Canceled flights and fines: as the coronavirus has affected the airlines

The spread of the coronavirus has affected travel enthusiasts. Those who have vacation plans, canceling or changing flights makes you worry not only about their health but also, perhaps, lost money, reports the New York Post.

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American government institutions advised US citizens not to travel to China, South Korea, Iran, Italy and Japan. And such airlines as JetBlue and United have already reduced the number of flights, especially to areas heavily affected by the virus. Most airlines now offer customers the option to cancel the flight or change the dates of its travel, but the time for this is limited.

However, many brave travelers still prefer to fly, relying on travel insurance or strict hygiene.

Regardless of whether you want to fly or cancel your trip, below you will find all you need to know about air travel in the period of the outbreak of coronavirus.

Changes in passenger service by the airlines:

  • Delta limits the service in Japan and reduces the number of weekly flights between the U.S. and South Korea. They suspended the flights to China until April 30. Airline cancels all fees for cancellation or rebooking flights booked in the period from 1 March to 31 March, including international flights. The airline will allow passengers to adjust travel to Shanghai, Beijing, Seoul and all cities in Italy until April 30 at no extra charge. Stay tuned to the website Delta.
  • American Airlines have waived penalty fees for cancellation or rebooking of flights up to 14 days before the flight to customers who purchase tickets in the period from 1 March to 16 March. The company’s flights to Milan have been suspended until April 25. Was also suspended flights to Seoul (South Korea) and out of it. The airline will contact the affected customers to help them rent an apartment. More changes look at the website of the airline.
  • JetBlue suspends fees for date changes and cancellation of any flights until June 1. This applies to new bookings made from 27 February to 11 March.
  • Air Canada has suspended flights to Beijing and Shanghai.
  • British Airways suspends flights to mainland China, and the number of flights to Milan reduced. Airline representatives said they will contact clients to assist.
  • The airline Alaska Airlines does not charge a fee for cancellation or rebooking of air tickets purchased in the period from 27 February to 31 March. This applies to air travel that will take place before June 30. Check out the updates on the website.
  • United Airlines will suspend flights between the United States and the following cities in China: Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Was also suspended flights between the US and Iran and some flights to Japan and Seoul until April 30. Anyone who booked a flight in the period from March 3 to 31, may change dates free for the next 12 months.

What routing is affected at the moment?

  • The U.S. state Department issued a warning advising not to travel to China, South Korea and Iran.
  • The centers for control and prevention (CDC) followed suit on March 4, and advised to cancel all nonessential trips to China (including Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan) and in South Korea, Italy and Iran.
  • CDC has issued guidelines and practical precautions for travel to Japan.
  • Travel + Leisure recommends you to communicate directly with your hotel and airline to be sure in your choice and be aware of current information about your destination.
  • The CDC warns that all travelers returning from China, Italy, Iran and South Korea should remain at home for 14 days since the return. If travelers suffer from fever, cough or shortness of breath, they should immediately call a doctor and avoid contact with others.

Save any travel insurance?

Do not have. Most insurance companies do not cover cancellation of the ticket, since the outbreak of the virus, usually considered to be “unforeseen circumstance” if you have not booked the trip long before the outbreak of coronavirus. Expensive types of insurance that allow travelers to cancel the trip “for any reason”, are more likely to offer some (but perhaps incomplete) coverage of the costs.

In short, if you start thinking about getting travel insurance now, it’s too late.

If your insurance is tied to credit card, for example, as the owners of the Chase Sapphire, in case they have to change a flight or to find other housing, they may not get insurance. Representatives from Chase saying that such people should apply for reimbursement to their airline or hotel.

Sanitary measures in flight

At this point, if you still plan to fly, there are precautions you should take to protect themselves.

  • Book a window seat that will minimize your interaction with potentially sick people.
  • After the flight, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Also wash them in the plane before you eat.
  • Experts also suggest to wipe the surface with a disinfectant and use wipes for touch screens. Disinfectant for hands and wipes will help get rid of germs. According to the CDC, wipes containing at least 60% alcohol, usually the most effective. “There is nothing wrong to clean everything around you, but it is worth remembering that the coronavirus will not jump from the seat directly in the mouth, said Aaron Millstone, assistant hospital epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins hospital. — People need to be careful not to touch the dirty hands to his face.”
  • Face masks do not help much, and you have to remember that they should wear only those who already have symptoms. In fact, masks can even more to harm than to help, says David Powell, a physician and medical Advisor to International air transport Association. “The mask is unable to stop the virus, and furthermore on its surface during long-term use also accumulate viruses that can badly affect your health,” said Powell.

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