Coronavirus fears are gripping Americans as the illness’ spread continues. Airlines have been hit particularly hard due to the virus, with many carriers suspending flights to Italy, China, and South Korea. According to news reports, Germany may be the next country to face flight reductions, as the number of infections continues to grow.
Carriers Changing Cancellation Fees Over Coronavirus
One of the most significant travel developments in the outbreak, however, has been the suspension of cancellation fees and the waiving of changing fees by airlines across the globe. Many of the changes are for those flying to the countries hit hardest by the virus – namely China, Iran, Italy, Japan, the Philippines, and South Korea.
Current List of Airlines Suspending Change and Cancellation Fees:
- Air Canada
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Delta Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- United Airlines
JetBlue the First U.S. Carrier to Waive Fees on All Routes
JetBlue will waive cancellation and change fees on all their routes. This makes JetBlue the first U.S. carrier to do so – despite the fact they don’t fly to any of the areas previously mentioned. The suspension is valid on all new bookings made from February 27 through March 11. Travel must be completed by June 1, 2020.
In a statement, JetBlue’s CEO and president, Joanna Geraghty, recognized the need to stay ahead of the situation. “While authorities have not issued any travel restrictions to the locations we fly, we want to give our customers some peace of mind that we are ready to support them should the situation change.
“Customers who book in the next two weeks will receive a full travel credit should they need to cancel their trip,” the statement continued, “and customers who wish to change their plans can apply the full amount from their original booking to a different itinerary, although fare differences may apply.”
Trip Cancellation Insurance
What can passengers do when wanting to cancel their flight due to coronavirus, but their airline doesn’t offer free changes?
The best way to protect yourself is by booking flights using a credit card that offers trip cancellation insurance. Trip cancellation insurance is a perk of some credit cards which provides protection should plans change at the last minute. Some popular credit cards that feature trip cancellation insurance include the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Bank of America Premium Rewards Card, the World of Hyatt Card, and the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card.
To see if the credit card you used to book travel features trip cancellation insurance, contact your issuer. You can also check the terms and conditions on their website.