Delta Air Lines Connecting Flights

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This is a Delta Air Lines connecting flights guide.

In this guide, you’ll find information about Delta connecting flights, baggage rules, air passenger rights and compensation regulations. Delta Air Lines, Inc., mostly referred to as simply Delta, is a full-service airline from the USA. It is one of the world’s oldest and largest airlines. Delta operates flights to more than 300 destinations in 52 countries.

Did you miss a connecting flight? File a compensation claim online.

Delta Planes
Delta Air Lines planes


Is It Protected?

Yes, it’s a protected connection.

Traditional airlines sell airline-protected connecting flights. It’s more convenient and more safe than self-transfer flights. You don’t need a visa for connecting flights like this.

Unless you book flights separately.

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Baggage Rules

Airline takes care of your baggage.

Mostly, you will check in baggage only once — you won’t have to recheck baggage for every flight. This is how it works with traditional airlines and airline-protected connecting flights.

Baggage allowance depends on the ticket, destination and occasionally some other factors. 


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1. Delta Connecting Flights

Delta is a full-service traditional airline.

Just like any other full-service airline, Delta offers airline-protected connecting flights. If you have such a flight, you are protected against missed connections. That’s why airline-protected connecting flights are considered to be better than self transfers — see this simple comparison.

Airline-protected connecting flights are:

  • Safer. Your airline takes care of flight problems.
  • More convenient. Baggage transfer is automatic.
  • Easier to book. You book several flights as a single journey.

Yes, Delta sells airline-protected connecting flights.

1.1 Connecting Flights, One Airline

Often your Delta connecting flight will be operated only by Delta.

There will be two or more flights, and all of them will be operated by Delta. These will be Delta planes, manned by Delta staff. But it’s not always the case will all Delta connecting flights.

1.2 Delta Codeshare Partners

Sometimes airlines share their flights.

Airlines often collaborate and share their flights so that they can service more destinations. Thanks to shared flights, airlines can sell flights even to destinations they don’t have flights to. Connecting flights with different airlines is a norm in aviation.These kind of flights are called codeshare flights, and airlines collaborating — codeshare partners.

What you should know is that:

  • If you miss a connecting flight (and it wasn’t due to your fault), the airline has to find a solution. In most cases, you will be issued a new ticket free of charge. Contact Delta to book yourself on a new flight. As long as it’s a Delta connection booked from Delta, they are responsible for finding solutions. Because you booked the flight from them. Even if a part of the journey is operated by another airline (their partner).
  • If your flight is heavily delayed, cancelled or overbooked, compensation is paid by airline operating this particular flight. If it’s operated by some other airline, not Delta, then they are called operating airline — they have to pay compensation when it’s due.

See a list of Delta codeshare partners here.

Moving walkway in Doha Airport
Moving walkway at an airport

2. What If Delta Cancels a Flight?

Why airlines are cancelling their flights?

There are a number of reasons why a flight can get cancelled. The most common reasons are: bad weather, strikes, staff shortage, airport congestion, security issues, terrorism threat, and various technical problems.

2.1 One of Your Flights Is Cancelled

Delta is an American airline.

According to the EU Regulation 261/2004, they must:

  • Offer you a choice between a new flight and full refund.
  • Offer you assistance at the airport (you have a right to care).

This applies to all their flights departing from Europe.

If you missed your connection because your previous flight was cancelled, it’s the airline’s responsibility to offer you an alternative flight to your final destination. If your flight departs from Europe, you can also opt for a full refund. Contact Delta to learn more about your options.

You may have a right to compensation (more on this below).

Did you miss a connecting flight? File a compensation claim online.

2.2 All Your Flights Are Cancelled

Overall, for you as a passenger, the options are the same.

According to the EU Regulation 261/2004, Delta must:

  • Offer you a choice between a new flight and full refund.
  • Offer you assistance at the airport if it’s a last-minute cancellation and you are already at the airport (you have a right to care).

This applies to all their flights departing from Europe.

Refund must be paid within seven days.

In some cases, you may have a right to EU flight cancellation compensation.

2.3 Delta Refund for Cancellation

Yes, you have a right to ask for a refund.

If your flight departs from Europe (EEA), you may opt for a refund. It has to be paid in full. You don’t have to accept any vouchers, coupons or miles. The refund has to be transferred to your bank account within seven days.

Hong Kong airport layover
Hong Kong airport

3. Delta Missed Connecting Flight

Why people miss their connecting flights?

The reasons are different. You may miss your connection because of a simple mistake, like, waiting at the wrong gate or confusing am with pm. Or it can be something more serious like airport congestion or long lines. You could also miss your flight because your previous flight was late or cancelled.

3.1 What Happens If You Miss Delta Connection?

If it’s your fault that it happened — it’s your responsibility.

If it’s not your fault, then your airline has to take care of that. If you booked a flight from Delta, it doesn’t even matter if the flight is operated by Delta or not, you should contact Delta. You missed a connecting flight through no fault of your own, and Delta must offer you a solution.

According to the EU Regulation 261/2004, they must:

  • Take you to your final destination as soon as possible.
  • Offer you assistance at the airport (you have a right to care).

With Delta, some of this apply only to flights from Europe.

Read more: Missed Connecting Flight Due to Delay 

3.2 Right to Compensation from Delta

In some cases, you have a right to compensation.

If you have a Delta connecting flight departing from Europe, and if there are problems with it, in some cases you can get compensation from the airline. 

You are entitled to compensation when your Delta flight:

  1. Departs from the EU, EEA or UK,
  2. Arrives to destination 3 or more hours late,
  3. Is delayed or cancelled due to the fault of the airline.

Flight cancelled less than 2 weeks before the trip?

You might be entitled to flight cancellation compensation.


File a Claim Online

3.3 Right to Care from Delta

On all Delta flights departing from Europe you have a right to care.

According to the EU Regulation 261/2004 airline should provide:

  • Free food and drinks in a reasonable relation to the waiting time.
  • Free hotel accommodation if a stay of one or more nights is necessary.
  • Free airport transfer to hotel and back.
  • Plus, two telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or e-mails. So you can notify your loved ones about change in your travel plans.

In Delta’s case, these regulations only apply to flights departing from European airports. With European airlines, like KLMLOT Polish AirlinesWizz Air and British Airways, it applies to all their flights.

When it comes to air passenger rights, unless otherwise stated, we talk about air passenger rights in the EU, EEA and UK. When we say Europe or European, we mean EU, EEA or UK. This is done for the simplicity, since the according laws in these countries are about the same.

Istanbul Airport
Istanbul Airport

4. How to Book Connecting Flights with Delta?

You can do it directly from Delta or via a third-party.

The best and safest way is to book directly from the airline. However, it’s not always the cheapest option. Alternatively, you can book your Delta connecting flight using a third-party booking website such as or

How to Book?

Airline website (directly).

This is the easiest way to book a connecting flight. It’s also the safest way to book a connection. You make a single booking, have a single reservation code and the booking includes several flights. Sometimes they are all with one airline, other times – two or more. Anyway, in this case, you can be 100% sure that you have a proper connecting flight.

Other Option

Flight booking websites.

Few examples:,,

Pay attention to the details. Because some of these sites are only search engines, and sellers are other websites. Apart from that, they often sell both airline-protected connecting flights and self-transfer flights. If it’s a self-transfer, know that it comes with its own risks, and there are things you should take into account. Self-transfer is not the same thing as airline-protected transfer. 

For extra protection, buy also a travel insurance covering flight disruptions, or book with sites like, who offer extra protection.

With you are more protected than normally.

Read more: How to Book Connecting Flights?

Two backpacks

5. Delta Connecting Flights: Baggage

Since Delta is a traditional airline, everything’s very easy.

Baggage rules on connecting flights with Delta are simple.

In short, Delta takes care of your baggage. Check in your luggage at your origin airport. In most cases, it will be sent to your final destination. You don’t have to collect and recheck baggage between flights. Unless you have a self-transfer, or you’re traveling through a country that requires everyone to collect and recheck their baggage (e.g., US).

If you aren’t sure, ask staff at the check-in our baggage drop counter.

5.1 Baggage Transfer: Different Airlines

What happens if there are several airlines?

What if one of your flights is operated by different airline, not Delta? As we already talked, you may experience this, because Delta does share some of its flights with its codeshare partners. In this situation the rules are the same — your baggage is being taken care of by an airline.

In most situations you won’t have to worry about it.

Read more:

5.2 Delta Free Baggage Allowance

Baggage allowance varies — it’s not the same on all flights.

Baggage allowance is different for every airline, ticket type, travel class and destination. You can see your baggage allowance in your booking confirmation. When you are booking a flight, in most cases you can view baggage allowance when you are choosing your ticket type and travel class.

5.3 Economy Light

This is the cheapest option for long-haul flights.

Economy Light comes without free baggage allowance.

We see this all across the industry. Full-service traditional airlines are offering also tickets without free checked baggage allowance. The wording is also often the same — Economy Light. So, if you see this, most likely it’s without checked baggage (carry on baggage only).

When you see cheap Delta flights, pay attention to this. Because Delta also does it. They don’t offer free baggage allowance for their basic fare.

Times Square in New York
Times Square in New York

6. Connecting Flight Examples

Here are two connecting flight examples with Delta.

6.1 Protected Connecting Flights with Delta (Most Common)

For this example I’ll use the website of Delta.

Let’s assume that you want to fly from Riga (Latvia) to New York (JFK).

You have found flights for September 29, and these are the options:

Riga - New York JFK Connecting Flight with Delta
Riga – New York JFK Connecting Flight with Delta

On their website Delta sells only protected connecting flights. However, as we can see, not all of the flights are operated by Delta. The first leg of the journey is operated by airBaltic. Delta shares their flights to Riga with airBaltic.

Let’s look at the first example. It’s the fastest, and also the cheapest flight. It consists of two flights: Riga – Amsterdam and Amsterdam – New York. There is a layover in Amsterdam. The first flight is operated by airBaltic. The second – by Delta. Notice that total flight duration, number of stops and price also vary.

Choose the option that you like the most.

6.2 Self-Transfer Flights with Delta

What if your final destination is not New York?

You want to fly from Riga to New York, and from NY onwards to Orlando, to have fun at the city’s theme parks. But before that you want to spend a couple of days in New York, to have a stopover in New York. You want to visit some of the city’s most famous landmarks.

  1. You book a connecting flight to New York, like in the example above. For example, you’re taking one of the cheapest options, the first one, which arrives in New York at 1:10 pm. 
  2. And then you go to, or some other flight booking website, and book a flight from New York to Orlando. Leaving yourself, let’s say, 30 hours in New York. By the way, since the stop is longer than 24 hours it’s considered a stopover, not a layover. You may also book it directly.

Your Riga – NY flight is an airline-protected connecting flight. If your first flight is delayed or cancelled, the airline will put you on another flight for free. Even if a part of the connecting flight is operated by another airline. However, the last leg, NY – Orlando is a self-transfer flight. It’s a separate flight, and you need to check in for this flight separately (you’ll also get boarding passes separately).

If you are booking a self transfer, leave yourself plenty of time. Don’t risk with very short layovers. 45-minute layovers can be a great choice in other countries (on protected connecting flights!), but mostly they aren’t okay for the U.S.

What is your experience with Delta? Have you ever missed a connecting flight with Delta? How did the airline solve this? Did you receive EU / UK flight compensation from Delta?

Featured photo by Christopher Flaten


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