How Delta Airlines Plans To Handle 4th of July Travel

Airlines have been having a hard time dealing with the uptick in travel, but Delta has plan to handle travel on the Fourth of July.

By Charlene Badasie | Published

delta fourth of july

Delta Air Lines has issued an unusual waiver that allows passengers to change their travel plans over the Fourth of July weekend without having to pay a fare difference. The move is an indication of how messy holiday travel could be, as Americans celebrate the country’s Independence. The unusual offer is normally reserved for bad weather and is limited to certain airports. However, it’s now being used to alleviate the strain caused by flight delays and cancellations.

The unique offer applies to all ticket classes, including the no-frills basic economy. But there is one small catch, according to CNBC. Delta travelers can only rebook their trip at no added cost provided they keep the same origin and destination. Any difference in fare between the original ticket and the new ticket will be collected at the time of booking. They also have to take the trip by July 8th, when the offer expires. Additionally, eligibility only applies to customers with an original ticket issue date not older than June 28th.

“Delta people are working around the clock to rebuild our operation while making it as resilient as possible to minimize the ripple effect of disruptions,” the carrier said in a statement via CNBC. Despite the special Fourth of July offer, operational challenges are still expected this weekend. As such, the unique waiver aims to give people more flexibility to plan around busy travel times, weather forecasts, and other variables without worrying about the potential cost.

Hundreds of flights, from Delta and other airlines, were canceled across the county this week – a bleak sign of the chaos to come ahead of the holiday. More than 830 flights were scrapped as wind and rain blanketed parts of the northeast, with the resulting cancellations reported by tracking site FlightAware. A shocking 17% of flights out of Newark Liberty International Airport were axed, while LaGuardia Airport was reporting 37% of scheduled flights delayed. A total of 32 flights had been canceled at JFK Airport, with 181 delayed.

This slew of cancellations, impacting Delta and other carriers, comes as an estimated 3.5 million people were expected to travel for the holiday weekend, according to the American Automobile Association’s latest predictions. It is the lowest number of travelers to take to the skies over the Fourth of July since 2011, the New York Post reports. “Recent issues with air travel and ongoing concerns of cancellations and delays may be driving this increase,” AAA said. Adding to the industry’s peril are the pilot and airline staff shortages, as well as a lack of air traffic controllers on the ground.

Companies (like Delta) say they have struggled to refill the shortages left by the wave of layoffs and resignations during the pandemic. However, the Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Transportation blame airlines’ planning for delays and cancellations. It also criticized the airlines for encouraging staff to take early retirement during Covid-19, despite $54 billion in taxpayer aid set aside for payrolls. “People expect, when they buy an airline ticket, that they’ll get where they need to go safely, efficiently, reliably, and affordably,” the FAA said via the New York Post.