Many US airlines waiving change fees – across all flights – amid coronavirus outbreak

Cancelled flights are seen on the flight information display board inside the terminal of the Hong Kong International Airport on Feb. 22, 2020 in Hong Kong, China. ( Photo by Vernon Yuen/NurPhoto via Getty Images )

Several major U.S. airlines are extending change-fee waivers to passengers thinking about booking travel, should any of their plans change amid the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

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Many of these airlines had previously extended travel waivers to countries and regions experiencing the worst outbreaks (many of which are still in place). These new policies, however, now extend to all tickets purchased, albeit between specific dates.

JetBlue

Last week, JetBlue became the first U.S. carrier to offer change- and cancellation-fee waivers for passengers who purchased tickets between Feb. 27 and March 11 – across all flights – for any travel completed by June 11.

“While authorities have not issued any travel restrictions to the locations we fly, we want to give our customers some peace of mind that we are ready to support them should the situation change,” said JetBlue President and COO Joanna Geraghty in a media release.

More information can be found within JetBlue’s Travel Alerts.

Other major carriers soon followed suit, offering passengers more flexibility to change plans, if not cancel them entirely.

Alaska Airlines

Passengers who purchase travel between Feb. 27 and March 12, with plans to travel by June 30, are eligible to cancel their trips altogether, and put the value of the fare toward future travel. Passengers who purchase nonrefundable tickets during the same time period are eligible for a change-fee waiver, for use on new fares booked before Dec. 31.

“It can be tough to keep track of what’s going on — and maybe even tougher to decide whether to make or keep your travel plans,” Alaska Airlines writes.

Additional information can be found on Alaska Airlines’ Travel Advisories.

American Airlines

Per its latest policy, American Airlines will be waiving change fees for tickets purchased between March 1 and March 16. Eligible ticketholders must have travel scheduled before Jan. 21, 2021, and make changes at least 14 days in advance of the original scheduled travel date.

Rebooked travel plans must be completed within one year of the ticket’s original issue date.

Additional information can be found within American Airlines’s Travel Alerts.

Delta Air Lines

Delta is waiving change fees for all international and domestic travel booked between March 1 and March 31, for travel dates between March 1, 2020, and Feb. 25, 2021. Ticketholders will not incur a change fee if deciding to switch to an "alternate itinerary," Delta says, although rebooked travel must begin no later than Feb. 28, 2021. In addition, all passengers who had previously booked international flights scheduled to leave during March will be eligible to change without incurring a fee.

"As concerns continue about COVID-19, we are doing everything we can to ensure the safety and welfare of customers," the airline wrote in an update issued March 4.

Further information can be found at Delta's Coronavirus Travel Updates.

Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines is waiving both change and cancellation fees for travel scheduled to take place between March 3 and March 16. Rebooked travel must be completed by June 1; travelers who cancel will be issued “a credit valid for 90 days,” according to Frontier’s policy.

More information can be found on Frontier’s Alerts page.

Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines is extending change-fee waivers for passengers who purchase tickets between March 1 and March 16, across any flight. Ticketholders are required to request changes at least 24 hours before scheduled departure.

Additional information can be found at Hawaiian Airlines' "Book Confidently" page.

United Airlines

Anyone who purchases travel – domestically or internationally – between March 3 and March 31 is eligible to reschedule their trips without incurring a change fee “to a flight of equal or lesser value” scheduled for one year from the original ticket issue date. Passengers wishing to cancel travel will also not incur a fee, and will be eligible to apply the original value to travel scheduled within a year of the original issue date.

“The waiver applies to all tickets, all fare types, all destinations, all points-of-sale and all travel dates available for sale,” United said in a statement.

More information can be found within United’s Travel Notices.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines is one of the few carriers that doesn’t charge cancellation fees or change fees for rescheduled travel.

“As always, our Customers can change their travel itineraries without a change fee and our non-refundable fares can be applied toward future travel without penalty as long as your reservation is canceled 10 minutes prior to the scheduled departure of your flight,” reads a message posted to Southwest’s Travel Advisories page.

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