Coronavirus crisis: how to get a refund or travel credit
Did your plans change due to the coronavirus global epidemic and you’re trying to get a refund?
As the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis has worsened over the past days, many travellers have found themselves in inconvenient situations around the world. Some of them managed to make it home before the country’s lockdown, others decided to stay in a foreign country.
If you are one of them, you probably had to change your plans. Here is how you can get a refund and how the travel industry is reacting to the huge number of cancellation requests they are receiving.
Below you can find a list of the major accommodation booking websites and airlines’ refund policy, however, we must say that these policies are changing almost by the minute.
Overall most airlines are waiving their change and cancellation fees for flights in March and April, and hotels are loosening their cancellation policies due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Accommodations – coronavirus refund policies
Airbnb is one of the platforms that made getting a refund due to the coronavirus easy for everyone. They have the so-called “Airbnb’s Extenuating Circumstances policy”, under which they aim to help both travellers and hosts worldwide.
Reservations made on or before March 14, 2020 for stays and Airbnb Experiences, with a check-in date between March 14, 2020 and April 14, 2020, are covered by the policy and may be cancelled before check-in.
Guests who cancel will receive a full refund, and hosts can cancel without charge or impact to their Superhost status. Airbnb will refund all service fees for covered cancellations.Source: airbnb.com
In case you need a refund due to the coronavirus, Hostelworld has shared its guideline on what to do if you can no longer travel due to the Covid-19 epidemic.
If your booking is a free cancellation, you can simply cancel it from your account.
If your booking is a standard one or non-refundable, they suggest you to reach out using their contact form.
You can read the full guide here.
On March 17 Booking.com made an announcement declaring Force Majeure/Forced Circumstances.
With this announce, Booking.com invited their partners to refund due to the coronavirus all prepaid reservations and waive cancellations fee.
We expect you to refund any prepayment and waive any cancellation costs (fees, expenses and/or other amounts) in situations where the guests/travellers requested cancellations as a result of the Forced Circumstances (FC).Source: booking.com
Booking.com will waive the commission in these cases.
You can find the full list of the countries where FC applies and read the full article at this link:
Booking.com – Important information regarding the Coronavirus
Luckily, also Asia’s most used booking portal is doing what they can to help travellers in this situation.
This event is “force majeure” and as such Agoda reserves the right to allow the customer to cancel without penalty, as stated in our Accommodation Property Participation Agreement (APPA). Agoda will waive ALL charges & commission for bookings cancelled due to force majeure.Source: agodapropertypartnerhelp.zendesk.com
As part of the Priceline/Booking.com family, Agoda is joining the other major booking portals to help people not to lose their money. You can read more about it at this link: Coronavirus: Agoda’s Approach
Airlines – coronavirus refund policies
We have grouped together the major airlines and their refund/cancellation policies due to the impact of the novel coronavirus Covid-19. This list is in continuously updated.
Generally, all airlines ask not to use their phone numbers unless you have a flight scheduled in the next 48/72 hours. You can change your flight or get a travel credit without paying any fees with most of the airlines.
– Cathay Pacific
– Cebu Pacific
– Singapore Airlines
– Thai Airways
|– Air France|
– British Airways
– Easy Jet
|– American Airlines|
– Virgin Australia
– Tiger Air
AirAsia is offering a refund to all bookings affected by the Covid-19 epidemic. Depending on which AirAsia airline you have booked your flight with, there will be different dates and conditions.
Overall, you can apply for a refund if your flight is under one of the following options:
- Flight to/from Mainland China, Hong Kong SAR & Macau SAR
- Covid-19 Voluntary Cancellation
- Nationals restricted to travel
- Japan Domestic Voluntary Cancellation
- India AirAsia Domestic Flights (I5)
- AirAsia Cancelled my Flight
Please note that it will take approximately 30 days for the amount to be reflected in your bank account due to the overwhelming number of refund requests.
Read more here: AirAsia Covid-19 Guide
Japan airline “All Nippon Airways” is also offering refund free of charge. All you have to do is to visit the ANA website, click Cancel on the View Reservations page to request a refund. The cancellation fee will not apply.
Read more on their website: ANA – Special Handling of International Air Tickets due to Pneumonia Caused by Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Cathay Pacific says you can refund your ticket free of charge for the countries/regions that have imposed major travel restrictions.
You can check the full list of countries and the dates for which the refunds are available here: Cathay Pacific – Coronavirus (COVID-19): Refunds and ticket changes
Following the Philippine government directive to contain the spread of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), Cebu Pacific has announced that ALL CEBU PACIFIC AND CEBGO FLIGHTS WILL BE CANCELLED from Thursday, March 19 until Tuesday, April 14. Ticketing offices will also be closed.
The airline’s Dubai-Manila route will be suspended from Wednesday, March 18.
“Cebu Pacific is ensuring the safety of their passengers and operations teams, in support of stricter quarantine measures, land travel restrictions and regulations in place”Cebu Pacific said in an official statement.
Travellers can check their flight status here.
All flights between March 15 and April 14 can be rescheduled without any change fees, until June 30. Cebu Pacific is also offering a full refund.
Read more here: Cebu Pacific – Cancelled flights from March 15 to April 14, 2020
Scoot is offering travellers to Re-route, Re-book or Refund (via Scoot travel voucher) their flights and it has waived its change fee.
For bookings made on or before 15 March 2020, for travel up to 31 May 2020, Scoot will be offering voucher refunds for the full value of bookings. Scoot will be launching a self-service portal within the next few days, for all eligible customers to obtain voucher refunds.Source: scoot.com
Read more from Scoot here: Scoot – Travel restrictions due to COVID-19 outbreak
Passengers who have purchased a ticket with Singapore Airlines are asked to convert their ticket to open-dated.
To do so, you can submit your request through their online form.
For travel within 72 hours, customers should contact their local Singapore Airlines Office. Otherwise please submit your request through this form. We will respond to you within seven business days.Source: singaporeair.com
You can find more information here: Singapore Airlines – Covid-19: Travel Advisories and Waiver Policies
Thai national airline, which has just cancelled 32 flights to 12 countries, has also waived cancellation and change fees.
Read more on how to get a refund due to the coronavirus crisis on their website: Thai Airways – Ticketing Procedures for COVID-19
France national airline is reducing its travel capacity by 90% over the next days, and it’s planned to last 2 months.
Air France offers you the possibility to postpone your trip or cancel it and obtain a travel voucher as a refund due to the coronavirus outbreak.
If you want to postpone your flight (must be a flight departing before 31 May 2020), you have until 30 September 2020 to postpone your departure date without change fees.
If you want to cancel your trip and get a travel voucher you can complete their online refund form and this non-refundable voucher is valid for 1 year on all Air France, KLM, Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic flights.
Find all the information at this link: Air France: CORONAVIRUS COVID-19: ADJUSTING YOUR TRAVEL PLANS
British Airways’ “book with confidence” policy allows travellers to change the date and/or destinations of their flights free of charge.
To allow greater flexibility you can change the destination, date of travel, or both for free, on all new bookings made from Tuesday 3 March to Sunday 31 May 2020, as well as any existing bookings that depart up to Sunday 31 May 2020. Find out more.Source: britishairways.com
You can read more here: British Airways – Coronavirus / Covid-19
Changes on EasyJet flights are free of charge as they reported on their website. They recommend making changes on their app or on the Manage Booking section instead of calling their numbers.
We are working hard to try and assist customers as quickly as possible and would like to apologise for any inconvenience however we would recommend customers wishing to make free changes to their bookings do so on the website or app via the Manage Bookings section.Source: easyjet.com
Read more here: EasyJet – Coronavirus – COVID 19
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, Iberia is offering the possibility to request a refund voucher for the amount of the ticket. You can request the voucher by completing a form on their website:
Read more here: Iberia – Flight updates due to the evolution of Coronavirus
Ryanair flights scheduled between March 13 and March 31 can be changed without any additional fee.
“Where we’ve been required to cancel flights, customers will be able to transfer to an alternative Ryanair flight free of charge or receive a refund.”Source: ryanair.com
Ryanair also says:
- You can now move your flight free of charge to a date in the future.
- The flight change fee will be waived in full.
- You will only have to pay the difference in fare.
- This flight date change will only apply to the route you have already booked.
- Please do not try to change to another date in April.
You can read the full article here: Ryanair – Flight change fee removed for April flights.
As stated on their websites, American Airlines has waived change fees for certain dates of travel due to the coronavirus outbreak. Like many other airlines, they are asking people not to call their numbers unless your flight in the next 72 hours.
Don’t worry, the value of your ticket is safe. If you’re not traveling soon, there’s no need to call us right now. You can cancel online and call when you’re ready to rebook. To provide you with more flexibility and control we have waived change fees for certain dates of travel.Source: aa.com
Read more here: American Airlines – Coronavirus travel updates
Like most of the other airlines, also Delta offers free changes for all bookings affected by the Covid-19.
Delta is broadly waiving change fees for travel impacted by the coronavirus. That means all travel departing in March or April 2020, as well as all tickets purchased in March 2020. For flights May 1, 2020, or later, please continue to check back as the situation evolves.Source: delta.com
You can check the latest updates at this link: Delta – Coronavirus Travel Updates
Qantas, who is reducing its operations by 90%, offers free changes to your booking or flight credit to be redeemed by 30 September 2020.
Customers with existing bookings on any international or Australian domestic flight until 31 May 2020, who no longer wish to travel, can cancel their flight and retain the value of their booking as a flight credit.Source: qantas.com
Read more here: Qantas – Coronavirus travel update
Virgin Australia & Tiger Air (owned by Virgin)
In response to the Australian government-imposed travel restrictions, Virgin Australia has just announced it will suspend all international flights for two and a half months from March 30 to June 14.
Virgin Australia is also set to reduce domestic capacity across Virgin and Tigerair by 50 per cent.
Both airlines are waiving change fees for domestic and international bookings for travel up until June 30, 2020.
To provide you with flexibility for your travel plans we’re waiving change fees* on domestic and international bookings for travel between 15 March 2020 and 30 June 2020.Source: virginaustralia.com
Keep in mind that you can make a maximum of one change per domestic booking.
Read more about it here: Virgin Australia – No change fees on domestic and international bookings
Travel Insurance – coronavirus refund policies
If you have got travel insurance you can also try to get a refund for your cancelled reservations through them. Please note that some insurance companies have changed their policies not to cover these expenses to the extraordinary nature of the coronavirus.
However, if you have one, do not hesitate to contact them.