The COVID-19 outbreak is rapidly evolving and affecting travel worldwide. As people assess the risk for their scheduled trips and the cancellation penalties, many airlines have responded by updating their booking polices.
If you’ve booked your airfare through River Oaks Travel, our team is standing by to assist you in navigating the constantly changing fare and waiver rules. Some airlines are waiving change fees but applying fare differences. Some have even instituted “book with confidence” policies, which waive change fees for tickets booked this spring. We’ll help you figure out what rules apply to your specific travels.
We’ve compiled a list of these airline responses to help our clients make informed decisions for upcoming travel plans.
Alaska Airlines is waiving their change and cancellation fees for travel through March 31, 2020, regardless of purchase date. They’re waiving change and cancellation fees for new tickets purchased between February 27 and March 31 of this year. For the latest from this airline, check their travel advisories page.
American Airlines is waiving change fees on flights ticketing in the month of March, and if you bought your ticket on or before March 10 of this year. They’re also waiving change fees for passengers traveling through heavily affected areas such as Italy and South Korea. Visit the AA travel alerts page to learn more.
Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines is waiving all change fees for tickets purchased in March 2020 to travel from March 1, 2020-February 25, 2021. The tickets can be changed once to an alternate itinerary, and must be reissued by February 28, 2021. You won’t be charged a change fee, but a difference in fare may apply.
If you purchased a ticket on or before March 9, 2020, and travel through April 30, 2020, you can rebook penalty free. You may also cancel your flight and apply any unused value of the ticket toward the purchase of a new ticket one year from the original issue date. Stay updated with Delta’s travel advisory page.
Hawaiian Airlines is allowing guests who book between March 1-31 of this year to change their travel to a future date without incurring change fees. You can change the origin, destination, and/or via/stopover point without penalty, but any applicable fare difference will apply. Additionally, the airline has travel waivers for Japan, China, and South Korea.
For flights booked through March 9 for travel March 1-April 30, 2020, waivers apply if new tickets are issued on/before December 31, 2020 for travel commencing no later than that date.
JetBlue is allowing free changes and cancellations for customers traveling March 10-April 30 of this year. Passengers can rebook their flights for travel through October 24, but their original travel must have been booked on or before March 10. A fare difference may apply. You can cancel for a credit valid for one year from issue date. For more information, check Jetblue’s latest travel alerts.
Southwest never imposes change fees, and you’re only liable for any difference in fare. Moreover, they don’t fly to Europe or Asia. Check their travel alerts page for more information.
If you book March 3-31 you can change your ticket for free over the next 12 months. Additionally, the airline is waiving change fees for all tickets issued on or before March 2 for travel between March 9 and April 30. United suggests checking their travel waivers, international travel updates or search by destination for health requirements and visa information.
With Air France you can book through the month of March 2020 and modify your booking through May 31 without penalty. If you book through your travel agent, you can change or cancel your trip and receive a nonrefundable voucher valid for a year.
Alitalia is waiving change fees for international-market tickets purchased before March 5 and traveling February 23-April 3, 2020. Customers can keep the same route and travel by June 30 of this year, or change the destination and keep their same travel dates. Either way, you must rebook by April 3.
British Airways has removed change fees on all new bookings made March 3-31, 2020. Check here for the airline’s latest travel news.
Brussels Airlines has suspended all flights to and from Italy from March 12 to April 3. They’ve also introduced flexible rebooking options: tickets purchased through March won’t be subject to change fees and must be rebooked by December 31 of this year. Tickets purchased before March 5 for travel on or before April 30 are also exempt from change fees. The departure and destination cities can’t be modified, and any fare differences apply.
Ibera’s policies vary by destination. Check here for information regarding rebooking and travel restrictions. The airline has stopped flights between Italy, Tel Aviv, Japan, and Shanghai, among other locations.
The cancellation and change policies for KLM vary drastically. Check their latest flight information page for specifics. Flights to Singapore, China, Italy, and South Korea have been halted.
Lufthansa Group (Lufthansa, Air Dolomiti, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, and SWISS) is waiving fees for tickets purchased before March 5 and flying through April 30 of this year. Through December 31, passengers can rebook to a new date penalty free. For flights booked March 6-31, the airline is waiving change fees through 2020. In both cases, the departure and destination airport must be the same, and fare differences are applicable.
Scandinavian Airlines (SAS)
SAS is waiving change fees for customers who (1) book by March 19, 2020 and (2) travel by November 30, 2020 to/from the US, Europe, and Asia. Routes cannot be changed, and no cancellations or refunds are allowed. Be sure to read their terms and conditions for details.
Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS)
SWISS’s rebooking policy is the same as Lufthansa’s. Be sure to check their Rebooking and Refund FAQs for further information.
Virgin Atlantic has introduced a flexible no-change-fees policy for any bookings made before March 4 traveling through April 30, or new bookings made after March 4 traveling through September 30, all of this year. Additionally, you can reroute on a Virgin Atlantic or Virgin Atlantic Codeshare flight to/from your original destination, or rebook to/from another destination.
Air New Zealand
For customers who purchased an international ticket between March 5-31 of this year, Air New Zealand is offering penalty-free changes. You’ll only pay a fare difference if applicable. Non-refundable fares will remain nonrefundable. For more information, check their flexible rebooking policy and updated travel alerts.
All Nippon Airways (ANA)
Asiana Airlines provides two travel notices regarding coronavirus: one for current flight suspensions and reductions, and another one for country entry requirements. The airline also includes information on ticket refunding or exchanging for different types of itineraries.
Cathay Pacific Airlines
Cathay Pacific Airlines releases their latest updates regarding coronavirus travel restrictions. Information includes entry restrictions for various destinations they service.
China Airlines offers a coronavirus service hub for all the information travelers would need about the outbreak and their affected flights. For country-specific questions regarding ticketing, rescheduling, and refunds, you can reference their travel advisory updates.
China Southern Airlines
China Southern Airlines posts regular updates on travel restrictions throughout the region. The airline has special guidelines for reticketing flights affected by the coronavirus. They also have suggested guidelines for travel during this time.
Emirates has halted flights to areas including the Americas, Europe, and the Far East. They’ve introduced a book-with-confidence policy for bookings made on or before March 31. Check their travel alerts page for more details.
Like other airlines in Asia, Korean Air has reduced and stopped flights in the area. Their rebooking policies vary greatly by date and destination. They’ve got a list of FAQs regarding the virus and a helpful chart of entry restrictions by countries.
Due to the outbreak, Philippine Air has canceled flights to Doha, Taipei, and Korea, among other destinations. The airline is allowing one-time free rebooking for all domestic and international tickets purchased on or before March 31.
QATAR Airways is denying entry for travelers coming from Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria and Thailand. Only those with onward connections through Hamad International Airport are accepted for travel. QATAR had introduced a “Travel with Confidence” policy that allows flexibility with bookings made by June 30.
Qantas Airways has posted helpful information such as Australian immigration requirements, flight changes and rebooking policies, and a chart of Qantas flights with passengers who have tested positive for coronavirus. The airline is waiving change fees for flights booked March 10-31 for travel before June 30 of this year.
Have more questions about travel and the coronavirus?
While we cannot guarantee answers to all of your questions, our team of advisors is here to assist with any questions you may have about upcoming travel. Contact us or make an appointment with one of our Houston travel agents.