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Delta is letting 4th of July travelers rebook flights for free

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Yahoo Finance Live anchor’s break down Delta’s decision to let customers rebook flights for free as the airline prepares for delays and cancellations throughout July Fourth weekend.

Video Transcript

AKIKO FUJITA: Well, Delta is allowing passengers to reschedule their flights for what they say could be a, quote, "potentially challenging" 4th of July holiday weekend. The airline is making the move amid industrywide delays and cancelations due to the pandemic. Customers will not have to pay a fare difference. Delta says this waiver is available across their system, provided the origin and destination airports remain the same.

We're saying Delta is allowing you to do this. First of all, I know you're traveling this weekend. This is not a good sign after what we saw last weekend. We were just checking the numbers. 3,000 delays-- or 19,000 delays, 3,000 flights canceled. But I mean, this is just the beginning, right?

BRIAN CHEUNG: Yeah, well, I mean, July 4th weekend, you imagine would be even busier than, perhaps, the Juneteenth weekend, when you consider that there's going to be a lot of people trying to travel specifically to the shores, right? The summery destinations with that extra holiday on Monday. I'm personally flying out on Sunday, so hopefully I avoid some of that. But just the anecdotes that we know, right?

There's going to be nothing different from the Juneteenth weekend to the July 4th weekend in terms of the labor shortages that the airlines are experiencing, the shortages in the air traffic controller towers themselves, airport staff. I heard a story about someone that flew into a small town airport last week. And there was only two gates. And I think only one operator of the gate-- what is it? You know, like that thing that actually extends the gate out to the plane. So these are all things that are going to be happening this weekend as well. So it is going to be a lot of bottlenecks.

AKIKO FUJITA: Well, and to be clear, you know, Delta is not saying you can reschedule at any time. You have to be traveling between July 1st and 4th. You have to rebook by July 8th. But this is essentially the airline saying, look, there's going to be cancelations. If you want to try and avoid that, just don't travel this weekend. And I keep wondering whether people are looking at this and saying, well, is it still worth traveling?

I will tell you, anecdotally, last week, I was traveling from Toronto back to New York. My flight was delayed. It wasn't as bad. But our reporter, Allie, was stuck at the airport overnight because the flights were canceled. And you just think, delays have become sort of the norm here. But it is just not fun and pleasant to fly right now.

BRIAN CHEUNG: No, not at all. And, you know, I mean, even if your plane is on time, the experience at the airport is going to be very unpleasant because guess what? You want to go get a coffee at Starbucks, well, you're going to have to wait in a massive line because everyone else in New York City is also at LaGuardia at the same time. So it's just a-- I think a lot of people will actually bite on this. I mean, I'm not going to change my travel plans.

But I imagine some people will bite on this because look, they might be looking at, let's say, for example, they wanted to fly in somewhere, rent a car from that point in time, go road trip around. Gas prices are very high right now.

All the logistics and just the cost of all of this might incentivize people to say, you know what? I'm just going to scrap those plans. But for me, I'm going to go to the airport. Maybe this is a dangerous game to play, but maybe I'm in one of those situations where the airline says, like, oh, we'll give you, like, a massive voucher. We'll give you, like, $1,000 to rebook on the next flight.

AKIKO FUJITA: Would you take it?

BRIAN CHEUNG: Oh, absolutely.

AKIKO FUJITA: You would.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Yeah, and my barrier is very low, too. They could throw me like a voucher to, like, a Popeye's or something, and I'll take it.

AKIKO FUJITA: Well, you know, but people have a limited time to travel, right? You only have so many vacation days. So if you delay that, then what happens? You just cancel the flight altogether.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Yeah, you could just cancel the vacation altogether. I mean, rebook for some other time. I mean, I know of people who are booking vacations, and, like, they've booked it ahead of time. But they can't get the logistics across the finish line because they can't find a rental car and whatnot. I mean, maybe this incentivizes them to just say, you know what? It's already been logistically difficult in this reopening to do it. I'm just gonna scrap it. So we'll see. I'll keep you updated on how my trip to Portland--

AKIKO FUJITA: We'll follow your Twitter feed.

BRIAN CHEUNG: --goes. Exactly. Yeah, let's leave that there for--