You could be looking at a price increase of 50 percent for fees if you need to make changes to your future Delta flights. The airline recently announced some fee increases for flight changes and standby in 2017. These higher rates went into effect on March 15.

It's important to understand what the fee increases mean for you if you regularly make changes to your tickets when flying with Delta. It's also crucial to look into some potential options for avoiding these fees without giving up on getting on the right flight at the right time.

How Does Delta Compare To Other Airlines?

You might be tempted to start looking at other airlines if Delta's recent price hike for flight changes is coming as an unwelcome surprise to you. However, the reality is that Delta customers were getting off easy for the past few years when compared to passengers on other airlines. Competitors like American Airlines and United Airlines have already been charging a fee of $75 for same-day changes and standby for quite some time.

How Much Can You Expect To Pay?

You probably already know that the cost for same-day changes or same-day standby was $50 if you've had to adjust your travel plans when flying with Delta in the past. How much more will you be paying the next time you need to adjust your plans? You can now expect to pay a fee of $75 whenever you need to change your ticket.

Will Previously Bought Ticket Purchases Be Immune?

There's good news if the flight you're about to take was booked prior to March 15. Delta has decided to honor the old rate when it comes to all tickets booked before the increase went into effect. That means that any tickets purchased on or before March 15 won't come with the updated fees attached to them.

Are Waivers Still Possible?

Delta SkyMiles members with Diamond, Platinum or Gold status have always had their fees waived when making same-day changes or requesting standby. These waivers are still intact with the introduction of the increased fees. But regardless of status, travelers who have basic economy airfare won't be able to have these fees waived.

How To Handle The Fee Increases

The $25 increase in fees for flight changes and standby may not be a big deal if you only travel occasionally. The higher price is something that infrequent travelers probably won't notice. However, paying $75 here and there can really add up if you routinely travel for business and have to deal with last-minute changes.

What can you do if you're just short of having enough points to qualify for a SkyMiles status level that enjoys a fee waiver? It may be worth looking into the Delta-American Express credit card shown below to see if you can get that boost in points that you need to enjoy flight changes without worrying about fees. This is one of several cards in the American Express family that can help you enjoy automatic elite status if you meet a certain annual spending threshold.