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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.
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?