Holiday air travel is steadily making a comeback from the COVID-19 pandemic, but many airlines are having difficulty handling the increase in volume. Ahead of the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, Delta Air Lines is trying to get ahead of these problems.

On Tuesday, the Atlanta-based carrier announced that it is offering free flight changes for travelers who encounter difficulties over the hectic holiday weekend, beginning with flights scheduled for July 1-4.

The offer, usually reserved for trips bogged down by bad weather or other unforeseen circumstances, was extended in anticipation of possible delays or difficulties meeting demand for flights during this time period.

Though airlines have been anticipating travel's revival since late last year as the last pandemic-era restrictions began to relax, airlines are running into difficulties that threaten to derail their attempts to take advantage of any uptick in traffic.

Between inclement weather and post-pandemic labor shortages, airlines have experienced hiccups that have left passengers stranded throughout the country. Ahead of this holiday weekend, travelers have vented their frustrations at the hundreds of canceled and delayed flights throughout June.

In a statement announcing the policy, Delta said that it aims to minimize any of the ripple effects that may follow any operational challenges during this period.

“Delta people are working around the clock to rebuild Delta’s operation while making it as resilient as possible to minimize the ripple effect of disruptions,” the carrier explained late on Tuesday.

“Even so, some operational challenges are expected this holiday weekend. This unique waiver is being issued to give Delta customers greater flexibility to plan around busy travel times, weather forecasts and other variables without worrying about a potential cost to do so,” it continued.

The policy is a temporary one that is available only for the three days leading up to Independence Day and the holiday itself. Travelers who take advantage of it will be allowed to freely alter their travel plans so long as the final destination remains the same and the new trip is completed by July 8.

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