsetter

    Delta continues to be the worst!

  • sfobuddy

    DL is making it REALLY hard to stick with them. At the end of the day I need to remember these are 1st World Problems ;-)

  • asdfas

    I’m looking at a ticket to purchase now for a domestic flight in May and the fare rules have the OLD SDC rules on them.

    It mentions needing seats in the same CABIN. Can DL write this in the fare rules and not allow you to do such a change?

    If I want to make a change as per the OLD rules on any ticket that has this in the fare rules, I intend (if I can get through without waiting on hold for 65 minutes, and being hung up on) to press for a supervisor to hold to the fare rules.

    I’ll pay the $50 as a FO, but why wouldn’t DL be forced to follow the rules on the ticket…especially on tickets bought AFTER the new policy is released.

    -SAME DAY CONFIRM/SDC-

    SAME DAY CONFIRM/SDC PASSENGERS HOLDING CONFIRMED

    RESERVATIONS AND TICKETS MAY CONFIRM TRAVEL FOR

    LESS THAN 3 HOURS PRIOR TO THE NEW FLIGHT ON AN

    EARLIER/LATER SAME DAY DL NONSTOPAND/OR

    CONNECTING FLIGHTS BETWEEN SAME ORIGIN AND

    DESTINATION AIRPORTS FOR A USD 50.00 FEE PLUS ANY

    DIFFERENCE IN GOVERNMENT IMPOSED ITINERARY BASED

    FEES.

    NOTE –

    A. SEAT INVENTORY MUST BE AVAILABLE IN THE CABIN

    APPLICABLE TO THE FARE CHARGED

    B. CHANGES PERMITTED TO OUTBOUND OR CONTINUING/

    RETURN FLIGHTS

    C. FLIGHT/S AND ROUTING MUST BE APPLICABLE FOR

    THE FARE CHARGED. EXCEPTION-IF ORIGINAL

    FARE PURCHASED REQUIRES TRAVEL VIA A

    CONNECTING POINT TRAVEL IS PERMITTED VIA NON

    STOP SERVICE.

    D. IF THE REQUESTED CHANGE IS NOT APPLICABLE FOR

    THE FARE PURCHASED IE INVALID ROUTING/AIRPORT

    /ETC THE CUSTOMER MAY UPGRADE TO A FARE THAT

    DOES PERMIT THOSE CHANGES USING NORMAL

    REISSUE PROCEDURES OF PAYING ANY FARE

    DIFFERENCE PLUS ASC.

    E. IF THE CUSTOMER REQUESTS THE CHANGE MORE

    THAN 3 HOURS PRIOR TO NEW FLIGHT DEPARTURE

    TIME THE CUSTOMER CAN CONFIRM ON A DIFFERENT

    FLIGHT ON THE SAME DAY OF TICKETED TRAVEL BY

    PAYING THE ASC PLUS ANY APPLICABLE FARE

    DIFFERENCE.

  • Winfield Featherston

    As an ATLien, (sigh) No

  • John777

    AA is 24 hours before desired flight now, and you can check that inventory on ExpertFlyer.

  • Dan Nainan

    Yes please do drop Delta if you’re a Medallion member, so that it is easier for me to get upgrades. Actually, I’m upgraded on every flight anyway, and we get to board first through the priority Lane after those who need extra time.

  • Bjoern

    The email was titled “Now Enjoy More Convenience The Day Of Your Trip”. How can Delta blatantly lie like that in the title? There is nothing of “more convenience” in this new policy at all. It makes it only worse for any DM member…

  • com63

    It seems like this is designed to allow business travelers on last minute high fare tickets to have more flexibility while limiting the ability of leisure travelers on cheaper fares to do the same. I can’t really blame them for doing this, but it does take away a nice benefit. Oh well.

  • AfricaTraveler

    You think Delta is bad. Try Kenya Airways, Delta’s “partner” in Africa – no priority boarding. No Sky Priority anything except the little sticker that goes on your bag. Big deal. This is a terrible airline and SkyTeam needs to seriously re-evaluate this relationship.

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  • PissedoffDeltamedallion

    This is horrible, I urge folks to boycott Delta. If enough people react and protest, even flying someone else for ONE WEEK, Delta will be forced to change the rules. This is one of the main perks with flying Delta (in my mind) in addition to upgrades of course. To say the flight has to be in the same fare class is just stupid, who do they think they are fooling. The only way that is possible is if you bought a full fare ticket to begin with as most fare classes are not available the day of travel. -1 for Delta, I hope they lose a lot of business, I’d love to stick it to them

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  • DeltaOh

    I had to deal with this today.. A lunch meeting ran over and i call to SDC and as a Diamond im told “best we can do is stand by”?! The old SDC is one of the main perks to why i fly DL. If thials doenst go back, im gone.

  • Eli

    I am platinum, and I just started flying Delta on January of this year. Which means, simply put, I travel a lot. I’ve spent $18K so far with them and it’s only May. Definitely the SDC was my favorite benefit as a medallion and now that is a challenge that already ducked me last week when they had no K class available and I was asked to pay $642.50 to get on the next flight. It was cheaper to buy a new ticket and I did, but only got $16 credit for my previous $342.50 ticket. New ticket was $217 so I chose to do that. Point is, it’s geared towards getting more money from the passenger no matter what option it is. If you want a flexible fare then you’re paying more upfront, and if you’re buying discounted fare then you won’t get, most likely, a SDC on that class the day of travel. I will do United challenge and will try AA. I’m done with Delta turning into a higher class Air Tran. It won’t affect those who stick to schedule, but people like me who travel at least twice a week are bound to hit a late meeting, high traffic, or just a late wakeup and run late.

  • Terry

    I’m a platinum and discovered the change in policy for the first time yesterday, I had to pull it out of the rep on the phone that they had just changed the policy in April as I, like a couple of others on this post have typically made my flights late in the day, then if I finish my work early, have taken advantage of the old policy, thought it was great! This will definitely impact my travel plans from now on and am not happy with the change.

  • Zippie

    For us tiny little silver status folks, who book a 6am flight, then sleep in just a little too long, if I don’t have delta on the phone by 6am… I’m screwed and have to buy a new ticket? Cause there’s no way in hell my fareclass will be available! Or I guess I could standby… But what does it cost to standby on delta these days? And can I start to standby AFTER my original flight departs?

  • IBWT

    Just found out about this. I am going to have a look at United. I’ve been Platinum since 2006, and SDC was really important to me. Why screw your best customers, Delta??

  • upset in FL

    Going to have to start flying another airline after 12 years with Delta (Diamond every year since inception). I guess I was too stupid to use the SDC to “game” the system – I used it because my schedule changed or I perceived travel disruption on the day of service. I now connect every week to stay on Delta – told my employers it was worth it due to my status. Employers are now pressuring me to switch to another carrier for a direct flight. Thanks for nothing, Delta!

  • Tim

    I just discovered this, I do not normally make a SDC, but I do when needed. I have been a Diamond since inception, a million miler, carried over 145,000 miles last year and spent $200k on business class tickets. All of this loyalty means nothing to delta. I am so done. Stuck with them through the abuses of management in the early 2000s and the Pilot “stick up”, a curse on both your houses. I am so done with Delta – switching to United/Continental.

  • Tim

    Check out status match on United, looks pretty good to me.

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  • awayalot

    I am a diamond member and today i discovered some extra unexpected and undesirable side effects of this change. I had purchased a first class ticket and missed my flight this morning. Although there were first class seats available for purchase on the next flight, the new policy prevented me from being able to confirm a seat on the plane. I could only go standby. After 4 hours of waiting in the airport, Delta proceeded to fill all the first class seats by giving away complimentary upgrades to confirmed coach passengers and then gave me a coach seat. Apparently going standby also causes you to lose your right to fly in first class even if you bought a first class seat because of this policy.

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