“What should I do about my trip?” It’s a question we are hearing often and frankly, the answers aren’t crystal clear. The best you can do is be sure you’re making decisions based on the best available information. Here’s how the airlines are handling issues regarding COVID-19, more commonly known as coronavirus. As policies change daily, we’ll be sure to update this regularly with the most current directives.
This list will be updated as soon as possible after we find out about a policy change. Last updated March 12, 11: 43 a.m.
If your flight is cancelled by the airline, according to the US Department of Transportation you will be eligible for a cash refund, full stop. The European Union has a similar rule, commonly known as Rule 261, that provides for refunds for any flights that arrive into, travel through, or depart Europe.
For more cancellation information about Sporting events, concerts, and other public gatherings check out our master list of event cancellations.
Alaska Airlines is allowing no-fee changes and cancellations to the following:
- Tickets purchased on or before February 26, 2020
- New tickets purchased between February 27, 2020 and March 31, 2020
Non-refundable first class, main cabin and award tickets may be changed for no fee, with new travel completed by February 28, 2021, or cancelled with travel funds placed into your Alaska Account or a credit card certificate via email. Fare difference applies. Saver fare tickets can only be cancelled with funds deposited into your Alaska Airlines account.
American Airlines is allowing customers who bought tickets before March 1, 2020 and scheduled to travel until April 30 to rebook without a change fee. Tickets need to be changed and travel must start before December 31, 2020. You’ll have to pay for any fare difference. Tickets booked between March 1 and 31, 2020 for any date can also be changed fee-free.
American is also allowing changes and refunds for tickets to:
- Italy or South Korea purchased on or before February 24, 2020
- Hong Kong purchased on or before January 28, 2020
- China bought on or before January 24, 2020
Delta Air Lines
Delta led the major US Airlines with flexible cancellation policies for customers affected by travel limitations due to coronavirus. All tickets purchased on or before March 9, 2020 for travel until April 30, 2020 can be changed without a service fee. Tickets must be re-issued and travel must begin by Dec 31, 2020.
Tickets purchased between March 1 and 31 for travel until February 25, 2021 are also eligible for fee-free changes. Travelers booked to COVID-19 affected destinations, including those in Italy, China and South Korea, before May 31st, 2020 can also be re-booked with waived change fees.
If you prefer, you can cancel your flight booked on or before March 9, 2020 and your funds will be available for one year from your original ticket’s issue date. Note that this does not mean that your money will be refunded, or even that you will be able to purchase a new ticket entirely with the funds from your ticket. Fare differences will apply, so if your new flight is more expensive you are on the hook for the difference.
Frontier makes the process more onerous than other airlines but has instituted some policies to make tickets more flexible in this challenging environment. To be frank, Frontier has the least customer-friendly policies of any US Airline.
Tickets may only be modified by phone and only may be modified or refunded for flight credit one time. Fare differences will apply. Frontier’s flight credits are only valid for 90 days from the cancellation date. For changed flights, travel must be completed by November 9, 2020.
- Flights booked before March 10, 2020 for travel before April 30, 2020 may be changed.
- Flights booked March 10-31, 2020 for travel through November 9 may be changed. Frontier has an existing policy that tickets changed more than 60 days before departure.
Hawaiian Airlines is offering a flexible ticketing policy. Guests who book any flights between March 1 and March 31, 2020, can change travel to future dates without incurring fees. The waiver allows a one-time change per ticket and fare difference applies.
Travelers with bookings made prior to March 9, 2020, with travel between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020 can make flight changes with new travel commencing no later than December 31, 2020. This waiver allows a one-time change per ticket and fare difference applies.
Hawaiian Airlines has additional waivers for flights to Japan, South Korea and China.
- Japan: Flights booked for new travel on or before April 23, 2020 will have no change fee and no fare difference. Flights booked for new travel on or after April 23, 2020 will have no change fee but will be charged fare difference. Tickets must have been issued by March 6, 2020 and must be rebooked by April 12, 2020 to qualify.
- South Korea: Flights rebooked for new travel on or before October 31, 2020 will have no change fee and no fare difference. Flights booked for new travel on or after October 31, 2020 will have no change fee but will be charged fare difference. Tickets for scheduled travel between February 24, 2020 to May 1, 2020. New travel must be booked by October 31, 2020.
- China: Flights rebooked for new travel on or before May 31, 2020 will have no change fee and no fare difference. Flights booked for new travel on or after May 31, 2020 will have no change fees but will be charged fare difference. Tickets must have been issued prior to January 27, 2020 with affected flights scheduled between January 27, 2020 and March 31, 2020. New travel must be rebooked by March 31, 2020.
JetBlue is waiving cancellation and change fees for all flights based on the purchase date.
- Travel dates of March 10 to April 30, 2020, regardless of the ticket purchase date.
- Tickets for travel before June 1, 2020 may be exchanged if they were purchased after February 27, 2020.
- For new bookings between March 6 and 31, 2020 for flights before September 8, 2020, change and cancellation fees are also waived.
New flights must be completed by October 24, 2020. Refunds are issued as JetBlue credit, valid for one year from the issue date. This is the longest window of any US airline, as most others’ credits are valid for one year from ticket purchase date.
Southwest Airlines doesn’t have to make special accommodations for COVID-19 because it already offers the most generous change and cancellation policies in the airline industry. As long as you change your ticket ten minutes before flight time, you can get your flight re-booked or refunded into travel credit without penalty. You’ll just have to pay any fare difference that applies when you re-book your flight. Note that travel funds are good for one year and must be used by the person whose name is listed on the ticket.
Unlike the other airlines, Spirit has not instituted a date-specific change policy. Instead, they are extending an offer of a one-time fee-free change or cancellation. Fare difference will apply. If you choose to cancel, you will receive flight credit that is valid for six months. Note that this means you have six months to book your flight, so effectively you will have 9-12 months to use it based on how far in advance Spirit has posted its schedule.
Spirit is not allowing fee-free changes online, but you can use their customer service via text option, which in my experience is quite responsive.
Tickets purchased from March 3 to 31, 2020 can be changed or canceled without fees for dates through the end of schedule. All tickets purchased prior to March 3, 2020 can be re-booked until December 31, 2020, or a year from the original ticket issue date.
Tickets booked to China and Hong Kong with a travel date before June 30, 2020 are eligible for fee-free rebooking or a cash refund, even on non-refundable fares. Tickets to Italy and South Korea before June 30 are eligible for re-booking without fees, but not for cash refunds.
A fare difference will apply for more expensive tickets. If the new ticket is cheaper than the one you purchased, the difference will not be refunded. In that case you are better off cancelling the ticket and rebooking at the cheaper price. . Canceled tickets retain their original value for travel on United 12 months for following their original issue date. You could then use the remainder towards a new ticket.
Some countries not on the list of most affected countries, notably Israel and Kuwait, have cancelled all flights from a long list of countries.Things are fluid to say the least, but this list will be updated daily.
European Arrival Restrictions
The most important thing to know is that US citizens and legal residents ARE allowed to travel to the United States from Europe. However, we should expect widespread cancellations of flights to and from Europe due to diminished demand.
Any U.S. citizen or lawful U.S. permanent resident returning to the United States who has traveled to one of the Schengen Area countries within the previous 14 days must enter the United States through an approved airport. The list of airports currently processing flights from COVID-affected areas are:
- John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York
- Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois
- San Francisco International Airport (SFO), California
- Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Washington
- Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Hawaii
- Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), California
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Georgia
- Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), Virginia
- Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), New Jersey
- Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas
- Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW), Michigan
Foreign nationals who have visited the following European countries in the last 14 days preceding their entry are affected by the new restrictions. This list includes:
- Czech Republic
Flights booked before March 9, 2020 to any destination traveling before April 30, 2020 can be rebooked for travel until October 20, 2020.
- Flights booked after March 9, 2020 for any travel date up to October 20,2020 can be rebooked for travel up until October 20,2020.
Aer Lingus has not established a policy regarding flights booked prior to March 6, 2020 at this time. This stance seems untenable and we will monitor it for changes. Flights booked on March 6 and later are eligible for re-booking without restriction. Fare difference will apply.
Passengers with tickets to Italy and Israel until May 31, 2020 may:
- Rebook to a different date up until December 31, 2020. Fare differences apply.
- Rebook to a different destination up until December 31, 2020. Fare differences apply.
- Get a full cash refund.
Passengers with tickets to Germany, Spain or France until May 31, 2020 may:
- Rebook to a different date up until May 31, 2020. Fare differences apply.
- Rebook to a different destination up until May 31, 2020. Fare differences apply.
- Customers with new reservations booked from March 4 to 31, 2020 are eligible for rebooking for travel up to 12 months after original booking date. Fare difference will apply.
- Customers with tickets to most destinations dated between March 11 and April 30, 2020 may rebook to any destination for selected dates until November 30. You could also receive a voucher good for travel until December 31, 2020. Fare difference will apply.
Air France and KLM have instituted a flexible booking policy for all tickets issued up to March 31, 2020. Tickets may be rebooked for a later date up until May 31, 2020, or passengers have the option to receive a non-refundable voucher good for 12 months. The voucher can be used interchangeably on Air France, KLM, Delta or Virgin Atlantic.
- Tickets booked to China before May 31, 2020, may be re-booked no later than June 30, 2020. They are also eligible for re-booking onto another route or for a cash refund.
- Tickets booked to Italy before April 30, 2020, may be re-booked no later than May 31, 2020. You can also receive a voucher good for travel for the value of your ticket.
- Tickets booked to Singapore on KLM only before February 27, 2020 for travel until March 31, 2020 may be rebooked no later than April 30, 2020. You can also receive a voucher towards a new ticket to another destination.
- Tickets booked to Seoul, South Korea until April 30, 2020 are eligible for re-booking until May 31, 2020. They are also eligible for a cash refund if the ticket was booked via KLM or a voucher if the ticket was issued via Air France.
As one might imagine, Italy’s national carrier has been heavily affected. That said, its policy is quite limited. Passengers who purchased their tickets Internationally are eligible for changes. Tickets issued before March 3, 2020 with travel until April 3, 2020 can have the date changed up to June 30 ,2020. They also have the option of changing the destination and flying on the date of their original ticket.
Tickets purchased before March 3, 2020 to Italy and Hong Kong may be modified or cancelled with limitations.
- Tickets from London to all Italian destinations through April 4, 2020 can either be rebooked for a later date or refunded.
- Tickets to and from Hong Kong before May 31, 2020, you have the option to rebook to a later date. Both departure and arrival gateways must remain the same.
Tickets purchased between March 3 and March 31, 2020, can be either rebooked within 12 months of departure or refunded via flight voucher. The flight voucher is good for 12 months from original date of departure.
No change and cancellation policy specific to the COVID-19 outbreaks; policies are proceeding as normal at this time. Flight that are cancelled by EasyJet will be eligible for refund, but otherwise you’re out of luck.
Flights booked with Finnair until April 30, 2020, may be rebooked without charge up until November 30, 2020. Fare difference will apply. In addition, Finnair has cancelled many flights. In the case of cancellation your ticket price will be refunded.
Iberia has quite an elaborate set of conditions listed on their website, but they all share in common the ability to request a voucher for the amount of the flight if the other conditions are met. The vouchers are valid for travel until December 31.
- Italy: In general, flights can be rebooked to travel as late as June 15, 2020. The valid dates for this offer vary by city in Italy, but all cities are eligible for the flight voucher if re-booking isn’t an option.
- Madrid: If you have a flight to Madrid before April 30, 2020, you can rebook for selected dates up until November 30, 2020. Blackout dates include most of the summer and other peak dates so the voucher option may make more sense.
- From the U.S. to Europe: Same policy as Madrid. If you are flying to Europe, it is likely you are transiting Madrid anyway.
- Japan: If you have a flight to Japan before April 30, 2020, you can rebook for selected dates up until November 30, 2020.
- Shanghai: If you have a flight to Shanghai before April 30, 2020, you can rebook for selected dates up until November 30, 2020.
LOT Polish Airlines
Flights booked on March 6 or later for travel between March 12 and April 24, 2020 are eligible for rebooking for travel until December 31, 2020. Fare difference will apply.
Lufthansa, Austrian, Swiss, Brussels, Air Dolomiti (Lufthansa Group)
The Lufthansa group of airlines has a sweeping policy that is quite clear. All tickets booked before March 5, 2020, with travel before April 30, 2020 can can re-booked as late as December 31, 2020 without a change fee. Flights booked between March 6 and 31, 2020 are also eligible for re-booking until December 31. Fare differences will apply.
Norwegian Airlines is waiving change fees for flights to Italy booked before March 6 for travel until March 19, 2020. Flight dates may be changed to travel up until May 18, 2020. At this point there are no other policies in place, however Norwegian expects to cancel 3,000 flights to and from the USA between Mid-March and Mid-June. In the case of cancellation you are eligible for a full refund.
No coronavirus-specific policy is in effect at this time, policies are proceeding as normal at this time. Flights cancelled by Ryanair will be eligible for refund, otherwise you’re out of luck.
Tickets booked before March 5, 2020 for travel until April 30, 2020 to, from and within Europe (except within Scandinavia) are eligible for rebooking for a departure date before November 30, 2020.
Tickets booked between March 6 and 19, 2020 for travel until November 30, 2020 may be changed for a different flight date until November 30, 2020 without a fee. Fare differences apply and destination and return must be the same.
TAP Air Portugal
- TAP Air Portugalickets booked between March 8 and 31, 2020 are eligible for rebooking without restriction through end of schedule. Changes must be made 21 days prior to departure and fare difference will apply.
- Tickets to Italy purchased before March 8, 2020 may be rebooked for any destination for travel up until May 31, 2020.
Turkish has a fee-free change policy for all international bookings. If you purchased your ticket before March 5, 2020, you can re-book for a travel date until December 31, 2020 provided you make the request before March 16, 2020.
Tickets purchased between March 6 and March 24, 2020, are eligible for rebooking until December 31, 2020, as long as you re-book within five days of the new flight.
Information for additional international carriers will be added as soon as possible.
- Flights booked before March 4, 2020 for travel before April 30, 2020 may be rebooked for travel until September 30, 2020. Fare differences apply.
- Flights booked on or after March 1, 2020 may be rebooked for travel until September 30,2020. Fare differences apply.
Based on the situation on the ground, it may be more likely that your flight gets cancelled than you having to rebook on your own. If your flight gets cancelled, you will be eligible for a cash refund. If you want to change your plans before flights are actually cancelled, here are the most recent policies.
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