Coronavirus Cancellation Policies for Airlines across the Globe
The Coronavirus is wreaking havoc on the airline industry worldwide. A few days ago we posted about Coronavirus cancellation waivers on United States airlines, and just yesterday we posted about the Coronavirus and the effect on hotel bookings and reservations.
We thought it would be good to look at what cancellation and rebooking policies are for a dozen or so of the airlines that will affect you the most. Mostly, airlines that touch US soil or directly are impacted by Italy, China, Hong Kong, and greater SE Asia.
Official Coronavirus Policy. Business as usual, but flights to Korea and Iran are being sent to a different part of the airport for screening.
You can pretty much do whatever you need to with your flights. Their Official Page here explains more, but in brief. You can change flights with no fee, cancel flights with no fee (and fly in the next year), or even change routes and destinations. Not bad, Aeromexico, not bad!
Air Canada is not allowing changes or waivers to any flight that does not touch Italy or South East Asia.
Because of the novel coronavirus, we understand that you may want to make alternate travel arrangements. For this reason, Air Canada has implemented a goodwill policy that applies to flights to, from or via the countries and regions listed below. For other destinations our normal fare rules, including change policies, apply.
Their official Coronavirus page is here, so check back for more details as they constantly change.
As one of the largest airlines in China, you would expect a lot of shakeups at Air China. Their official Coronavirus policy is wide reaching, so here’s the page for all the updates. Their flights between San Francisco and the New York/DC area will continue, but many flights have been cancelled, including Los Angeles, Houston, and more.
Their policy is as follows:
1. Free refund
Tickets within the validity period qualify for refund and exemption from refund handling fee at the original locations of ticket purchase.
Within the validity period, the tickets can be changed to inbound/outbound flights that will continue to be operated by Air China between China and the US before March 28, 2020 (included), with no ticket change fee, sub-class fare difference and seasonal fare differences charged.
3. Flight change
Within the validity period, the tickets mentioned above involving canceled flights can be changed to flights operated before Jun 30, 2020 (included), with no ticket change fee, sub-class fare difference and seasonal fare differences charged. If such tickets are changed to flights operated after July 1, 2020 (included), no ticket change fee is charged, but sub-class fare differences and off seasonal fare differences are to be charged.
Air France is allowing changes, fee free, for any bookings throughout its network, for flights booked on AND BEFORE March 31st, 2020. You can make changes to your flight until May 31st, 2020, for no charge, even if the fare price is higher, but only if you book moving forward. If you had a flight you made before March 31st, you can change, but you will pay the fare difference.
If you’re done and want to cancel because of Coronavirus concerns, you can get a credit voucher good for one year on Air France, KLM, or Partners.
You’ve probably heard now that the entire country is on lockdown. Coming and going to Italy is bear impossible, so because of that, the policy was just recently updated. Find their current policy here, but here’s the highlights:
- You may rebook without penalty with a new departure date no later than June 30th
- You may reroute, on the same date, but you must do so before April 3rd
Please note that these are only for international destinations. For domestic, internal Italian flights, all fare rules apply.
Also, it is important to note that many countries are mandating quarantine to anyone visiting Italy, so please make sure to head to your country’s health department website or visit the Alitalia page for more information.
ANA All Nippon Airways
Ana has an incredibly complicated Coronavirus Cancellation and Rebooking policy. Their flight handling depends on when you bought, where you’re flying, when you’re flying, when you bought, and more. I tried to get a good handle on it, but the best way is just go to their site and click your destination and where you purchased the flight. Many flights are cancelled, and rebooking is possible on partners if available.
Affected routes for the Coronavirus waiver include:
- Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Nha Trang, Phu Quoc, Da Nang, Singapore, Phnom Penh, Jakarta
- Saipan, Sydney
- Honolulu, JFK, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco
- Lisbon, Frankfurt, Venice, Rome/Leonardo Da Vinci, Paris, London, Barcelona, Istanbul
- Almaty, Tashkent
- HongKong, Taichong, Kaohsiung, Taipei, Tokyo/Narita, Tokyo/Haneda, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Okinawa, Miyazaki, Osaka/Kansai, Sendai, Sapporo, Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai/Pudong, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Yancheng, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Guilin, Changsha, Haikou, Chongqing, Chengdu, Xian, Qingdao, Yantai, Weihai, Changchun, Yanji, Dalian, Harbin
If you’re on one of these routes, reach out for a refund.
Avianca is offering you the chance to change your itinerary without any penalty if you bought between March 4th and March 31st to anywhere in the US, Canada, or Europe. You only get one waiver, so make it count, and you can fly anytime before December 31st, 2020.
British Airways is offering a change fee waiver if you purchased your flight between March 3 and March 16. Currently, that’s it. If you bought your ticket before you might be out of luck. As with all things, call and ask for exceptions.
As a Hong Kong based airline, you can imagine that there are a lot of restrictions. There are, and they are ever changing. Read the full policy here.
Surprisingly, EasyJet flies to a lot of the places with travel restrictions. Affected customers are being contacted by SMS, so check your texts if you think you might be affected. The full Coronavirus policy is here.
The Israeli Ministry of Health has imposed restrictions of entry to people visiting from certain countries. Here is El AL’s policy, and you can see links to the Ministry of Health from there. Depending on your time of booking, you will be entitled to a change or cancellation waiver.
Emirates is making sure they’re doing all they can to help travelers during the Coronavirus outbreak. They’re offering fee waivers so long as you book before March 31st, and they’re also offering bonus tier miles and reduced tier requirements to help elite travelers keep their status.
Etihad Airways has suspended services on some routes in the Gulf region, to China and Hong Kong, and introduced fee waivers for guests who are required to cancel their flights or change their travel arrangements because of Covid-19 restrictions.
While Finnair has restrictions or cancellations in place for trips to Italy and Israel, if you’re looking to change flights to other destinations, you can get free waivers before April 30th. You can only change the travel up until November 30th, 2020.
With flights to Tel Aviv, Italy, the USA, Japan, and Shanghai, Iberia has been largely affected. According to Iberia’s Coronavirus policy, you can change your ticket or receive a “bonus” for the flight value. Poorly translated, it means a credit back to be used on a future flight, but you will not be issued a refund.
New bookings: With our Peace of Mind Policy, we are suspending change fees for all new flight bookings made from March 3 until April 1, 2020 for travel on/before August 31, 2020. The travel period has to be before September 1, 2020. Fare differences may apply.
Existing bookings: Icelandair is waiving change fees to all existing Icelandair tickets starting with the number 108-240 issued before March 3, 2020 for travel on/before August 31, 2020. The travel period has to be before September 1, 2020. This change fee waiver applies under the following conditions:
JAL Japan Airlines
JAL’s website lists their policies for flights to Asia, Europe, the US, and beyond. The page is being updated daily, so make sure to check back if you need a refund with JAL
We loved our flight on Korean Air, but that might be changing a lot since the Coronavirus. Many of Korean Air’s flights have been cancelled or delayed, so you can expect a very fluid situation. From now until June 30th, you can get a date change, a waiver of the penalty to do so, or a waiver of the refund penalty.
You might even avoid the fee difference in fare if you meet a couple of categories:
- Required reissue to origin ticket destination due to entry restriction regarding COVID-19
- Denied boarding passengers due to registering a higher temperature
- Purchased ticket holders who are reissued to the identical destination due to entry restrictions regarding on the visit in China within 14 days. (Attached with valid document)
LATAM is being more stingy with their fees, and only refunding or allowing changes if you have been to a country that will limit your restrictions if you have visited China.
The Lufthansa Group includes Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Air Dolomiti. You can rebook your flights up to December 31st if you bought your ticket before March 5th. If you booked after March 5th, they’ll give you a one-time free rebooking.
Lufthansa has limited the number of flights, cancelled many flights, and is limiting flights to certain destinations. You can find all of the latest information with their Coronavirus policy here.
Norwegian is allowing rebooking if you have a flight up until March 22nd. They are planning on cancelling over 3,000 flights from now until June 30, 2020, so stay tuned to your reservatin to see if you’re affected. If you are, you can request a refund from the airline
Surprisingly, Ryanair has a cancellation policy, but it’s pretty light:
Ryanair has been forced to cancel up to 25% of all Italian short haul flights for a three week period from the 17th March to 8th April, in response to the Covid19 virus. All impacted customers have been notified by email and SMS and given the option to request a refund, rebook or re-route their journey.
If you have a specific query please bear with us as we currently have a high volume of inbound contacts.
TAP is only allowing changes if you book between March 8 and March 31st, and you must allow 21 days before departure (seems kind of long, in my opinion). If you travel after May 31st, they are asking that you wait “to see how the situation evolves”
Turkish has no policy for US flight, but lays out specific rules for their China, Israel, Italy, Iraq, and South Korea flights. You can read their full policy here.
To give you greater peace of mind with your upcoming travel plans, we’ve introduced a flexible no change fees policy
- for bookings made before 4 March, for travel between 1 March and 30 April 2020. Travel can be rebooked between 9 March 2020 and 30 September 2020.
- for bookings made between 1 March and 31 March., travel can be rebooked between 2 March 2020 and 30 September 2020.
This means that if your plans do need to change, you can switch your flight to an alternative date with no penalty. Rebooked flights will be subject to availability and any difference in fare.
Ever Changing List
We’ve done out best to hit the major airlines and groups, but please know that these are in constant flux as each airline learns new information. WE’ll try our best to update it, but the best is to head directly to that airline’s policy, which we have linked with each specific carrier. As with all things, be safe, use good judgement, and wash your hands.