What’s going to happen to those airline tickets you bought in advance at an incredibly low price?
Radars tracking empty skies, borders closed, Instagram profiles devoid of beautiful scenery: coronavirus is locking us all in our homes. Airlines have cut hundreds of thousands of flights because of the coronavirus travel restrictions. Air travel demand this year will fall for the first time in over a decade and cost the carriers more than $29 billion in revenue, the International Air Transport Association warned last month.
Millions of travel plans have been ruined. Whether business or vacation, most international trips have been put on hold. What’s going to happen to those airline tickets you bought in advance at an incredibly low price? It depends on the corporate policy.
Check out some of the most popular airline solutions regarding COVID-19’s impact on their flights.
The company was forced to stop air traffic to and from European countries most suffering from the coronavirus and all others where governments applied legal restrictions.
If your flight was affected, you must have been notified by email and SMS which outline the options to either request a refund, rebook or re-route your journey and avail of reasonable care, as applicable. Otherwise, your flight is operating as normal.
Please, be patient when resolving the solution to your problem. The airline has reduced the number of staff by 50% amidst the pandemic crisis. Therefore, your appeals won’t be handled immediately. Phone calls will be accepted only in emergency situations, all other communication will take place via email. The exceptions include repatriation and rescue flights, as well as the transportation of medical supplies.
If you’re interested in rescheduling your flight, please, note that the immediate future of air traffic in the EU is uncertain. The company representatives suggest that most flights will be canceled at least during the next two months.
Customers of this low-cost airline whose bookings were affected by COVID-19-related cancellations are being informed at the earliest possible date and offered a full refund. Rebooking for an alternative route is only possible if there are no airport lockdowns or air travel restrictions in the given country.
In the majority of cases, if customers have booked online or via the official app, 120% of the original price will automatically be uploaded to the customer’s WIZZ account in the form of WIZZ credit, which can be further used for the purchase of Wizz Air products and services for 24 months.
You can also apply for a cash refund. Due to the unprecedented number of emergency cancellations, this process will take longer than usual. Moreover, customers who decide to cash out will be eligible only for 100% of the original fare without the lucrative 20% markup. You will be informed about the procedure for a bank transfer or credit card refund via a separate email.
Passengers who made their bookings via travel agencies – both bricks-and-mortar and online – should get in touch with the intermediary company to find out more about their options.
The company has extended its waiver policies due to the spread of the coronavirus.
You can use the “My Bookings” function to either get a refund or arrange re-booking as well as view the current status of your flight. Refundable bookings are indicated in your booking summary after pressing a “Cancellation” button.
If you made an online purchase or bought tickets in a Lufthansa office, the refund will happen automatically and you don’t need to take any further action.
Even flights that were not purchased via a Lufthansa office or via lufthansa.com can be canceled online. However, for the refund, you should contact the travel agency that issued the ticket.
Already booked tickets for still existing flights no longer expire and can be re-booked until August 31, 2020. In addition, Lufthansa is now offering a discount of 50 euros for each re-booked ticket.
Unfortunately, this service is currently unavailable online. You can address the call-center with the re-booking issue. Yet, service centers are still facing a high volume of incoming calls. Hence, the company representatives ask you to only contact the service center if you have an urgent flight within the next 72 hours.
The change and cancellation conditions related to coronavirus (COVID-19) vary depending on flight dates.
- KLM Package Deal bookings with departure by 30 April 2020 will be automatically canceled by the airline. The full travel sum will be refunded as a voucher. This is a Corona-voucher which meets the requirements of the ANVR and SGR. The voucher will be sent to you by email within the next few weeks. It has the same value as your previously booked package trip including the value of any discount vouchers used (excluding the €10 booking fee). The voucher can be redeemed for travel up to one year after the date of issue. The voucher is valid for the combination of flight, hotel and/or car rental for a chosen destination.
- For KLM Package Deals bookings with departure from 1 May 2020, the same rules apply if your flight is canceled due to governmental restrictions. In other cases, change and cancellation costs for the booked services apply in accordance with the conditions of the relevant suppliers (airline, hotel, car rental company, etc.).
- If you would like to re-book your trip from a risk area to a no-risk area, please contact the company so that they can first cancel your booking. You will then receive the value of the cancelled trip as a voucher, which can be used to make a new booking via the website.
For individual flights, you can use the self-service options both online and in-app to modify your flight date or request a travel voucher until 30 September 2020, even if your initial travel date has passed. You won’t pay any additional charges.
- To re-book new travel dates within the period until 30 November 2020, you must choose the seats in your originally chosen travel class.
- If your new travel date comes after 1 December 2020, the same fare type as mentioned in your original ticket should be preferred. If you change to a higher fare type, you will pay the fare difference.
- If you wish to change your destination, you may use the full value of your original tickets for new tickets on KLM, Air France, Delta Air Lines or Virgin Atlantic.
The re-booking policies for China and South Korea differ from the global ones. You can find more information here.
Scandinavian Airlines, one of the founding members of the Star Alliance, have removed the change fee on all new bookings made from 5 March-19 March 2020 for travel until 30 November 2020 (included). You will still pay the fare difference if the new ticket is more expensive than your original one.
The airline was one of the first to react to the spreading threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of holidays were immediately canceled and EasyJet provided full refunds to customers with trips to those countries affected. It now only runs “essential services”, which take up to 10% of its usual capacity and mainly involve flights serving UK airports.
If you would currently prefer not to take a trip you have already booked with this airline, due to the pandemic situation, you can change flights online without incurring any additional fees. This applies to all existing and new bookings until further notice. Extra costs may be attributed only to the difference in fares.
In countries where all flights have had to be canceled due to local authority guidance, EasyJet is operating rescue flights. To book yourself onto a rescue flight, please visit Manage Bookings on easyJet.com or via the mobile app. As the list of those flights is constantly being updated, you should continually monitor the page.
To change your travel plans, please visit the “Manage Bookings” section on easyJet.com. If you didn’t book directly with easyJet, you can still check details by selecting ‘No account? Find a booking’ and enter your surname(s) and booking reference. However, you will need to contact the agency where you bought your tickets for a travel change or refund. Worldwide customers affected should contact Dohop.
Due to the staff changes and high workload, calling the Contact Centre with the purpose of making a change will cost you an administration charge of £5 applied per person, per flight. This fee can be waived only in special cases.
International Airlines Group
The Group portfolio consists of unique operating companies, from full-service long-haul to low-cost short-haul carriers, each targeting specific customer needs and geographies. They include British Airways, Iberia, Vueling, and others.
With British Airways, you can change the destination and date of travel online without being charged a change fee, on all new bookings made from 3 March to 31 May 2020, or receive a voucher for any existing bookings that depart up to Sunday 31 May 2020.
Similar policies exist in other members of the Group.