How to Cancel Flights on Delta Air Lines

Full Refunds within 24 Hours - or If You Get Kicked Off the Flight. Seriously.

Delta Air Lines Boeing 777-232

Use this guide to learn how to quickly and easily cancel Delta Air Lines flights. If you purchased the tickets the previous day or your flight was diverted, delayed, or cancelled, you may be entitled to a full refund.  It may surprise you that passengers who are removed from the plane are also usually entitled to a refund.

Can I Cancel My Delta Flight? How Much Will It Cost?

Whether or not a Delta Air Lines flight can be cancelled for a refund and how much it will cost depends on what type of ticket was purchased, where it was purchased, and when it was purchased relative to the cancellation request. Any Delta flight ticket can be cancelled within 24 hours for a full refund, up to 11:59pm the following day (which can actually be almost 48 hours, depending on what time you bought the ticket).

If the fare is non-refundable, as most economy fares are, and it’s been longer than 24 hours since purchase, the fee to change the ticket varies by ticket type, from $200 for domestic flights to $300 – $450 for international flights.  One the ticket is cancelled, a travel credit will be issued in the passenger’s name, valid for one year.  When the credit is used to pay for new flights, the change fee will be assessed.

For example, say you bought non-refundable Delta domestic flight tickets for $650, but your plans changed.  When you are ready to purchase new flights, the fare has increased to $700.  Your credit is $650 – $200 change fee = $450, so your out-of-pocket cost to buy the new ticket is $700 – $450 = $250.

Make sure to inform Delta before departure that you will not be on the flight and request the travel credit.  The travel credit is not automatic; if you don’t show up for the flights without informing Delta first, you won’t receive the credit and you’ll forfeit the entire amount you paid for the ticket.

If the ticket was purchased from a travel agent or online travel agency, there are different procedures and additional fees will be assessed.  Typically these fees range from $25 – $100 per ticket.

How to Cancel Delta Regular (Non-award) Flights

Delta allows cancellations and refunds through 11:59pm the day after tickets are purchased.  Beyond that, cancellations and refunds vary depending on the type of ticket purchased.  If you have an economy class ticket and you didn’t select and pay extra for the refundable option during checkout, you have a non-refundable ticket, meaning you will not be refunded the money you spent on the ticket.

Once the ticket is cancelled, you’ll be issued a travel credit valid for one year.  For domestic travel, the replacement trip must be completed within one year of the original trip departure date.  For international travel, the replacement flights must depart within one year of the original trip departure date.  Note that changes are typically permitted only to the return portion of an international itinerary.

When you use the credit, you’ll be assessed a change fee of $200 (domestic flights) or $200-$450 (international flights, depending on fare class and destination) to change your flights, plus you’ll have to pay the difference between the original ticket cost and the cost of the new flights.

Delta makes exceptions for non-refundable fares in case of death of a passenger, immediate family member, or traveling companion.  A death certificate must be provided to Delta to obtain the refund.

To cancel your ticket on Delta Air Lines, enter your name and confirmation number and select the option to cancel.  If that option isn’t available, call Delta Reservations at 1-800-221-1212.

If you’re traveling on one or more of Delta’s partner airlines, you’ll need to call Delta Reservations to cancel the flights.

How to Cancel Delta Award Flights

Like other flights, Delta award flights can be cancelled for a full refund within the 24-48 hour grace period.  Outside of this window, changes to or cancellations of award tickets can be made up to 72 hours prior to departure.  Delta charges a fee of $150 to redeposit the miles into your frequent flyer account (waived for Diamond and Platinum Medallion members).

To cancel your award ticket on Delta Air Lines, log into your SkyMiles account and enter your name and confirmation number and select the option to cancel.  Alternately, go to My Delta > My Trips and locate your flights and select the option to cancel.  If neither option is available, call Delta Reservations at 1-800-221-1212.

Refunds Due to Schedule Changes or Delays

You are entitled to a refund on the unused portions of Delta flight tickets in certain circumstances, even if the fare you purchased is non-refundable:

  • If Delta changes your scheduled flight by more than 90 minutes (or will result in missed connections)
  • If flights are cancelled, diverted, or delayed more than 90 minutes (or will result in missed connections)

You must request a refund from Delta if that’s your preference.  Otherwise Delta will attempt to re-book you on the next available flight.

Refunds Due to Getting Kicked Off the Plane

What about a situation in which a passenger gets kicked off a Delta flight for acting suspiciously or creeping out the other passengers?  Is a passenger who is kicked off the plane for dangerous or suspicious behavior entitled to a refund?  Actually, yes.  If the passenger is removed from the plane for one of the reasons detailed below, he or she is entitled to a full refund of the unused portion of the ticket.

In the following situations where Delta refuses to allow a passenger to fly on their plane, they will NOT attempt to re-book the passenger, but he or she IS entitled to a refund of the unused portion of the ticket (these are all true).  Delta will issue refunds to, but refuse to fly, passengers who:

  • Refuse to permit a search of person or property for explosives or weapons
  • Refuse to provide proof of identity
  • Don’t have the right documents for international travel
  • Are disorderly, abusive, violent, intoxicated, or barefoot
  • Have a malodorous condition (seriously – is this one ever enforced? I think lots of flyers would say no.)
  • Is unreasonably offensive or annoying to other passengers (again – how many of us have been unreasonably annoyed on many flights, with no action ever taken?).

So basically, if you’re dangerous, offensive, or even (in the case of the missing travel documents and/or shoes) just a plain idiot, you still may be entitled to a refund on your Delta flight ticket.  At the very least, good to know if you aren’t able to cancel any other way.  That’s a joke, people.  Just a joke.

Cancelling Delta Flights Purchased from Third Parties

In addition to the fees and restrictions noted above, most online travel agencies impose additional fees to cancel or change flights.  For example, if you bought Delta flights on Orbitz (disclosure: Orbitz is an advertiser on this website), there is an additional $30 fee for flight changes or cancellations.

Delta also charges a $50 external ticket handling fee for tickets issued by third-parties like online travel agencies and other airlines.

Cancel the tickets online by using the confirmation number or record locator number you were provided, or contact the travel agency or airline by phone and inquire about cancellation costs and procedures.

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