Coronavirus: Is my airline waiving change fees?
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Editor’s note: This post is being continuously updated as new information becomes available. It was originally published on 3 March 2020.
Airlines around the world have been hit hard by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus known as Covid-19, which continues to spread around the globe. Carriers have been forced to cancel flights, suspend operations and more in order to cope with the growing concern about the virus — and the decrease in demand.
At this point, most airlines in Europe have suspended flights to mainland China and other destinations in Asia, such as South Korea, where the outbreak has grown in recent weeks. In addition, since the virus’ presence in Italy has grown, many carriers have also taken to cancelling flights to and from Italy, as well as offering passengers the ability to change their travel. Finally, following President Trump’s new restrictions on travel from the Schengen Area to the U.S., airlines have been forced to severely alter their operations to America. And overall, many airlines have unveiled drastically reduced capacity, with some being forced to completely suspend operations.
Here are the latest waivers currently in place at select European airlines. This post will be regularly updated with new information. (Last update: 23 March 2020.)
As of Monday, 23 March, Aer Lingus has offered passengers with ticketed travel a new option. Passengers booked to travel on Aer Lingus between 21 March and 31 May 2020 can apply for a voucher for the full value of their travel, including taxes and charges, plus an additional 10%. The voucher can be used to book travel to/from any destination over the next five years.
While the carrier is reducing its capacity globally, it is offering the option for passengers to also change their flights. If you’re scheduled to fly with Aer Lingus before 31 May, you can change the date of your trip — change fees have been waived, but you’ll still have to pay a fare difference. Alternatively, you can apply for a voucher with a 10% bonus to use on future travel.
You can visit Aer Lingus’ dedicated coronavirus page here.
For new bookings, for any booking made before 31 March 2020, you have until 30 September to postpone your departure date without change fees, subject to availability of the same fare. Your new trip must begin no later than 30 November 2020.
If you have a purchased ticket departing before 31 May 2020 and no longer wish to travel, you can complete an online form to obtain a travel voucher. The non-refundable voucher is valid for one year on all Air France, KLM, Delta and Virgin Atlantic flights.
Alternatively, if you want to postpone your trip rather than cancel it, Air France’s waiver allows you to do that. Your purchased ticket must be for a flight departing before 31 May 2020, and you have until 30 September to postpone your departure date without change fees. The new departure date must be no later than 30 November 2020.
You can visit Air France’s dedicated coronavirus page here.
For those who no longer wish to fly, all passengers who purchased a ticket issued by 3 April for a flight departing from 23 February to 31 May can request to change the booking to another to take place by 31 December or request a refund with a voucher of equal value to the ticket. The request must be made by 31 May.
For passengers who had their flight cancelled, you can change your trip to another trip by 31 December, request a voucher of equal value to the ticket purchased or request a refund of the price of the ticket. The request must be made by 31 May.
Passengers booked on a MilleMiglia award ticket can request a change of reservation or choose to reclaim their miles and receive a refund of the airport taxes.
You can visit Alitalia’s dedicated coronavirus page here.
The airline has issued a “book with confidence” initiative, in which it is removing the change fee on all new bookings made from 3 March to 31 May. Any existing bookings that depart up until 31 May 2020 can also request to change the destination, date of travel or both without being charged a fee.
You can visit British Airways’ dedicated coronavirus page here.
As of Friday, 13 March, EasyJet is informing passengers who no longer wish to travel that they can change their plans. Ticketed passengers can now transfer their flights to alternative dates and/or an alternative destination without having to pay a change fee. Unfortunately, EasyJet is still making passengers pay any difference in fare. The waiver applies to new and existing bookings until further notice.
The airline is “grounding the majority” of its aircraft from 24 March onwards, only operating essential flights on some routes, mainly out of London.
You can visit EasyJet’s dedicated coronavirus page here.
Passengers are permitted to change their booking made by 30 April if the original travel date was before 30 November. New travel must be completed by 30 November. The flight must be Finnair-operated and marketed.
You can visit Finnair’s dedicated coronavirus page here.
If you have travel booked with Iberia, you can request to change your itinerary. After filling out a change form, you can request to change the date of your travel or get a voucher for the amount of your ticket. Tickets purchased with Avios and group reservations are not included.
You can visit Iberia’s dedicated coronavirus page here.
Passengers with booked travel can change their flight or request a voucher until 30 September 2020. If you want to rebook your flight, you must have a booked flight with a scheduled departure date until 31 May, you can change your travel dates without having to pay the change fee (until and including 30 November), change your destination without paying a change fee or request a voucher with one-year validity.
You can visit KLM’s dedicated coronavirus page here.
If you have a booking and want to postpone your travel plans, you can keep the ticket without having to commit to a new flight date right away. Existing bookings will initially be cancelled, but the ticket and ticket value will remain unchanged and can be extended to a new departure date up to and including 31 December. You can also rebook to another destination, and it must be booked until 31 August.
In additional, Lufthansa is offering a 50 euro discount for every rebooked ticket. Rebooking fees will not be charged, regardless of which fare was booked. Should the rebooked fare be more expensive due to a change of destination or change of class, an additional payment must be made.
Rebooked flights must be made any time until 31 August 2020. The regulation applies to tickets booked up to and including 31 March and with a confirmed travel date up to and including 31 December 2020.
You can visit Lufthansa’s dedicated coronavirus page here.
If your flight was cancelled, you can request a refund of your unused ticket or choose CashPoints and get an extra 20% that can be used for your next trip. There are some restrictions that apply to the offer, so it is best to read the terms and conditions to see if you’re eligible.
Alternatively, if you choose to cancel your booking, you can get CashPoints as a refund instead of cash or a voucher. Or, if you want to change your booking, Norwegian is offering to waive the rebooking fee for selected LowFare, LowFare+ and Premium tickets booked up to and including 31 March. The journey must be completed by 30 November 2020.
You can visit Norwegian’s dedicated coronavirus page here.
From 25 March, Ryanair will be operating on a “severely reduced schedule” and urges passengers who want to return home to change their flights to the earliest possible date.
You can visit Ryanair’s dedicated coronavirus page here.
You can request a voucher with the value equivalent to your booking with the latest departure date being 30 April 2020. The voucher must be used for travel departing no later than 30 November 2020. The reservation must have been made on or before 12 March.
Alternatively, for new tickets purchased between 5 March and 23 March for travel until 28 February 2021, the rebooking fee will be removed. You may still pay the fare difference if the new ticket is more expensive. Rebooking must be made latest 30 November 2020.
For all existing bookings purchased before 12 March 2020, no change fees will be applied for travel until 30 April. The new travel date must be by 28 February 2021. You may have to pay the fare difference.
You can visit SAS’ dedicated coronavirus page here.
If you have a ticket originally issued on or before 11 March for travel up to and including 30 May 2020, you can rebook travel through 31 May 2022. If you have a ticket issued between 12 March and 31 March 2020 for original travel dates up to and including 30 November, you can rebook until 31 May 2022.
If you booked on or before 19 March 2020, there is no change fee or fare difference if you complete travel by 30 June 2020.
You can visit Virgin Atlantic’s dedicated coronavirus page here.
Featured photo by Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty Images.