Your Guide to Flight Modifications and Cancellations during the Global Pandemic

Posted by Holly Hou on 6/17/20 11:03 AM

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads to nearly every part of the world, many countries placed travel restrictions and closed their borders to limit the spread of COVID-19. Almost all airlines were forced to cancel thousands of flights and suspend their operations.

Before any travel, you should evaluate the risks, as outlined by the CDC. If you do need to cancel or modify your flight though, most airlines have eased their change and cancellation fees and we're here to help you navigate this constantly changing environment.

NexTravel aims to provide a stress-free service during this time of uncertainty. To help you better manage your travel during these circumstances, we’ve compiled the latest policies of multiple major airlines below.

 

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My flight was changed/canceled by the airline, what should I do?

NexTravel Support is available round the clock to assist your travel needs. We are proactively reviewing the refund eligibility of each ticket as we know rebooking may not be feasible for some. The majority of the airlines offer an air credit which works like a flight voucher that you can use to book a future flight with the respective airlines in cases of flight changes or cancellation.

 

Benefits of Getting an Air Credit

Extended ticket validity
Usually, most tickets are valid for one year from the date of purchase. As airlines could not afford to refund all tickets, especially if it’s non-refundable, most airlines are now extending its validity up to two years. According to Canadian Transportation Agency, a voucher valid for 24 months would be considered reasonable in most cases. 


Discount on next booking
To entice travelers to take a flight credit instead of a refund, some airlines are offering a discount upon rebooking. Lufthansa, chosen by Skytrax as the ‘Best Airline in Europe’ in 2019, offers an additional €50* discount that can be used when re-booking your flight. You’ll get more when you pay less.

More flexibility
Basic economy fare is usually the cheapest fare an airline can offer, but it’s also the most restrictive. These types of fares are usually non-refundable and non-changeable. However, this crisis somehow bends the rules - even if you purchased a basic economy fare, airlines will still allow you to use the air credit for a future date.

Immediate processing
Refunds to the original form of payment normally takes 7-14 business days for airlines to process. However, due to high volume, it may take weeks or months for them to review and revert to the refund request. It is more convenient to get the refund in the form of a flight voucher since you’ll get it immediately.

 

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Major US and Canadian Airlines

Note: NexTravel utilizes publicly available information and other third-party sources to compile the listing of these advisories.

T
his list is long and we are continually updating it. The fastest way to find your airline is to press Control + F (Windows) or Command + F (Mac) on your keyboard to bring up a search menu. Type in the name of the airline you are looking for.

American Airlines
If your flight was booked on or before June 30, 2020 for travel through September 30, 2020, change fees will be waived and you can use the value of your unused ticket towards future travel through December 31, 2021. Keep in mind that you may owe any fare differences when rebooking.


In case of cabin downgrade, change of operating carrier (Example: AA to American Eagle), nonstop to connecting, or discontinued service, refund is permitted regardless of the ticket issue date.

Schedule Irregularity/IROP (irregular operations) occurs within 72 hours from the scheduled departure time. You may be eligible for a refund if your flight was delayed or changed to 90 minutes or greater from the original schedule. For changes that occurred beyond 72 hours from the scheduled departure time, also referred to as Schedule Change, refund is also permitted if there’s a change 4 hours or greater from the original schedule.

 

Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines is waiving change fees for the following:

  • Any travel purchased between March and June 30, 2020: You may cancel your flight and use the value of your unused ticket towards a new flight for a period of up to one year from the original issue date.
  • Travel purchased on or before April 17, 2020 and scheduled for March through September 30, 2020: You may cancel and use your credit towards a new flight through September 30, 2022. If the rebooked flight is for the same destination and departs before September 30, 2020, any fare differences will not apply. Otherwise, please keep in mind that you may owe any fare differences when rebooking.

A refund can be processed for a non-refundable ticket(s) when there has been a flight schedule change greater than 90 minutes from the scheduled departure time, itinerary routing change, equipment change from Delta mainline to Delta Connections carrier or any change that causes a misconnect.

 

United Airlines
United Airlines is waiving change fees for the following:

  • Travel issued on or before March 2 and scheduled for June 1 - December 31, 2020: Please note that you must change or cancel before June 30, 2020. Your rebooked travel must also occur within 24 months from the original ticket issue date.
  • Travel issued between March 3 - March 31, 2020: You may travel up to 24 months from the original ticket issue date. 
Travel issued between April 1 - June 30, 2020: You may travel up to 12 months from the original ticket issue date.

Keep in mind that if the new fare is priced higher, you must pay the fare difference. But, if the new fare is priced lower, you will not receive the remaining amount.

United Airlines is processing refunds if your flight was canceled with no protection or was changed for greater than 6 hours from the original scheduled arrival or departure time.

 

jetBlue
For any travel booked before June 30, 2020, jetBlue is waiving change/cancel fees. You may rebook for any flight through the end of jetBlue’s schedule (as of today, it’s January 2021). Fare differences may apply. If you don’t have any new dates in mind, you may cancel the trip and receive JetBlue Travel Bank Credit, which is valid for 24 months from the date of issuance.

If your flight is nonoperational or cancelled by JetBlue and there are no alternatives, refunds can be processed back to the original form of payment. Please note that processing a refund to the original form of payment is not available for customers who were rebooked onto a new flight within 2 hours of their original flight.


Southwest
Southwest is unique in the airline industry because they do not charge fees to change or cancel flights. Any travel funds created due to flight cancellation between March 1 – September 7, 2020, must be used before September 7, 2022.


Air Canada
For any flights booked on or before June 30, 2020 scheduled through June 30, 2021, you will be able change it without change fees and rebook for future travel through June 30, 2022. If you need to cancel a flight, you can convert the value of the flight to an Air Canada Travel Voucher, which does not expire. Refundable tickets will be refunded as per the fare rules, though a cancellation fee may still apply.

A-Z List of Airlines

Aer Lingus

Aeroflot

Aeromexico

Air Canada

Air France

Air India

Air New Zealand

Air Transat

Alaska Airlines

Alitalia

All Nippon Airways (ANA)

American Airlines

Asiana Airlines

Austrian Airlines

British Airways

Brussels Airlines

Cathay Pacific

China Airlines

China Eastern Airlines

China Southern Airlines

Czech Airlines

Delta Air Lines

El Al Israel Airlines

Emirates

Etihad

Fiji Airways

Finnair

Gulf Air

Hawaiian Airlines

IndiGo*

JetBlue

Kenya Airways

KLM Royal Dutch

Korean Air

LOT Polish Airlines

Lufthansa

Luxair

Malaysia Airlines

Nepal Airlines

Norwegian Air Shuttle*

Oman Air

Philippine Airlines

Porter Airlines

Qantas Airways

Qatar Airways

Royal Air Maroc

Ryanair*

Saudia

Singapore Airlines/Silk Air

Southwest Airlines

Swiss Air

TAP Air Portugal

Thai Airways

Turkish Airlines

Ukraine Airlines

United Airlines

Virgin Atlantic

WestJet


*Denotes low-cost carriers
 

Topics: Air Travel, COVID-19

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