Advice on Travel Refunds During COVID-19 Pandemic

How have the top airlines and hotels adjusted their policies?

LAST UPDATED: APRIL 9, 2020

If you’re rethinking your travel plans, want to rebook your trip, or cancel it altogether because of the Coronavirus, we have a list of what airlines and hotels are doing to help.

If you have information about other hotels, airlines, cruises, or tour companies, email grace@pirg.org to have them added to the list.

 

How to change your travel plans?
  1. Reach out to the airline. If the airline or hotel that you booked with doesn’t have a new cancellation policy to address the outbreak, you should ask how they can help you make other arrangements. This includes asking the travel agent if they can give you a cash refund instead of a voucher. If cash refunds aren't included in the airline's policy they can deny your request, but if you have special circumstances they might make an exception.
  2. Move to social media. If they don't allow you to change, cancel or receive a voucher for your travel, you can ask the airline to expand their coverage via social media. If enough people take this action by posting and tagging the airline or hotel chain, it may cause them to reconsider their policy during this time.
  3. Check with your credit card company. Certain credit card companies are changing their policies to reimburse non-refundable travel during this outbreak. Contacting the credit card company you used to purchase your flight or accomodations is the quickest way to find out if you qualify. 
  4. Contact the airline closer to your travel date. Airlines are currently overwhelmed with calls from customers looking to cancel or adjust their flights. Many airlines, travel agencies, and hotels have asked that you delay calling their customer service numbers until closer to your travel dates. Taking this advice will help you avoid longer wait times.
  5. Be as kind and patient as possible. Remember that the customer service representatives taking your calls are also dealing with the complications that come from this pandemic and treat them with respect and kindness, regardless of the outcome of your request. 
Tell Airlines
Refund Passengers for Coronavirus Cancellations

Deciding not to fly is a healthy choice during the novel coronavirus pandemic, as the CDC recommends we all practice social distancing. Airlines should provide full refunds, not only travel vouchers, to customers who cancel their plans due to coronavirus.

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