Delta just announced sweeping changes to their Same Day Travel policies affecting both Elites and Non-elites looking to make changes to their reservations on the same day of travel. The official announcement/media release has yet to be released but this was posted on flyertalk this morning by Delta:
Starting on Tuesday, April 23, 2013, you will be able to request a change on the day of your any time prior to the departure time of your original flight within the same calendar day — but the same booking class as your original ticket must now be available in order to make the change.
Previously, changes could only be made within three hours of your new departure time. This expanded timeframe and improved flexibility will allow more time to request same-day changes on the day of departure.
As part of this change – actually part of what enables it – the same booking class (e.g. Q, K, L, U) as your original ticket must now be available in order to make the change. Our systems will automatically identify the booking class of both purchased and award tickets to offer same-day confirmed options when the same fare class is available on another flight.
Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallion members will receive complimentary same-day travel changes for new flight departure times that are three hours before or after your original departure time. For flights departing outside of this window, a $50 fee for each same-day confirmed ticketing change will now apply. Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallion members also may continue to stand by free of charge for flights outside of the complimentary window or when your booking class is not available.
All other customers will now have the ability to same-day standby for a $50 fee when their booking class is not available by requesting a day-of-flight change any time prior to the departure time of the original flight. This is a new feature of the same-day travel change program and the fee will not be charged until you have cleared the standby list and are on the aircraft.
While the technology to support this new same-day travel program will go into effect on April 23, it is important to note that our reservations team has the ability to honor the same-day travel policy referenced in the fare rules for tickets purchased prior to April 23, 2013 as requested.
Full details about same-day travel options are available at delta.com/samedaytravel. If you’ve used same-day confirmed or standby options in the past, you should be receiving an email with information about this in the next day or so.
These changes are going to make it A LOT harder to make SDC because the SAME class of travel must be available! If traveling on a discount ticket in a low fare class bucket such as “T” travel class, don’t expect to find any availability on the day of travel. More to come soon, but for now I wanted my readers to know of another devaluation to the SkyMiles Program.