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Novel Coronavirus: Airline Policies

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  • NOVEL CORONAVIRUS: AIRLINE POLICIES

As the rise of the novel coronavirus makes travellers dread reaching the destination they once desired, airlines have switched up the usual rules and policies concerning refunds and cancellation charges in correlation with the virus that was recently crowned as a pandemic. While many of these airlines do not offer full refunds, they do let you benefit from the absence of the additional costs that come along with rebookings and changing flights for the foreseeable future.

At Travel Center, it's more than just an obligation! As more of our airline partners change schemes associated with promoting flexibility and confidence in booking, we look forward to supporting your needs for every ticket you decide to purchase through us in the future.

Finally, if you wish to find answers to some of the most common questions asked about the virus, feel free to scroll down to our FAQ's, where we reply to 10 of the most critical questions that travellers seem to have.

Policies by Airline

Last updated: 25th May 2020

Air Canada is waiving change fees to give you more freedom to travel
Any new booking made for travel on or after March 1, 2020 can be changed without a fee. For non-refundable fares, you will get a credit towards future travel. Note that travel must be completed within 24 months of the cancellation date. For more information check Air Canada's website.
Singapore Airlines have adopted flexible ticket change policies for travellers
In light of the ongoing situation regarding the Novel Coronavirus, Singapore Airlines have adopted flexible ticket change policies for travellers concerned about potential changes to their travel plans. Singapore Airlines will waive the change fees for customers with tickets issued between 05 March 2020 – 30 June 2020. Any rebooked travel must be completed by 31 March 2021. Fare differences may still apply. For more information check Singapore Airlines's website.
Air New Zealand change flexibility on international tickets
If you have already booked ticket for travel before 30 June 2020, receive greater flexibility option to change your travel date free of charge, or arrange a 12 month credit for any future travel. Fare differences may still apply. For more information check Air New Zealand’s website.
West Jet change fee waived for new bookings
West Jet is waiving the change fee for all new air-only bookings made from 3 March 2020 to 31 May 2020. At this time, there are no travel restrictions to any of the destinations they fly. The one-time fee waiver is available for any itinerary change or cancellation made more than 24 hours from departure. However, due to evolving travel concerns, they want the customers to continue to book with confidence with a relaxed change fee should they need to alter their travel plans. Fare differences may still apply. For more information check West Jet’s website.
United Airline announces no change fees for new bookings
For tickets issued 01 April 2020 through 31 May 2020, customers will be permitted to change free of charge to a flight of equal or lesser value up to 12 months from the original ticket issue date. If the customer decides to cancel their flight, they can retain the value of the ticket to be applied to a new ticket without fee for travel up to 12 months from the original ticket issue date. Fare differences may still apply. For more information check United Airline’s website.
British Airways - Book with confidence, change fees waived
Given the dynamic global landscape, we know you need more flexibility to manage through the situation and book with confidence. Bookings made from 3 March 2020 to 31 July 2020, with a departure date up to 31 December 2020 will include enhanced flexibility. For all fares, all routes and all points of sale, we will waive the normal change fees to allow date changes and the ability to delay travel should the need arise. Fare differences may still apply. For more information check British Airway’s website.
Finnair: Flexibility to reservation changes
Due to the current outbreak of coronavirus, we want to offer you flexibility for making reservation changes and have updated our ticket change policy. This means you can now make also new bookings between 01 April - 30 June 2020 with peace of mind. Fare differences may still apply. For more information check Finnair’s website.
Egyptair declares waiving off change fees for all passengers
As per the latest situation of Coronavirus Outbreak (COVID-19), and the restrictions stated by some countries regarding travel procedures, EGYPTAIR declares the “waiving for all passengers from the change fees“ for tickets issued on / from 7 March 2020 till 30 June 2020 regardless of date of travel. Fare differences may still apply. For more information check Egyptair’s website.
Air Europa – “You are Free to Change”
If you plan to fly between 5 March and 30 June 2020 and your ticket was issued earlier on 21 April 2020, receive greater flexibility option to change your travel date free of charge, or arrange a 12 month credit for any future travel. You are free to change the date of any tickets purchased from 01 May 2020. Book now and fly to any of our Air Europa destinations whenever you like. Fare differences may still apply. For more information check Air Europa’s website.
Scandinavian Airlines Change fees removed on new bookings
As we know that flexibility is crucial to our travellers, we are offering new rebooking opportunities when you buy a new ticket between 5 March - 1 June 2020 for travel until 1 June 2021 (included). The rebooking fee will be removed. Fare differences may still apply. Rebooking must be made latest 30 November 2020. For more information check Scandinavian Airline’s website.
Alitalia – New travel policy with the change fee waiver
All passengers who purchase a ticket by 1 - 31 May 2020 for a flight until 30 April 2021 can request the following before the scheduled date: A change of booking for another trip taking place by 30 April 2021 or within the ticket validity period or a refund with a voucher of equal value to the ticket purchased with a validity of 1 year. Fare differences may still apply. For more information check Alitalia’s website.
Lufthansa – Flexible rebooking options
Book a new ticket until 30 June 2020, and Lufthansa will waive the rebooking fees for all newly booked flights worldwide and offer a one-time rebooking – regardless of the condition of the original booking fare purchased. You can rebook to a new travel date until 31 December 2021 without rebooking fees. Fare differences may still apply. For more information check Lufthansa’s website.
Swiss Airlines is introducing more flexible rebooking options
Swiss Airlines will waive its rebooking fees for all newly booked flights worldwide with immediate effect and until 30 June 2020 and offer a one-off free rebooking. Start of travel must be until 31 December 2021. The rebooking must be done before the original start of travel. Fare differences may still apply. For more information check Swiss Airline’s website.
Austrian Airlines - Rebooking options for future bookings
Until 30 June 2020, Austrian Airlines will waive rebooking fees and is offering a one-time free rebooking of all newly booked flights – regardless of the condition of the original fare booked. This regulation applies with immediate effect to tickets on the airline's worldwide route network. Fare differences may still apply. For more information check Austrian Airline’s website.
Brussels Airlines launches flexible rebooking options
Until 30 June 2020, Brussels Airlines waive the rebooking fees for all newly booked flights worldwide and offer a one-time rebooking free of charge. Passengers can in future rebook to a new travel date until 31 December 2021 without rebooking fees. Fare differences may still apply. For more information check Brussels Airline’s website.
Flexible Changes on all Royal Jordanian Flights
Due to Coronavirus latest updates around the world, Royal Jordanian is granting extra flexibility in tickets rules & regulations to ensure our customers’ health and comfort, and provide you with confidence planning your travel. First reservation change is free of charge for tickets purchase between 16 March till 15 June 2020. Fare differences may still apply. For more information check Royal Jordanian’s website.
SriLankan Airlines – Travel waiver policy
Following the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19), SriLankan Airlines updated its waiver policy to allow its passengers the choice to change travel dates and reissue their ticket without penalty. Accordingly, SriLankan Airlines will waive change and reissue fees on all tickets issued on or before 31 May 2020. You can rebook to a new travel date until 31 December 2020 without rebooking fees. Fare differences may still apply. For more information check SriLankan Airline’s website.
Thai Airways – Flexible rules
We want you to be able to book Thai Airways with confidence and as a result, we have introduced a flexible fare rules policy for all new TG tickets between 5 MAR 2020 and 31 MAR 2020. This flexible policy means that we will waive the applicable change fees for bookings made within this period. Fare differences may still apply. THAI has temporarily suspended operations between 25th March - 31st May 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. For more information check Thai Airway’s website.
Oman Air – Flexibility, that’s our promise
Oman Air has removed change fees on all new bookings made from 6 March 2020 till 31 May 2020. This means you can now book with confidence as our policy applies right up until departure without having to pay penalties should your travel plans change. Fare differences may still apply. For more information check Oman Air’s website.
Qatar Airways - Flexibility to change your travel plans
If you have already booked or planning to book for travel up to 30 September 2020, receive greater flexibility up to 3 days prior to departure by having the option to change your travel date free of charge, or exchange for a future travel voucher. Fare differences may still apply. For more information check Qatar Airway’s website.
Emirates introduces generous waiver policy
Emirates is providing customers more flexibility, choice and value through its newly introduced policies for all booked tickets issued until 30 June 2020, allowing customers across its network the choice of extending its validity to 24 months from the date of the original booking. For more information check Emirates’s website.
Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific offers you the flexibility to make free and unlimited changes to all new tickets issued between 9 March and 30 June 2020. Travel must be completed within one year from the date of ticket issuance. For more information check Cathay Pacific's website.
Virgin Atlantic
Virgin Atlantic waives change fees for bookings made between 20 March and 30 June 2020 for travel up until 31 December 2020, travel can be rebooked between 12 March 2020 and 30 September 2022. For more information check Virgin Atlantic's website.
Turkish Airlines
Turkish Airlines now allows you to make changes to your booking with no change fee or you can change your ticket into an open ticket in case Coronavirus has impacted that destination. Valid for tickets purchased between 21st March and 20th June 2020, and Travel until 31st December 2021. For more information check Turkish Airline's website.
Easy Jet
The waiver currently applies to both new and existing bookings. If you make a new booking, you can make changes to your flight while the waiver remains in place without paying the change fee and will only pay the fare difference. No change is given if the new fare is lower. Change fees and any new fare difference will apply for changes made once the fee waiver has ended.If you would like to transfer your flight, please contact our contact centre. For more information check Easy Jet's website.
RyanAir
Where your flight has been cancelled, you have the option to request a refund of your cancelled flight since they are made available immediately and free moves will be facilitated up to 90 days in advance. For more information check RyanAir's website.
Air France
If you have already booked your flight departing before 31 May 2020, you have until 30 September 2020 to postpone your departure date without change fees. Your new trip must begin no later than 31 May 2020 and must be booked in the same class (i.e. at the same fare). If the original booking class is no longer available, you will have to pay the fare difference. For more information check AirFrance's website.
Air India
Air India allows once free change to passengers for all existing bookings with travel date till 30th April 2020 and new bookings booked till 31st March 2020.. For more information check Air India's website.
American Airlines
You may change your flight once without paying a change fee for bookings made from 1st March to 31st May 2020. You can make a one-time change before your original departure date. New travel must be completed within 1 year of original ticket issue date. For more information check American Airline's website.
Asiana Airlines
Due to ongoing COVID-19 several entry restrictions to countries have been put in place. Reissue penalty has been waivered for 1st reissue only. However, this is limited to departures before June 30th 2020. For more information check Asiana Airline's website.
Delta Airlines
Delta Airlines is offering no change fees and greater flexibility to travel through 31 May 2022 for customers scheduled to travel from April & May, 2020. Further, no change fees apply for all tickets purchased between 1st March to 31st May, 2020. New travel must be completed within 1 year of original ticket issue date. For more information check Delta's website.
Gulf Air
Rebooking done or requested for departures beyond 31st May 2020 shall be considered as a voluntary rebooking and the applicable fare rules/conditions will apply to be refunded without penalty when there has been a Gulf Air schedule change. For more information check Gulf Air's website.
Air Transat
Air Transat will waive the change fees for bookings made between 13 April - 31 May 2020, to any destination. You can change your travel dates or destination or both! at no charge up to 24 hours before departure. You can reschedule your travel for any time within 12 months of your original travel dates. For more information check Air Transat's website.
Etihad Airways
If you’re scheduled to fly with Etihad Airways before 31 July 2020, you can rebook your flight for free, or use the value of your ticket as a credit towards your next trip. One free date change is permitted on all new flights booked before 31 July 2020. For more information check Etihad Airway's website.
Kenya Airways
Is offering a waiver for change fees on all fares for travel up to 30 June 2020, newly purchased tickets until 30 April 2020 will be exempt from change fees. This change gives customers the confidence to continue with travel plans even with the uncertainty of this situation. For more information check Kenya Airway's website.
Kuwait Airways
Has suspended all commercial flights to/from Kuwait effective from 11:59pm on 13th March 2020 until further notice, based on the decision of the Council of Ministers in the State of Kuwait regarding the outbreak of Coronavirus until the suspension of flights on 13th March 2020. For more information check Kuwait Airway's website.
Malaysia Airlines
Has an ultimate flexibility ticket change policy, offering unlimited, free changes for tickets booked on or before 30 June 2020. Rebook your tickets by 31 December 2020 and travel by 30 June 2021. For more information check Malaysia Airline's website.
Philippine Airlines
Is allowing one-time free rebooking or Travel voucher with a validity of 1 year for international tickets purchased on or before 30 April 2020. Fare differences may still apply. For more information check Philippine Airline's website.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you're travelling to China, South Korea, Iran or Italy - then no, it is not at all safe to travel, these destinations have been labelled as high-risk and are full of confirmed cases of the coronavirus. Some destinations, however, have not yet shown up on the radar that fishes for new cases of the coronavirus - these places are comparatively more protected. However, this does not mean you should forget to exercise general precaution and take cover under the terms of good hygiene (such as regular hand washes, avoiding touching your face, maintain distance with people who show symptoms of the coronavirus)

While The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do encourage postponing your trip during the coronavirus outbreak, we suggest you highly observe the condition in which the destination you're about to visit is in. If your holiday destination is drenched in cases of the novel coronavirus, then it may be wise to cancel or reschedule your trip. If it is relatively unharmed, then there's no reason why you cannot go. However, the final decision is all yours to take!

Flights have been temporarily cancelled to destinations that have been stamped as high-risk due to the coronavirus. These countries are usually the ones that pose a higher chance of spreading infections. However, places that are not deemed as high-risk will generally be safe enough for you while also having the testing facilities to find out if anyone who is infected by the coronavirus is entering the country.

It depends, usually, you would have to at least pay a cancellation fee or booking penalty if you did not buy a fully refundable ticket which is usually more expensive. However, this isn't the case with almost every airline - since different airlines have obviously different policies regarding this situation. Certain airlines have recently updated policies concerning the issues over coronavirus and we'll be able to help in any way possible.

Insurance companies are adequately specific over the terms that fall under situations where they have to pay for your cancellations. Unfortunately, if you decide to cancel or interrupt your trip over fears of getting infected by the coronavirus, you will not be able to get your cost covered.

Each company has its own rules, the CDC however, cannot intervene to get them to change their policies even when the reason stems from being infected by the coronavirus. Some companies and airlines have recently modified their usual methods regarding refunds, rebookings, and cancellations, so make sure to get in touch with the airline or travel agency you initially booked with to learn more about your options that have become available in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

Yes, ticket prices will be much lower than usual. This is done by the airlines to encourage travel during the coronavirus, and it is having a positive outcome thus far as many travellers have taken it as an opportunity to visit places that have not yet been affected by the coronavirus.

Hypothetically, if you do in fact get sick because of the coronavirus, then you'll need healthcare. We highly suggest you evaluate the quality of the healthcare that is available in the destination that you are going to visit so that if you get sick, you can get the necessary treatment.

You should be aware that even visiting a country with a certain number of coronavirus cases could cause a sudden outbreak which could possibly result in quarantine. If this occurs, you should be equipped to handle it and be able to have enough money to work their way through the extra time spent.

The chances are slim, but they exist.

If you travel to a city or country that does not have a large number of confirmed cases at the time of your arrival but gradually increases during your stay - then you might be checked, since technically, you are coming back from a place heavily affected by the coronavirus.