Worried About Corona Virus? These Airlines Are Letting People Change Flights
When you're seeing photos of Boise's Costco absolutely ransacked like the apocalypse is coming, it's natural for you to start feeling a little bit nervous about any upcoming travel you may have planned. If you decide to back out, here's how some airlines are handling the COVID-19 outbreak.
I've been looking forward to Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle for months. Unfortunately, it's happens to be happening in the state where the USA Today says all confirmed coronavirus deaths in the United States have taken place. Naturally, some vendors have pulled out of the convention and fans are starting to worry some of the celebrity headliners will cancel their appearances as well. Right now, the convention plans to proceed as planned next weekend. I still plan on being there in all of my nerdiness
One of the other folks who works at the station is making the trip too and seems less optimistic that the convention will actually happen. While we were locked in a fierce debate about it, he mentioned that he could call off the trip and not feel too awful about it, because he could get the money back for his airfare.
Turns out Alaska Air, along with a few other airlines, are trying to make accommodations for their passengers who are concerned about COVID-19. Unfortunately, I purchased the "saver" fair back in December and my ticket isn't covered under their policy...so I'm going to Seattle next weekend regardless of what happens to the event.
If you've done your research and you feel more comfortable changing or canceling your upcoming trip, here's some of the airlines willing to work with you, according to Market Watch.
Have a flight booked between March 3 and March 16? You can change your reservation free of charge. Just make sure you arrange your new travel plans by June 1. You'll have to cover any difference in fares, but you can change both your city of origin or destination if you'd like. Cancellations are also free. You won't get your cash back, but you'll have 90 days to use a credit.
If you're booking a new plane ticket between now and March 16, you can change your flights without having to worry about a change fee. Your original ticket needed to be scheduled for dates between March 1, 2020 and January 26, 2021. If you're planning to re-book, just make sure you do that at least two weeks before your preferred departure date. They also have some options for people who bought their tickets before February 27, 2020. Click HERE to read all the restrictions applying to changes and cancellations through American.
This is where I got burned. Alaska's only waiving change and cancellation fees for folks who booked their travel February 27 - March 12. If your original travel dates fell before June 30, 2020 you can cancel your trip and have a credit deposited into your account. That's an option for every type of fare, including the saver fare. If you booked the more expensive nonrefundable First Class or Main fare, you also have the one time option to pick new travel dates that wrap up by December 31, 2020 with out paying a change fee. You'd have to pick up the difference in fares.
United's most concerned about international travel. If are planning to book a new trip and are flying into Northern Italy, China, Hong Kong or South Korea before June 30, you get your change fee and fare differences are waived if you need to change your booking. If you booked your flight to one of those destinations before March 3, they offer some other options when it comes to refunds and changes depending on your destination. You can view those HERE.
You can make a one-time change to your flights if your plans were taking you to Shanghai, Beijing, Seoul and all of Delta's hubs in Italy. You need to complete those changes by April 30. If you booked a flight with departure dates between now and March 31 to any international destination, your change fee is also waved. For more on Delta's COVID-19 plans, click HERE.
Southwest actually never charges customers to change their fare. If you need to change your flights, go for it. You can also cancel your flight up to 10 minutes before its scheduled departure. Those funds will be credited back to your Southwest account. You can use those funds for travel up to one year from when you originally bought your tickets.