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Airlines Updates on Cancelations and Rebookings Due to COVID-19

by Contributor

Apr 20, 2020

Photo: Simona Pilolla | Dreamstime.com

Travel Tips

Updated April 20, 2020

The airline industry responds to the COVID-19 pandemic with updates on cancellations, route capacity reductions and rebooking policies. Here’s an update.


Please note: If you made your airline reservation through a third-party provider, and not directly with the airline, contact the third-party provider and not the airline.


North American Airlines:


Air Canada

  • If you made a flight booking before April 15, you can cancel with no cancellation fee. You will receive full credit to use toward future travel before April 30, 2021.
  • If you made a flight booking before April 15, you can make a one-time change without a fee until two hours before your flight, with travel before April 30, 2021.
  • If your flight has been canceled, you will receive full credit to use toward future travel within 24 months of your flight cancellation date.
  • Air Canada will operate domestic and international flights with a reduced scheduled for the month of April. Select routes are temporarily suspended.
  • All lounges are closed until further notice.
  • The airline suspended its BMW chauffeur service indefinitely as of March 18.
  • Other social distancing methods will be practiced onboard and during boarding.


American Airlines

  • American Airlines reduced its capacity for summer travel by 34 percent. In April, the airline is reducing trans-Atlantic traffic by more than 50 percent.
  • If you bought your ticket before March 1, for travel through May 31, you can rebook without change fees. If you booked travel March 1–April 30 for all future travel, you can also change your reservation at a later date without change fees.
  • Scheduled to travel before April 15? If you can’t get through to reservations, American Airlines will honor all changes and the value of the ticket. You can call when you’re ready to rebook.
  • The airline is reducing flights to Latin America and completely suspending flights to Argentina.
  • Effective March 16, the airline suspended all remaining flights to Asia except for three flights per week on the Dallas (DFW)–Tokyo (NRT) route.
  • Los Angeles (LAX)–Sydney (SYD) service is suspended effective March 16.
  • Suspending service from JFK and MIA to Rio de Janeiro (GIG) and Georgetown, Guyana (GEO)
  • Suspending service from DFW, JFK, LAX and MIA to São Paulo (GRU)
  • Suspending service from DFW and MIA to Santiago (SCL) Bogota (BOG) Guayaquil (GYE) and Quito (UIO) and Lima (LIM)
  • Suspending service from MIA to Brasilia (BSB), Manaus (MAO) Barranquilla (BAQ), Cartagena (CTG), Cali (CLO), Medellin (MDE) and Pereira (PEI)
  • American Airlines has temporarily closed and consolidated premium clubs and lounges. Services like food and drink, restrooms and showers are temporarily discontinued.
  • In an effort to social distance onboard, AA is updating seat assignments and food and drink service through April 30.
  • Information about cleaning is available on the website.


Delta Air Lines

  • Delta is waiving change fees for all travel departing in April or May 2020.
  • If you purchased a ticket March 1–April 15, travel can be adjusted without a change fee for up to a year from the date you purchased.
  • If you have upcoming travel booked in April or May 2020 as of April 3, or e-credits or canceled travel from March, April or May 2020, waived change fees and greater flexibility is available to travel through May 31, 2022.
  • New tickets purchased March 1–May 31, 2020, can be changed without a change fee for up to a year from the date of purchase.
  • Canceled flights will result in an e-credit you can use to rebook when ready.
  • Delta is significantly reducing domestic capacity, and suspending and adjusting service to Hawai’i Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific services.
  • The airline is using industry-leading disinfectant on all flights, a fogging disinfectant process, more hand sanitizer, advanced circulation systems, additional gloves and new sanitation equipment, as well as practicing social distancing in flights and during boarding.
  • Delta Sky Club operations have been consolidated.
  • April 13 – May 31, the following temporary changes are in effect: middle seats will be blocked inMain Cabin, Delta Comfort+ and Delta Premium Select; number of customers per flight will be reduced; and automatic, advance Medallion Complimentary Upgrades are paused and will be processed at the gate.


United Airlines

  • The airline’s April schedule is reduced by 60 percent. International routes are cut by 85 percent in April.
  • To reduce impact for travelers, the airline attempts to rebook cancelled flights within six hours of the original flight. Any passenger impacted by a change of more than six hours by schedule changes as a result of government regulations will receive a travel credit for the value of their ticket.
  • Flights booked March 10–May 31 can be rebooked for free for any point over the next 12 months. If you book now to April 30, you can change the flight for free over the next 12 months.
  • United has suspended travel to Hong Kong since Feb. 4, China since Feb. 12 and Japan since the beginning of March.
  • Operations at United Polaris lounges have been suspended.
  • The airline has adopted updated cleaning practices to regularly disinfect common surfaces inside terminals, provides hand sanitizer for crew usage and more.
  • All aircraft are cleaned thoroughly, including wiping down common touch points with high-grade cleaner and disinfectant. Soon, United will use an electrostatic fogger to disinfect the air and surfaces within the cabins.
  • United Airlines is cutting 90 percent of its planned capacity in May; a similar reduction is expect for June.


European Airlines:


Air France

  • Air France is reducing its flight capacity by about 90 percent.
  • Beginning March 31, Paris-Orly Airport is closed; Air France adapted its flight schedule, and as of April 1, transferred all scheduled flights to Paris-Charles de Gaulle.
  • If you purchased a ticket before March 31 for a flight departing before May 31, you have until Sept. 30, 2020 to postpone without change fees. New trips must begin no later than Nov. 30, 2020.
  • Visit the Air France website to cancel trips on tickets purchased before March 31, 2020, on flights departing before May 31, 2020, to complete an online form for a non-refundable voucher valid for one year on all Air France, KLM, Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic and Kenya Airways flights.
  • If your flight has been canceled, you can postpone your trip or obtain a travel voucher. The voucher is valid for one year on all Air France, KLM, Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic and Kenya Airways flights. The voucher will be refundable after one year if not used.
  • Most of Air France’s lounges worldwide are closed.
  • Social distancing and enhanced cleaning measures are implemented.


British Airways

  • British Airways is working with the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office to continue flying as long as travel restrictions allow, and are following with the full list of restrictions by country or territory.
  • You can change the destination, date of travel or both without incurring a change fee on all new bookings from March 3 to May 31, 2020, or receive a voucher for any existing bookings that depart up to Sunday, May 31, 2020.
  • Enhanced cleaning procedures are detailed online.


Lufthansa Group

  • Lufthansa Group airlines include Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Swiss International Air Lines, Brussels Airlines and Air Dolomiti.
  • Effective April 8 in the United States and Canada, all fares and ticket prices on Lufthansa, SWISS and Austrian Airlines can be rebooked worldwide for new bookings on short-, medium- and long-haul routes. Brussels Airlines will apply the new fare structure on routes to/from North America.
  • The group offers flexible waiver options to allow passengers to change travel plans. If your flight is canceled, your Lufthansa ticket remains valid and can be used at a later date. For tickets booked up to and including April 19 with a confirmed travel date up to and including April 30, 2021, tickets can be extended up to and including April 30, 2021.You can rebook any time until Aug. 31. Customers who choose a new travel date up to and including the end of 2020 will also receive a $50 discount on each rebooking.
  • Travelers can rebook travel on tickets issued before March 5 with a travel date before April 30. The new travel date can be through Dec. 31, 2020. Lufthansa waives rebooking fees.
  • If a customer prefers a refund in lieu of the voucher promotion, notify a Lufthansa Group representative. Refunds will be processed as best as possible.
  • The airline is operating rescue flights for German citizens who want to return home.
  • Due to reduced traffic, the airline is closing nearly all lounges in airports throughout its connected network.
  • Consider following Lufthansa on Twitter for more up-to-date information as it breaks.
  • Lufthansa Group releases medically trained employees with pay, provides face masks to health authorities and coordinates relief flights
  • Employees with medical vocational training can now volunteer for service in medical facilities with their basic salary unaffected.
  • Relief and repatriation flights have so far returned 25,000 European passengers home.
  • Lufthansa Group recognizes the need for swift and collaborative action to address the unprecedented state of emergency faced by the entire world. Actions and plans organized to date include support for the medical community and special relief flights for travelers. Lufthansa Group is also implementing social distancing practices in flight and at the airport.
  • The Lufthansa Group’s repatriation flight schedule will be extended until May 17.
  • A further reduction of the flight schedule to 15 weekly long-haul connections was announced: three times a week from Frankfurt to Newark and Chicago in the United States.
  • SWISS will offer three, weekly long-haul flights to Newark from Zürich, but will reduce the timetable for short- and medium-haul flights to select European cities substantially.


Turkish Airlines

  • All international flights are suspended until May 1, 2020.
  • Zero Change Fee or Change to Open Ticket Rights for international flights operate in this manner: If your purchase date was March 20, 2020 and before for flights until Dec. 31, 2020, there is zero change fee to open ticket for travel through Feb. 28, 2021.
  • You can change domestic and international tickets purchased March 21–April 21 until Feb. 28, 2021.
  • All Turkish Airline aircraft undergo complete cleaning immediately following flights. Enhanced cleaning and social distancing methods have been implemented.
  • In-flight publications have also been removed from all aircraft until further notice.


TAP Air Portugal

  • TAP instituted a new operation plan on March 23, in effect until May 4. Beginning April 1, flights from Lisbon to Newark, Boston, Toronto and Miami are not operating.
  • If your destination and flight has been canceled, a voucher will be issued for the value of the unused ticket and no re-routing will be allocated. The voucher will be sent via email for a future purchase with TAP.
  • If you flight has been canceled and you want to be rerouted, contact TAP. You can also request the issuance of a voucher for the value of the unused ticket.
  • If you want to change or cancel your journey, you can do so online and without paying the change fee. One change fee is waived per reservation.
  • Free changes are valid for tickets with original travel dates until May 31. New travel can depart through Dec. 31, 2020.
  • Vouchers can be issued for the full amount for requests made after 6 p.m. on March 17, for travel until May 31.


Asian Airlines:


All Nippon Airways

  • All Nippon Airways is limiting the number of flights and routes it is operating, and the majority of flights to the United States will be suspended, with updates to come on or before April 25. Of those still operating in April, it is a limited number and for a limited number of days.
  • For flights to/from Japan issued by March 19, 2020, with departures through April 30, refunds can be requested through the ANA website and can be made up to one year and 30 days from the travel start date.
  • If your reserved flights have been canceled, ANA will email or call affected customers individually.
  • ANA is working with passengers and travel agents to resolve any issues related to the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games.
  • The expiration dates for miles and ANA SKY COINS expiring March 31 – Feb. 28, 2021, will be extended to March 31, 2021. ANA will credit twice the normal number of Premium Points for ANA and ANA Group flights boarded Jan. 1–June 30, 2020.
  • Some ANA lounges are closed, with a few under normal operation.
  • All Nippon Airways adopted a number of precautionary measures in response to the outbreak of COVID-19.


Cathay Pacific

  • If you booked on or before March 23, for travel until May 31, bookings can be changed with no rebooking or rerouting fees. Change tickets by May 31 for travel by Dec. 10.
  • Free and unlimited changes can be made to all new tickets issued March 9–April 20. Change by Feb. 28, 2021 for travel by that date.
  • Cancellation and no-show fees for flights impacted by COVID-19 are waived if booked on or before March 23, for travel March 17 – May 31.
  • Capacity is reduced by 96 percent in April and May. Among 10 precautionary measures Cathay Pacific is doing to reassure you are deeper cleanings, increased temperature checks, catering safeguards, additional precautions in lounges and modified in-flight services.


Asiana Airlines

  • Asiana Airlines is reducing or canceling service along specific routes. From the United States, suspended/reduced routes include Honolulu, New York JFK, Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco.
  • For itineraries from/to countries with travel restrictions due to COVID-19, with tickets from Feb. 4–June 30, there is a waiver for refund penalty, waiver of extra paid seat refund penalty and waiver for reissue penalty (first reissue only).
  • For U.S. departures to all Asian destinations, for departures through April 30 with a ticketing date on or before Feb. 25, the re-issue penalty is waived; new outbound departure date must be on or before Aug. 31, 2020; and ticket must be reissued within the ticket validity.
  • Asiana keeps up with industry standards for sterilizing the aircraft cabin, including using HEPA air filters and ringing external air in through the aircraft’s engines.
  • The airline is temporarily closing the first and business class lounge at Incheon International Airport.


Middle East Airlines:


Qatar Airways

  • Qatar Airways has altered or canceled some routes. In the United States, they are currently serving Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Miami (MIA) and Washington, D.C. (IAD).
  • If your flights are affected, you can re-book to alternate dates or destinations, receive a voucher for future travel or get a refund, applicable to all tickets issued through Sept. 30 for travel on or before the same date.
  • If booked with Qatar Airways, a travel voucher will arrive via email automatically, equal to the value of the ticket, plus an additional 10 percent, excluding statutory taxes.
  • If your flight is operating normally and you have booked or are planning to book tickets up to Sept. 30, travel dates can be altered free of charge, but fare differences may apply. Tickets can be exchanged for a future travel voucher, valid for one year, up to three days prior to departure.
  • Social distancing practicing, enhanced cleaning and medical testing are also being implemented.


Etihad Airways

  • Etihad Airways temporarily suspended transit travel through Abu Dhabi International Airport on March 23 and through April 21.
  • Only U.A.E. citizens, immediate family members, diplomatic passport holders and those with UAE-API clearance will be allowed entry into Abu Dhabi.
  • If you’re scheduled to travel before June 30, 2020, you can rebook for free, or use the value as a credit toward future travel.
  • With Etihad Credit, book before Sept. 30, for travel until July 31, 2021.


African Airlines:


South African Airways

  • South African Airways suspended all international operations until May 31, 2020.
  • Domestic flights are suspended through April 16, 2020.
  • If your flight is scheduled to depart Aug. 31, 2020, one free change applies, subject to same booking class. The ticket is valid as a credit for two years from March 25. 2020.


South American Flights:


LATAM Airlines Group

  • LATAM temporarily suspended international services until April 30.
  • The value of affected tickets will automatically be held as credit for future journeys with the ability to reschedule flights until Dec. 31, 2020, at no cost.
  • If you are traveling on or after May 1, remember to change your ticket before the original departure date.
  • Social distancing, enhanced cleaning policies and more have been implemented.
  • LATAM will maintain a 95 percent reduction in passenger operations in May 2020.


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