Too nervous to buy a plane ticket? Delta Air Lines just sweetened the pot amid the COVID wave

Airlines thought they were mostly done with waivers for broad pandemic travel — then came the omicron variant and a spike in coronavirus cases.

With travelers hesitant to fly again and the trajectory of the virus still murky, Delta Air Lines on Wednesday became the first major airline to increase the flexibility of tickets and travel credits beyond 2022.

The Atlanta-based airline said the expiration date for outstanding travel credits and any credits issued this year to passengers canceling flights has been extended to 2023. Travelers must book the new trip only by the end of 2023, for travel through 2024.

The new policy includes the airline’s basic economy tickets, although cancellation fees will be deducted from the flight credit under new guidelines announced late last year.

Flight tickets and credits are generally valid for one year from the date of purchase or issue. Delta and other airlines have previously extended expiration dates to 2022.

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►Looking ahead: Are cancellations, delays the new normal this winter?

This file photo shows a Delta Air Lines gate at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

“We want to ensure our customers have peace of mind when booking or rebooking their Delta trips this year,” said Allison Ausband, Delta’s chief customer experience officer, in a statement. “This industry-leading extension gives customers more time to use their travel credits, so they can book with complete confidence that Delta has their back, even when there are times when they’re out of control.”

The airline said it will take time to update passenger expiration dates in its computer system, but it will not affect travelers who want to book travel with credits.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Delta Air Lines Flights: Travel Credits Extended Until 2023

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