We’re following live updates of the spread of the coronavirus and as more and more cases crop up all over the world, more and more travellers are growing increasingly more concerned about their own travel plans.
The CDC has recommended that travellers avoid all nonessential travel to China, Iran, South Korea and Italy. Japan and Hong Kong are on a lower yet similar alert for international travellers with pre-existing conditions. So, if you’re not travelling to one of those countries, should you cancel your travel plans?
It depends, honestly. Most airlines, cruise lines and hotels are altering their cancellation policies to accommodate the needs of guests who don’t feel comfortable travelling at the time. If that’s you, then here’s how to cancel travel due to the coronavirus.
How To Cancel Travel Plans Due To The Coronavirus
Cancelling Airfare Due To The Coronavirus
Full refunds from certain airlines might be a little unlikely unless you purchased insurance on your ticket when you checked out. This kind of “cancel for any reason” insurance usually costs more than standard travel insurance that passengers buy when travelling abroad. And, unfortunately, most standard travel insurance companies aren’t currently offering refunds for passengers who want to cancel travel due to the coronavirus.
So, how can you get a refund on a plane ticket due to the coronavirus? The answer depends on who you’re flying with. It’s best to speak directly with the airline you’ve booked your ticket through. It usually depends on when you booked your trip. For example, American Airlines is currently offering passengers the chance to make changes to all flights booked between March 1st and March 31st.
United Airlines, Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines and even JetBlue are all offering similar deals. Major airlines seem to agree on waiving any change fees for passengers wishing to change airfare at least through the month of May. If your flight is cancelled because you were scheduled to fly to a high-risk country, most airlines are currently reimbursing passengers or re-routing them through different countries.
Cancelling Cruise Travel Due To The Coronavirus
The cruise industry has been one of the most affected due to coronavirus. The CDC recently released statements urging individuals to avoid cruise travel altogether. This comes after the Grand Princess reported 21 coronavirus cases on board. And, after over 700 sick passengers and staff aboard the Diamond Princess were quarantined for two weeks.
Because of recent scares and the confine conditions of cruise travel, most cruise lines are working hard to accommodate the requests of all travellers wishing to make changes to their itineraries. In general, if you cancel your cruise at least 24 to 48 hours in advance, most cruise lines are offering credit for a future cruise.
Most major cruise lines are offering full refunds for passengers who wish to cancel. This includes Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line. They are also offering full refunds for travellers who’ve had their trips completely cancelled due to itinerary changes. To cancel your cruise travel due to coronavirus, simply contact the cruise line and they’ll provide you with details about their compensation package.
Cancelling Hotel Reservations Due To The Coronavirus
When it comes to cancelling travel due to coronavirus, it gets a bit more complicated when you’re dealing with hotels and vacation rentals. In general, if you’ve booked a refundable rate with the hotel, you’ll be able to receive a full refund. If you’ve booked with a third-party such as Airbnb or Booking.com, you’ll need to contact them. However, it’s still pretty iffy.
Airbnb, for example, offers six different types of cancellation policies to guests when they book accommodations. These range from super flexible to super strict. And, they’re currently only extending their policy to include travellers who’ve booked accommodations in high-risk area. This includes China, South Korea and highly-affected areas of Italy.
Major hotel chains such as Marriott, InterContinental and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts are all offering similar deals. To cancel hotel reservations, you’ll have to speak directly with the hotel.