Coronavirus has caused my trip to be canceled. I would like to reschedule my trip or I would like a refund. What should I do? Can you get refund for plane tickets? What about the hotel, or bus connection?
Whether you’re looking for an airline refund or postpone your cruise, rebook your hotel or otherwise just survive the chaos coronavirus is wreaking on travel all over the world, here’s a deep dive into how to save your trip in 2020.
How to Deal With Airline Cancellations
USA carriers are usually quite strict when dealing with refund and cancellation requests, but it all comes down to the airline.
American Airlines Refund
If you’re flying with American Airlines, then you’re in luck – presuming you booked your ticket between March 1 to 31, and had planned to fly before January 30, 2021. In other words, all AA tickets for the rest of the year can be changed without the usual fee, assuming you booked before the end of March.
To make things easier, you don’t even need to call them – just cancel the flight online, and give them a call when you’re ready to rebook. This includes all tickets, right down to Basic Economy.
So even if you can’t speak to their reservations team directly, so long as you cancel the original flight you’ll be able to rebook.
The only catch with American Airline refund options is that you’ll have to pay any price difference between the original reservation and the new flight. Also, you can only change your flight once – subsequent changes might incur their normal change fee.
To read their full terms and conditions, find out more at the official site.
United Airlines Refund
Similar to American Airlines, United Airlines has waived their usual flight change fees for March bookings.
Specifically, anything booked between March 3 to 31 can be changed without incurring the regular fees for the next 12 months. The deal is that you can rebook for a cheaper flight at no change (and no reimbursement, either), or change to a more expensive flight and pay the difference.
It’s also possible to cancel your trip entirely, and book a new one at any time for the rest of 2020. The easiest way to do either option is to go to their website, enter your reservation number and follow the instructions.
Bear in mind that United Airlines has a few fickle little restrictions.
First, your flight needs to have been booked before or on March 2. Also, while United Airlines proudly boasts on its website that “you can change it for free over the next 12 months”, in reality things are slightly more convoluted.
Pay careful attention: your new flight can be booked for any date within 12 months of the original ticket issue date, but this booking must be made before December 31, 2020. For example if you booked a ticket with United on March 15, 2020, then you can rebook a flight that takes off on any date until March 14, 2021.
However, you’ll need to make the actual booking before December 31, 2020. Is your head spinning yet?
If you’re not confused by United Airlines’ policy yet, then let’s make things even more complicated. In good news for travelers, if your flight departs before June 30, 2020, then you can rebook your ticket without any additional costs – assuming it’s between the same original cities and in the same class (so if there’s a price difference, don’t worry).
If your flight is after June 30 or you change your destination/point of origin, then you won’t have to pay the regular change fee, but you “may” be on the hook for any price differences between the new and old bookings.
Lastly, United is also potentially offering refunds on untaken flights, even those for tickets listed as “nonrefundable”. This special measure is only for tickets booked before February 12, 2020, and there’s a list of restrictions longer than your arm.
Try submitting your refund request here, and pray to the Gods of aviation.
More details can be found at United’s website.
Delta Airlines Refund
Changes and refunds on airline tickets with Delta have been significantly simplified (something which United aught to take some pointers from).
To get a flight refund with Delta isn’t particularly easy, but rebookings are a breeze. Anything booked in March can be canceled for credit, and that credit can then be used to rebook a future flight.
It’s possible to rebook as many times as you want before December 31, 2020. All March and April departures can also be rebooked at no cost – except if the new flight is more expensive than the original. In such circumstances, you just need to pay the difference.
On the other hand, if your new flight is cheaper than the original, then you’ll receive credit equal to the price difference. Delta is one of the few major US airlines offering this, so kudos to them.
More information can be found at the official Delta website.
Alaska Airlines Refund
Your airline ticket refund options are somewhat more limited with Alaska Airlines. Basically, tickets purchased between February 27 and March 31 can be either changed to a different date.
The option to fully refund airline ticket reservations isn’t available; instead, you can receive credit to fly at anytime with Alaska Airlines before February 28, 2021. More details can be found here.
Southwest Airlines Refund
The southwest Airline refund policy is a bit of a hard one to navigate. If you’re flying before April 30, you can change your flight to any future date within the next 60 days for no extra cost.
This includes waiving any additional costs related to differences in prices between the original and new flight.
For cancellations, things get a bit more complex. In general, a full flight cancellation refund isn’t going to be an option; instead, you’ll likely receive credit, which can be put towards your next Southwest Airlines flight.
The full terms and conditions can be found here.
Spirit Airlines Refund
Spirit Airlines’ coronavirus trip cancellation policy is fairly simple: cancel your flight, and you’ll get credit towards your next booking equal to the original price you paid.
You must use this credit within 6 months, but the new flight can depart at any future date (so long as the new booking is confirmed within the 6 month window).
See their full coronavirus trip refund policy here.
Hawaiian Airlines Refund
Airline ticket cancellation with Hawaiian Airlines is graceful and easy. You can cancel airline ticket or tickets booked directly with Hawaiian airlines and immediately receive credit towards your next trip by going to their website and filling out the online form.
Select COVID 19 as your reason for cancellation, and you’ll be free to rebook anytime before December 31, 2020. Bear in mind you only need to submit one cancellation request per confirmation code.
So, if your confirmation code covers more than one passenger/leg of your trip, you won’t need to submit multiple refund requests.
Air Canada Refund
Air Canada will offer a credit refund for flight cancellation submissions made for any trips booked before March 31, 2020. There is no cancellation fee, and any costs you’ve already paid will be saved as credit for use within the next 12 months. Simple, right? For more information, head over to the official website.
Aeromexico’s coronavirus trip postpone and refund policy depends largely on whether you booked before or after March 1, 2020. If before, then you can reschedule your trip with the same origin and destination for any departure until February 28, 2021.
Any change in price between the original and new ticket will be charged, but there’s no extra costs as long as you rebook before April 30, 2020.
Meanwhile, tickets booked between March 9-31 (and for departures in the same period), can be rescheduled for any date before October 31, 2020. However, if your flight is to/from the United States, this window is slightly longer, to February 28, 2021.
More information can be found here.
All Lufthansa flights can be canceled and rebooked, so long as the new reservation is made before August 31, 2020. The new flight can leave on any date before December 31, 2020.
To sweeten the deal, Lufthansa is offering all its customers the equivalent of €50 (US$54) off any rebooked flight.
However, they are still going to charge you the difference if your new flight is more expensive, though they’ll deduct €50 from the final price.
More details can be found here.
Air France Refund
Any flight booked before March 31 with Air France can be changed to any date before November 30, 2020 without the usual rebooking cost.
The new booking must, however, be made before September 30, 2020, and is subject to seat availability. Take note that Air France has increased its flights to France with the intention of ferrying French citizens residing abroad back home.
At the time of writing, only only citizens of the European Union, the Schengen area, the United Kingdom and their families could board flights bound for France.
Can you cancel a plane ticket with Iberia? The answer is actually yes, though the question of can you get refunds on plane tickets with the company is a little more nuanced, but nonetheless significantly more flexible than many of its competitors.
Iberia is offering all its customers the choice to exchange any ticket bought between March 1 and May 31 for a voucher. The voucher will be valid until March 31 2021, and can be used on any flight to or from any destination.
As to how to cancel flight or flights with Iberia is simple, just fill out this online form and you can get your voucher.
British Airways Refund
The airline ticket refund policy of British Airways has been modified for all flights before May 31, 2020. These flights can be changed without paying the regular fee. More information can be found here.
Emirates Airways Refund
If you’re traveling before June 30, 2020, you can rebook for no cost – even if the new flight costs more than the original. More details can be found here.
Singapore Airlines Refund
Singapore Airlines is offering free changes and credit to any bookings before May 31, 2020. Any new trips need to be made before March 31, 2021. Their full coronavirus trip refund policy can be found here.
China Southern Airlines Refund
China Southern Airlines’ coronavirus trip postpone policy is a bit complex. In general, both refunds and flight changes are possible, depending on your destination and departure date. Check their website for details on your route.
How To Deal With Cruise Cancellations
As with flights, each cruise provider has taken a somewhat different tack when it comes to cruise cancellations in the age of coronavirus. Even if you’re booked with a company not listed here, at least these examples can provide some insight into what to expect from cruise providers while looking for a cruise ship refund.
Carnival Cruises Cancellation
Carnival Cruises hit headlines in March 2020, when its Diamond Princess was held at sea while carrying hundreds of passengers infected with coronavirus. Naturally, the grim news led many vacation planners to immediately ask how to cancel carnival cruise tickets, or at least check the carnival cruise refund policy.
Anyone holding tickets for April or May can either request a refund or exchange the price of the trip for credit. If you go for the credit, Carnival Cruises will sweeten the deal by adding up to $600 in additional credit, though you’ll have to rebook within a year.
Also, be aware that any Carnival Cruise cancellation can be made without any cost so long as you haven’t made the final payment.
More information can be found here.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Cancellation
The Royal Caribbean refund policy allows anyone to cancel their cruise departing before July 31 for a full refund/credit, so long as it’s done more than two days before the sail date. In cases where Royal Caribbean cancels cruises, the company has been giving customers refunds of 125% of the fare paid.
More details of the Royal Caribbean cancellation policies can be found here.
Disney Cruises Cancellation
The Disney Cruise line cancellation policy is generally somewhat strict, with the company withholding between 50-100% of anything you’ve paid to them, depending on how far in advance you cancel.
Cancellations can be made either over the phone, in writing or through your travel agent. Regarding canceled cruises, at the time of writing Disney was yet to publicly announce their compensation plans for customers.
The standard Disney Cruise cancellation policy can be found here.
Norwegian Cruises Cancellation
The Norwegian Cruise Line cancellation policy is among the most generous. Under the Norwegian cancellation policy, customers on trips embarking before September 30 can cancel in exchange for credit that will remain valid through til December 2022.
Bear in mind that the NCL cancellation policy does require you cancel these trips more than 48 hours before departure. However, for trips after October 1, cancellations made 120 days in advance can receive a full refund under the Norwegian Cruise cancellation policy.
Find out more about cruise ship cancellations at the NCL website.
Princess Cruises Cancellation
The princess cruises cancellation policy has been slightly revised for all trips before December 31, 2021. Depending on when your trip leaves, final payment dates have been pushed back. Check here to see what changes have been made for your departure date.
Passengers of canceled trips can either request a refund or credit.
How To Deal With Bus Trip Cancellations
Coronavirus trip refund options when traveling by bus vary pretty considerably. In the US, Greyhound is offering free ticket changes, with similar offers being available in Europe.
Your best option is to contact your bus company directly, expecting either a bus trip refund or free trip change.
How to get a refund on non refundable greyhound tickets?
Short answer: typically you can’t, and can only change the ticket for a $20 fee. However, at the time of writing, Greyhound was offering free changes on all tickets. It’s unclear how long this offer will last.
More information can be found here.
How To Deal With Train Cancellations
In the US, Amtrak has waived its change fee on all reservations made before April 30, 2020. In Europe, Eurail is offering between 85-100% refunds on passes for passengers facing travel restrictions.
Anyone currently holding a pass can be eligible for an extension of up to six months. Full details can be found here.
Regional services may offer train ticket refund options.
How To Deal With Hotel & Lodging Cancellations
When it comes to hotels and accommodation, you can generally expect more flexibility than with transport. This is especially true when it comes to coronavirus trip cancellation issues.
Both Hilton and Marriott, for example, are offering free changes and cancellations until April 30, 2020.
So don’t be afraid to ask for a hotel refund.
If you have booked your hotel through booking.com or a similar website and you want to cancel your reservation, first call the hotel/ lodging, explain the reason for the cancellation and then tell them that booking.com is going to call them immediately to follow through.
As the property has the final call on whether the trip can be cancelled or not, you are better off first getting an approval from them and then calling the the online travel agency (OTA) to follow the correct process.