Expert Advice

How U.S. Airlines Are Responding to Coronavirus

by Pavia Rosati
Photo by Pavia Rosati.

We'll be updating this page throughout the COVID-19 crisis with the information that is currently on the airlines' websites. If you want us to add your airline to this page, drop us a line at higuys [at] fathomaway.com. This was updated on March 16, 2020. 

To travel or not to travel right now? That is the question. And if you do have travel plans that you want to cancel because of concerns over COVID-19 or because your boss said you can't travel, will you get a trip refund?

We've noticed a few themes based on updates from hotels and airlines (though your mileage may vary):

Hotels seem willing to waive cancellation fees if travelers rebook within one year.

Many airlines are suspending travel to high-alert countries and waiving change fees on tickets, depending when they were purchased.

Here's a roundup of policies from main U.S. airlines.

Delta

Waiving change fees for customers traveling to both international and domestic locations through April 30 if the ticket was issued on or before March 9, as well as customers purchasing flights in March.
See all updates.

United

Waiving change fees for any bookings — domestic and international — made between March 3 and March 31, 2020. The waiver applies to all tickets, all fare types, all destinations, all points-of-sale and all travel dates available for sale.
See all updates.

American

For Europe: If you're traveling to / through / from airports in these countries: 

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom

The change fee is waived if you:

  • Booked an American Airlines flight
  • Bought your ticket on or before March 15, 2020
  • Are scheduled to travel March 11-May 31, 2020
  • Can travel March 11-December 31, 2020 or within 1 year of date the ticket was issued, whichever is earlier.

For other destinations: If you're traveling to / through / from: 

All cities served by American

The change fee is waived if you:

  • Booked an American Airlines flight
  • Bought your ticket on or before March 1, 2020
  • Are scheduled to travel March 1 - April 30, 2020
  • Can travel March 1 - December 31, 2020 or within 1 year of date the ticket was issued, whichever is earlier

Keep in mind, you may owe any difference in ticket price when you rebook your trip. 

For Italy: If you're traveling to / through / from:

  • Bologna (BLQ), Florence (FLR), Milan Linate (LIN), Milan Malpensa (MXP), Milan Orio al Serio (BGY), Naples (NAP), Pisa (PSA), Rome (FCO), Turin (TRN), Venice (VCE), Verona (VRN)

The change fee is waived if you:

  • Booked an American Airlines flight
  • Bought your ticket by February 27, 2020
  • Are scheduled to travel February 27 - April 24, 2020
  • Can travel February 27, 2020 - June 30, 2020 or within 1 year of date the ticket was issued

Keep in mind, you may owe any difference in ticket price when you rebook your trip. 

See all updates.

JetBlue

Customers with existing bookings now have additional flexibility. Due to continued concerns about the coronavirus, they will waive change/cancel fees for customers traveling March 10, 2020 through April 30, 2020. Customers may rebook their flights for travel through October 24, 2020 online in the Manage Trips section of jetblue.com or contact us prior to the departure time of their originally scheduled flight. Original travel must have been booked on or before March 10, 2020. Fare difference may apply.

See all alerts.

Alaska

Waiving change and cancellations fees for upcoming travel.

See all updates.

Southwest

Southwest Airlines never charges customers a fee to change or cancel their flight.

Remember, it's always a good idea to pick up the phone and have a conversation with customer service. A person may offer more help than a website.

We'll keep you posted as we know more.