Coronavirus Cancellation Policies for each US Airline

If you’re flying anytime in the near future, a concern on your mind might be, and should be, what if the COVID-19, or Coronavirus situation, becomes worse? Will you be able to cancel your airline tickets? Are you protected if you either decide to or are told that you cannot fly? We’ve compiled a list of each of the US Airline’s cancellation policies and how you can either get a credit, change your flight, or get a refund.

Please note – we are updating this as more information becomes available. Updated Spirit Airlines COVID-19 Coronavirus Policy on 3/11.

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines has always had a very generous change/cancellation policy, even before the Coronavirus outbreak. The following rules apply:

Normal fees apply to tickets purchased prior to February 27, 2020.

If you purchase a Saver fare between February 27, 2020 and March 31, 2020 for travel through February 28, 2021, you may:

  • Cancel your trip and deposit the funds into your My Account wallet

If you purchase a nonrefundable First Class or Main fare between February 27, 2020 and March 31, 2020 for travel through February 28, 2021, you may:

  • Make a one-time change with no change fee. New travel must be completed by February 28, 2021. A fare difference may apply to your new itinerary
  • Cancel your trip and deposit the funds into My Account wallet.

In short, even the lowest price highly restricted fares are allowing waivers. That’s pretty generous, but it is important to note that a ticket you bought before February 27th will have its normal rules applied.

Allegiant Air

While Allegiant is a domestic carrier and does not serve Europe or Asia, that doesn’t mean that there is zero chance for them to be affected with the Coronavirus.

Customers with reservations may request a one-time change to their travel plans without incurring change / cancel fees. To make changes to your reservation, please contact our Customer Care Service Center at 702-505-8888. You may also contact us via email at Customer.Relations@allegiantair.com or our social media on Twitter @allegiant or Facebook @allegiant for assistance.

American Airlines 777, from Bizjournals.com

American Airlines

American Airlines has never really been generous with cancellations or changes. I know that every time I’ve tried to call American about any change whatsoever, customer service was not their guiding light.

With the Coronavirus outbreak, they’re being slightly more relaxed. But only slightly…

If you purchased a ticket on American Airlines between March 5, 2020 at 9 a.m. CT and March 31, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. CT, you may change your flight once without paying a change fee*. Tickets must be purchased for travel between March 5, 2020 and January 30, 2021.

Exception policy

  • We will waive the change fee only on published Non-Refundable Fare tickets.
  • Tickets must be purchased between March 5, 2020 at 9 a.m. CT and March 31, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. CT, with original travel between March 5, 2020 and January 30, 2021.
  • Changes must be made prior to the departure of your original flight*.
  • New travel must be completed within 1 year of original ticket issue date.
  • Any difference in fare will apply.
  • Change your trip online or by calling Reservations.

Note that you can CHANGE your flight with no fee, but not cancel. Also, the policy WILL NOT apply to Award tickets, so if you ant those miles redeposited, you’re out of luck.

Delta Airlines

Delta has always been proactive about making customers first. Their policy reflects that as well during the Coronavirus situation.

To provide you with flexibility for your travel plans, we’re offering you the following options to choose what best fits your travel needs. 

  1. Change to a different flight
    1. If you select this option, you may make a one-time change and we will waive any applicable change fee.*
    2. Note, the change fee will be waived, however, a difference in fare may apply.
  2. You may choose to cancel your trip, and use the value towards a future flight. 
    1. You may cancel your flight and apply any unused value of the ticket toward the purchase of a new ticket for a period of one year from the original issue date. 
    2. Applicable change fee and fare difference will apply for new travel dates and will be collected at the time of booking the new ticket. 
    3. To cancel your flight, visit My Trips on delta.com and click on “Modify Flight” then choose “Start Flight Cancelation”.

Unlike American Airlines, Delta is allowing you a full cancellation as well. While not refunding the money, they will allow you to keep that value as a future credit valid for a year from purchase.

Delta plane waiting at the gate, Atlanta

Frontier Airlines

No changes, and no official policy. Shocking… Coronavirus be damned!

Hawaiian Airlines

For flights inside the United States, you can make one change if you booked it between March 1 and March 31st. There are separate travel waivers in place for Japan, South Korea, and China.

jetBlue

Due to evolving coronavirus concerns, we are extending the suspension of JetBlue change and cancel fees for all new flight bookings made between March 6, 2020 and March 31, 2020 for travel through September 8, 2020.

The change/cancel fees suspension still applies for bookings made between February 27, 2020 and March 5, 2020 for travel through June 1, 2020.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest has had a very generous cancellation rule as a part of their standard operating procedures. Southwest Airlines never charges Customers a fee to change or cancel their flight. If a Customer’s plans change, or they decide they no longer want to travel, the funds used to pay for their flight can be applied to future travel – as long as they cancel their flight at least 10 minutes prior to the scheduled departure. 

They have instead decided to up their cleaning procedures, overnight doing a thorough hospital grade cleaning of all interiors of the planes.

Spirit Airlines

UPDATE – we originally reported that Spirit Airlines did not have a cancellation or change policy for this pandemic. Now, as of yesterday, that information has been updated. From Spirit Airlines:

Flexible Travel Policy

We recognize the potential uncertainty regarding travel plans during this time and offer the following flexible travel policy.

Spirit Guests who must alter their travel plans due to COVID-19 are eligible to make a one-time free modification (fare difference applies) by contacting Spirit Guest Care through the following options:

Calling (801) 401-2222

Texting 48763

Texting via WhatsApp to (801) 401-2222 with “Hello”

Alternatively, Guests who must alter their travel plans due to COVID-19 have the option to receive a reservation credit for the full value of their reservation. This reservation credit can be used for up to 6 months to book any flight currently available (including beyond the 6-month timeframe), and it can be used toward flights as well as other options (excluding 3rd party products). Guests who cancel their reservation can request a refund of their travel insurance premiums from Travel Guard, if eligible, here.

Guests needing to cancel or make changes to a reservation due to other circumstances are advised to make modifications to their reservation online.

Bravo Spirit Airlines, Bravo

Sun Country Airlines

No travel advisories are in place.

United Airlines

Still not the most customer friendly airline, United Airlines has at least made an effort, even though they were the last ones to come to the table with waivers.

  • We’re waiving change fees for any bookings — domestic and international — made between March 3 and March 31, 2020.
  • The waiver applies to all tickets, all fare types, all destinations, all points-of-sale and all travel dates available for sale.
  • For more information visit https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/travel/notices.html.

No cancellations are allowed, but you can do one change.

And that’s it! Things are pretty fluid right now, but if you’re concerned that you might need to make changes, feel free knowing that with these airlines, you’ve got an out… at least for most of them.

Author: Jon Nickel-D'Andrea

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14 Comments

  1. I searched the net on this topic and discovered your post. Needed clarity and more information on cancellation. AS I will have to cancel my holiday scheduled in April.

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    • Which airline are you flying on?

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  2. For HAL flights, why is only booking between 1 March thru 31 March qualify for the waiver fee to reschedule? I made my reservation early last year and because we are an elderly couple (77 and 76 years old) and schedule to fly into Seattle WA on 19 March and return on the 31st.) we are concerned that we will have some hardship to pay the reschedule fees, which will be a total cost of $800! Could HAL make an exception to this rule?

    Post a Reply
    • It’s quite possible. Those are the hard and fast rules but you’ll find that if you call and speak to someone they have discretion to make changes.

      Post a Reply
  3. American was being difficult at first on waiving fees for me. I had an award ticket travelling on Mar 12 from NRT-DOH-DFW on Qatar Airways booked using AAdvantage miles that I needed to cancel since I was not going to make it Tokyo. Called AA reservations and first agent absolutely cannot waive the mileage redeposit fee which would have been $125 plus $25 for the second pax. I pleaded my case nicely with the agent and she escalated it to a supervisor who told me the same thing. I finally quoted from the Qatar website that they were waiving all cancellation fees for flights through June 30th. She put me on hold for about 15 minutes then finally relented and redeposited my miles and waived the fee. I’m just a lowly Gold elite but I did find if you get the right agent on the phone you might get lucky YMMV. It’s a crazy time to travel so do your homework on their changing policies because even the reps don’t always understand what is going on.

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    • Exactly. I’m glad it worked out. I find that if you hang up and call again sometimes you get the answer you need. Airlines want every penny of revenue right now so expect a fight.

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        • They are in a different post for global airlines. Since this is only a post for US Airlines

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  4. I actually spoke with Spirit (via their text chat) regarding an upcoming flight. They cancelled my booking completely and provided me with a travel voucher for the full amount. It needs to be used within 60 days (and they mentioned something about being able to extend it 6 months), but still better than just losing the entire purchase amount.

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    • Wow. Bravo!

      Post a Reply
  5. Purchased ticket January 2,2020, (Southwest), to travel March 17-April 1, 2020. The cancellation policy requires me to travel by January 2,2021 instead of my travel date of March 17th. If I wanted to travel in January that would benefit me, but because I choose to book in January to travel in March, I will loose and Southwest will benefit. This policy should be amended to travel date!

    Post a Reply
  6. What about British Caledonian to Italy? May7th through the may16?

    Post a Reply
    • British Caledonian?

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      • My wife called Frontier Airlines last Friday. It is total BS that Frontier Airline will not return my money for I booked top Vegas in first part of April. Who knows how long this will last and with the way things are going people may need the money for other stuff. My but or luggage will never see those seats. They are thief’s.

        Post a Reply

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