Will my airline give me a refund due to the coronavirus?
As the World Health Organization formally declared the coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak a global pandemic and the US imposed travel restrictions on Europe, airlines have responded by introducing more flexible change policies to help customers who may need to postpone or cancel trips.
Airlines are introducing more flexible rebooking policies in response to the coronavirus pandemic ©Alex Kraus/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Air Canada is waiving change fees on new bookings made up to 31 March, 2020 for travel that must be completed by 31 December, 2020. The airline is also allowing passengers to make a one-time change on existing bookings made before 4 March, 2020 for travel through 30 April, 2020. See here for more information.
Ireland’s flag carrier has extended its change policy to cover existing bookings, as well as new bookings. Under the new policy, online bookings made before 6 March and valid for travel up to 30 May, 2020 will not be subject to change fees. See here for more information.
All bookings made before 31 March to international and domestic destinations can be postponed until 31 May, free of charge. Fare difference will apply if the same booking class is no longer available. See here for more information.
Italy’s national airline is waiving change fees on international tickets for travel through 30 June. Customers are also entitled to change the destination of their trip, without extra charge, if they want to keep the same date. Again, fare differences will apply and tickets must be changed before 3 April, 2020. See here for more information.
All Nippon Airways
ANA is offering free cancellations and one-time changes on flights to and from Japan, China, South Korea, and cities in Northern Italy under lockdown, for travel through 30 April, 2020. Customers must rebook a new travel date before 30 June, 2020. See here for more information.
American Airlines announced that it would waive change fees for customers who purchased tickets before 1 March for travel through 30 April. The offer is available on any of American’s fares and customers have until 31 December, though they must pay fare differences. The airline is also offering changes and refunds for any flights to Italy or South Korea purchased on or before 24 February 2020; on Hong Kong tickets purchased before 28 January 2020 and on China tickets purchased before 24 January 2020. See here for more information.
A timetable displays cancelled flights at Milan’s Linate airport ©Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images
British Airways is waiving rebooking fees on all new flight and holiday bookings to any destination, both domestic and international. Customers can change the travel date on bookings made between 3 and 31 March without paying a new booking fee; or exchange bookings for travel credit. Flights must be rebooked up to 12 months from the original flight date. See here for more information.
The Hong Kong-based carrier is offering free changes on new bookings up until 20 April, 2020. Customers who purchased a ticket before 9 March can still change their booking, though some fees may apply. Passengers travelling to, through or from Hong Kong between now and 31 May, 2020 can reschedule their flight without charge but they must rebook before 10 December, 2020. See here for more information.
Delta Air Lines
Delta is waiving change fees for travel to both domestic and international destinations for all tickets issued on or before 9 March for travel through 30 April. The airline has also agreed to waive change fees for customers travelling to Europe, the UK, Beijing, Shanghai and Seoul, through 31 May following the US government-issued travel restrictions. See here for more information.
The British low-cost airline says it will allow customers to make a one-time change on both new and existing tickets without incurring a change fee. Travel timeframes have not been specified. See here for more information.
The Dubai-based airline is allowing customers to reschedule bookings made on or before 31 March, at no extra cost. Fare differences apply. See here for more information.
Etihad say customers can amend their holiday and flight dates free of charge on new bookings from 8 March until 7 April, 2020. Those who are due to fly before 30 June, but whose flights have been cancelled, are also permitted to reschedule. Fare differences apply. See here for more information.
Empty Delta Airlines check-in desk at Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport ©Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images
There appears to be a good chance that passengers can exchange their existing ticket (booked before 11 March and valid for travel between 1 March and 30 April, 2020) to destinations including Madrid, Japan, Shanghai and Italy for travel credit of the same amount, if all the conditions are met. The credit is valid for travel up to 31 December, 2020 but some black out dates apply. Tickets can be exchanged here if they were purchased online. See here for more information.
JetBlue is waiving cancellation and change fees for all flights for travel through 30 April 2020, regardless of when customers purchased their tickets. Cancellation and change fees will also be waived for travel through 1 June, if tickets were purchased between 27 February and 5 March. And, there are no change or cancellation fees on new flights booked between 6 and 31 March, for travel through 8 September 2020. See here for more information.
Qantas and Jetstar
Qantas and Jetstar are waiving change fees for new international bookings made from now until 31 March for travel through 30 June 2020. It’s limited to one change per customer and customers will need to pay any fare difference. See here for more information.
Qatar has a pretty generous waiver policy. Passengers on domestic and international flights for travel through 30 June, 2020 can apply to reschedule or exchange their booking for credit that’s valid for travel up to 12 months after the original booking date. See here for more information.
The airline is waiving change fees for flights booked on or before 1 March, 2020 between North America and Korea, including flights with a stopover in Korea. New tickets must be rebooked before 30 June, 2020. The airline is also offering similar policies for travellers in Southeast Asia, and for passengers with entry restrictions or denied boarding due to Covid-19. See here for more information.
KLM is waiving change fees on tickets issued on or before 31 March, and valid for travel between 4 March and 31 May 2020. Customers can rebook tickets at no extra cost apart, though fare differences apply. See here for more information.
Empty Lufthansa counters are seen at the airport in Frankfurt am Main, as US President Donald Trump announced a shock 30-day ban on travel from mainland Europe ©Daniel Roland/AFP/Getty Images
The German airline says all bookings made on or before 5 March for travel through 30 April, 2020 can be rescheduled free of charge up to 31 December, 2020. It’s also waiving rebooking fees on flights purchased between 6 and 31 March, 2020. Again, customers must reschedule before 31 December, 2020 and fare differences apply. See here for more information.
Passengers whose flights have been cancelled or rescheduled by the airline due to the Covid-19 pandemic should receive an email or SMS from Ryanair with the option to request a refund, rebook or re-route their journey. However, it’s unclear if passengers can rebook or re-route itineraries that haven’t been cancelled by airline. See here for more information.
Customers can rebook free of charge on new bookings purchased through 19 March for travel through 30 November, 2020. For existing tickets the airline is waiving change fees for bookings made before 12 March for travel between 12 March and 30 April, 2020. The new travel date must be made between 12 March and 30 November, 2020. Fare differences apply. See here for more information.
Singapore Airlines and Silk Air
Singapore Airlines and its sister carrier Silk Air are waiving change fees for all tickets issues between 6 and 31 March, 2020. The rescheduled travel date must commence before 31 March, 2021. Fare differences apply. See here for more information.
Southwest is renowned for having one of the most generous change and cancellation policies in the industry. As long as customers change their ticket 10 minutes before flight time, they can still rebook their flight or have it refunded into travel credit. Fare difference applies. See here for more information.
Customers scheduled to travel between now and 30 April can change their flights without incurring extra chargers (apart from the fare difference). See here for more information.
Virgin is waiving its change fees for flights booked before 4 March, for travel between 1 March and 30 April, 2020. Flights can be rebooked between 9 March and 30 September, 2020. For bookings made between 1 and 31 March, flights can be rebooked between 2 March and 30 September, 2020. See here for more information.
If your airline isn’t listed here, please check its official website. Most airlines now have dedicated Covid-19 travel pages, with details on updated cancellation, rebooking and re-routing policies.