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Delta to permanently eliminate change fees

The move is for any domestic ticket purchased, except for its "Basic Economy" seat.

ATLANTA — Early in the coronavirus pandemic, Delta Air Lines announced change fees would be waived, knowing that customers needed flexible travel.

On Monday, the Atlanta-based airline announced the change would be a permanent one -- as long as you don't purchase a "Basic Economy" ticket, the one that is the cheapest and doesn't allow you to pick a seat -- and as long as you travel within the United States. 

The move puts them head-to-head with Southwest Airlines which has touted this benefit for many years. 

“We’ve said before that we need to approach flexibility differently than this industry has in the past, and today’s announcement builds on that promise to ensure we’re offering industry-leading flexibility, space, and care to our customers,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian. “We want our customers to book and travel with peace of mind, knowing that we’ll continue evaluating our policies to maintain the high standard of flexibility they expect.”

The elimination of change fees is effective immediately and includes tickets purchased for travel within the domestic U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands in Delta’s First Class, Delta Premium Select, Delta Comfort+, and Main Cabin, with the exception of Basic Economy tickets.  

However, Delta will extend its waiver on change fees for newly-purchased flights, including international flights and Basic Economy fares, through the end of the year.

They also announced they would be extending their expiration on travel credits through December 2022 for tickets booked before April 17, 2020.

The airline said they would continue to block middle seats through Jan. 6, 2020 and will continue to offer 24-hour risk-free cancellation on new tickets purchased.