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Delta Air Lines Battles Call Wait Times by Easing Basic Economy Rules

If you've had to call an airline's customer service number in 2021, then you already know: Wait times are extreme.

In fact, you might still be on hold right now.

For a lot of messy reasons, the major carriers simply can't handle the calls they're getting. But in a letter to frequent flyers this week, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian told customers that his company is doing something about the problem.

From now through the end of 2021, customers holding Basic Economy tickets will be permitted to change flights without a fee. Normally, that's not allowed, and the phone lines have apparently been clogged with passengers trying to deal with itinerary revisions.

Under Delta's so-called Basic Economy Changeability Waiver, passengers who bought their tickets on or before April 30, 2021, may change their flights without incurring a fee as long as the new flight takes off by the last day of 2021.

The policy change will enable most customers to handle any schedule changes online without having to call a customer service representative. 

As a distinct side benefit, the waiver also makes a Basic Economy ticket on Delta a lot more attractive this year. 

Of course, the temporary loophole won't keep everyone from the misery of calling the airlines. For those unfortunate customers, we've got a great list of ideas for reducing the time you spend on hold.