Delta Air Lines warned that it expects “operational challenges” over the busy Fourth of July weekend and is allowing customers to change their travel dates to avoid the havoc.
Atlanta-based Delta is taking the unusual move of issuing a travel waiver for the Friday through Monday period on any flights across its entire system, so customers can easily shift their trips to before or after that period and avoid what the carrier calls “potentially challenging weekend travel days.”
Delta and other major carriers have struggled to operate this spring and summer amid a surge in travel demand and staffing shortages.
The advisory ahead of a major summer travel holiday follows a Memorial Day weekend debacle that angered some passengers and led to Delta’s pilots publishing a rare letter empathizing with frustrated customers.
The airline says flight dates can be changed via its website or app to any time by July 8 without a fare difference or change fee, as long as the origin and destination remain the same.
Delta said it expects to carry passenger volumes “not seen since before the pandemic” over the Independence Day travel period, and that the waiver is intended to give flexibility to avoid “busy travel times, weather forecasts and other variables.”
While Delta does not charge change fees on main cabin and premium fares on U.S. domestic flights and trips originating in North America, the Fourth of July period travel waiver lifts any additional charge for a higher fare, and also waives the change fee on basic economy fares during that period.
Airlines and airports are bracing for a major test over the upcoming weekend, when crowds and long lines and waits, flight disruptions, air traffic control issues and ongoing labor shortages across the travel industry could amount to major problems for travelers.
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