The global situation concerning the new coronavirus outbreak, or COVID-19, is changing rapidly every day. Guidance on where to travel and whether airlines will be flying to certain destinations around the world is evolving hour to hour.
Here is the latest information from airlines around the world on where they are flying, what routes have been halted, and how to get a refund on any impending international trip that needs to be postponed or canceled.
Air New Zealand
The Kiwi carrier has said that it will reduce its overall capacity by 85 percent in the coming months. Air New Zealand will continue to announce route suspensions as they take place, and it has already said that its halting long-haul flights between Auckland and Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, Buenos Aires, Vancouver, Tokyo Narita, Honolulu, Denpasar, and Taipei from March 30 to June 30. It is also suspending its London to Los Angeles service from March 20 (out of LAX) and March 21 (out of LHR) through June 30.
Air New Zealand also says its Tasman and Pacific Island networks will see significant capacity reductions between April and June but hasn't yet announced those schedule changes. As far as domestic flights, those will also be trimmed by about 30 percent in April and May, but no routes within the country will be fully suspended.
For any flights that need to be changed, the airline has introduced a flexible policy. "If your international travel is covered by global government-imposed restrictions, for the period up to and including 31 March 2020, you can change your booking and we'll waive change fees, service fees, and fare difference," Air New Zealand's COVID-19 FAQs page says. "For all other international travel after 31 March 2020, we can rebook you to a date in the future at no additional cost (we'll waive change fees, service fees, and fare difference)."
For its cheapest fare class, the "saver fare," purchased between February 27 and March 31, 2020, for travel through February 2021, Alaska Airlines is allowing cancellations for a refund in the form of a travel credit. Passengers with nonrefundable first-class or economy tickets (purchased in the same date range) can cancel for a refund in the form of a travel credit or make a one-time change for free, but travel must be completed by the end of February 2021.
Because of the amount of calls Alaska is getting to its reservations lines, the carrier is advising customers to cancel or change their bookings online. It has a helpful how-to page if you're not sure what changing a booking online entails.
All Nippon Airways
ANA has suspended the bulk of its flights to mainland China, with a handful of flights to Xiamen, Dalian, and Guangzhou still operating on a reduced schedule. It has also halted flights to India (Mumbai, Dehli, and Chennai), Seoul, Hong Kong, and Taipei. It has also greatly reduced its domestic flight schedule. The airline is offering free cancellations and one-time changes to flights to and from Japan, South Korea, China, and Italy that are booked for travel through April 30, and travel must take place on or before June 30. There are certain more specific date restrictions on some routes. For more details go to ANA's fee waiver page.
Among the U.S. carriers that have begun making massive flight suspensions is American Airlines, which recently said it will reduce its international flights by 75 percent into May and grounding its entire fleet of wide-body aircraft. On the chopping block are many flights to Europe; American has also halted all flights to and from the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong until April 23 or 24, depending on the city pairs, and is stopping its route from Dallas-Fort Worth to Seoul, South Korea from March 4 to April 25.
The carrier has announced that it will waive all change fees for any new flights booked from March 1 to 16. The airline says the offer applies to any of its published fares and changes must be made at least 14 days before travel. On top of waiving change fees for new bookings, American is also eliminating fees for changes to routes to Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, the Caribbean, the South Pacific, or any ticket bought before March 1 for travel through May 31. Go to its travel alerts page for specific information on the restrictions for changes.
British Airways has introduced a preemptive flight change policy similar to American's. For flights purchased from March 3 to 16, change fees will be waived right up until takeoff. For its passengers with flights booked to or from Hong Kong through May, British Airways is allowing flights to be rebooked to a later date. The airline has suspended all of its flights to and from Italy. It's offering free cancellations to anyone traveling through May 31, regardless of the destination. To process the cancellation and receive a refund in the form of a travel voucher, customers can fill out this online form, which can take up to seven days to process. Change fees are also waived for trips through May, so passengers can push their trip to any date until the end of the year. Go to British Airways' Book With Confidence page for more information.
The Hong Kong carrier is offering refunds on tickets with the last day of travel on or before April 30 for the following destinations: Wuhan, China (for tickets issued on or before January 21); mainland China (tickets issued on or before February 3); the Philippines (tickets issued on or before Februrary 4); Taiwan (tickets issued on or before February 8); Israel (tickets issued on or before February 19) ; South Korea (tickets issued on or before February 24); Thailand (tickets issued on or before March 4); and Japan (tickets issued on or before March 4).
Delta Air Lines
Delta is making sweeping cuts to its route network, with more than 80 percent of its international flights suspended over the next three months until demand rebounds. Among the flights it has halted are all of its flights to continental Europe and many to Asia. The airline is advising affected customers to log in to the "My Trip" section of its website to see their options, which "include rebooking on alternate Delta flights, rebooking on flights after April 30, rebooking on alternate or partner airlines, refunds or contacting us to discuss additional options."
The Atlanta-based carrier is also waiving change fees preemptively for all international flights booked between March 1 and 31, as well as offering no-fee changes to all domestic and international flights for travel through April 30 as long as the tickets were issued on or before March 9.
Following a ban on most passenger flights entering, exiting, or transiting through the UAE as of March 25, Emirates has canceled all of its passenger flights. The grounding will last for at least two weeks. The airline is allowing customers affected by the travel restrictions to rebook for free or get a refund in the form of money or a travel voucher.
On March 23, Etihad suspended all transit services through its hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport. "Any passengers booked on connecting flights via Abu Dhabi to anywhere else on the Etihad network will not be permitted to travel," the airline said in a release. "Etihad is attempting to contact these guests to advise them of the development."
Etihad is also subject to the UAE flight ban that takes effect on March 25. On that date, it will likewise suspended all passenger flights for at least 14 days in accordance with the ban. Customers will be notified if their flight is canceled. The airline had previously introduced an Etihad credit program to allow all customers booked to travel before June 30 can cancel for free and receive a credit for future travel.
"You may also be entitled to a refund if you’re due to travel on a route that has an extended period of cancellation," the airline's COVID-19 page says. To make changes, Etihad says to call its contact center within 48 hours of your scheduled flight.
Hawaiian will stop “most long-haul flights” to both the mainland U.S. and international destinations on March 26 as new quarantine rules go into effect in the islands. Hawaiian says at least one daily flight from Honolulu to the mainland (Los Angeles) will stay operational, as will one flight to America Samoa. For affected customers, Hawaiian is giving fliers one-time fee-free changes for travel through the end of the year or the option to cancel for a travel voucher or refund.
JAL has suspended or reduced a significant amount of international flights, with routes throughout mainland China, Hong Kong, Taipei, Honolulu, Seoul, Bangkok, and Delhi all affected. The airline is allowing refunds and ticket changes for most upcoming flights this spring to and from Japan, mainland China, and Hong Kong, though date restrictions vary.
JetBlue started waiving all change and cancellation fees in late February. The New York–based carrier said that for new flights purchased between February 27 to March 11 for travel completed by June 1, all cancellations and changes would be free. The airline also said that it plans to reduce at least 40 percent of its flights this spring. It's currently waiving the change and cancellations fees for all flights booked for travel between March 10 and April 30.
For most of its flights from Seoul to America—including San Francisco, New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington D.C., Honolulu, Dallas, and others—as well as destinations in Southeast Asia and Europe, Korean Air has suspended flights or is operating a reduced schedule.
The airline is waiving fees for any changes to flights booked on or before March 1 between North America and Korea, including flights that simply stop in Korea and continue to a different destination. A new ticket must be re-issued on or before June 30. Korean Air is offering similar policies for itineraries in Southeast Asia and for passengers with entry restrictions due to Covid-19.
Lufthansa is planning some of the most extensive flight cuts in the industry for its global route network and that of its subsidiaries. The airline group said in a statement it would be reducing its flights by up to 50 percent "in the coming weeks," for all airlines in its network, which include Swiss, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, and Air Dolomiti. It hasn't yet released which routes will be halted as part of the mass reductions. Lufthansa is also examining the possibility of temporarily grounding its entire fleet of Airbus A380s (the carrier flies 14 of the superjumbo aircraft) due to sinking demand.
Additionally, the carrier is waiving all change fees for any new flights purchased to any destination through March 31. These new reservations will have a free one-time rebooking for any travel date through December 31, 2020. The airline group is also letting passengers who have already purchased change their itineraries at no charge, regardless of the original fare restrictions. That policy applies to fares booked by March 5 for travel through April 30 and allows for a rebooking on any date through the end of the year.
Norwegian has slashed 85 percent of its flight capacity, leading to 4,500 cancellations, including routes between the U.S. and Europe. Norwegian is reaching out to affected customers and is offering refunds.
For flights that are still operating, the airline is allowing one fee-free change for its LowFare, LowFare+, and Premium tickets booked through March 22. The tickets must have been for travel completed on or before November 30, and the new flights must take place before that date as well.
Australia's flag carrier has announced a suspension of all international flights, including those operated by its subsidiary Jetstar. Routes will continue through the end of March to repatriate Australian citizens, then be halted until at least the end of May, Qantas said in a statement. The airline said that any international booking will be automatically canceled and converted into a travel credit that can be used anywhere in its network, and it is reaching out to affected customers starting March 23.
Qantas also says that passengers on flights to areas with immigration restrictions due to COVID-19 could be eligible for fee waivers, but is not publishing a list of eligible fliers. Instead, it's asking customers to fill out a fee waiver form or contact its customer service to hear their options.
With one of the more flexible policies amid the coronavirus outbreak, Qatar is offering passengers on all flights—or customers who will be booking flights—through June 30 the chance to change their travel dates or exchange their ticket for a travel voucher that would be valid for one year. Reservations must be changed at least three days before departure.
Singapore has announced that is will indefinitely suspend 96 percent of its flights and ground 138 of its 147 aircraft. For all tickets issued on or before March 15 for travel up to May 31, Singapore Airlines is waiving the rebooking fees. "Customers can cancel their existing flight itineraries, retain the value of their tickets and rebook their travel at a later date, when they are able to firm up their new travel plans," says the airline's current policy. "The new flight itinerary should be completed by 31 March 2021." The airline is also waiving no-show fees for travel between March 16 to March 31.
Tap Air Portugal
The Lisbon-based carrier has canceled thousands of flights through May and is making sharp reductions across routes that are still operating. "Customers affected by flight cancellations in this period should visit refunds.flytap.com, to obtain a voucher for the total amount paid for the ticket," the airline says. Tap Air Portugal is also allowing one-time changes to reservations for no fee. Tickets for travel through April 30 are eligible to be rescheduled for travel starting before the end of the year. Changes must be made at least 24 hours before travel. For more information, go to Tap's COVID-19 news page.
For all international flights that are purchased through March 31 for travel through the end of the year, Turkish Airlines will waive its fee for any one-time change. In order for the fees to be waived, flights must be canceled or changed before May 31. "you can cancel the reservation and save your ticket as a ticket with an open date so that you can use it later," Turkish's policy says. Any new trips, however, must be completed on or before February 28, 2021.
United has announced that it will suspended 90 percent of its international flights and reduce 42 percent of its network throughout the U.S. and Canada. For any passengers scheduled to fly between March 10 and April 30, the airline is allowing changes at no cost, regardless of destination or when the ticket was purchased (but certain other time restrictions do apply). For new international or domestic airfares purchased between March 3 and March 31, United is allowing passengers to change the dates and times of their flights with no charge for up to a year after the ticket was issued.
Airport and passenger restrictions in the U.S.
President Donald Trump has instituted a ban on many travelers from Europe, the U.K., and Ireland. The new regulations prohibit travelers who have been in any of the 26 countries in Europe's Schengen Area, the U.K., or Ireland within the last 14 days from entering the U.S. if they are not American citizens or permanent residents, with a few exceptions for immediate family members. Travelers arriving in the U.S. from Iran and mainland China have already been subjected to the same regulations.
American citizens and permanent residents arriving from these destinations will also be screened at certain airports for symptoms of the virus. Those airports include major hubs like Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Newark, New York JFK, Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. If a U.S. citizen who has recently been to Europe, China, or Iran has a flight route into the U.S. that does not include one of the approved airports designated for COVID-19 screenings, they will be re-routed to a hub that offers a symptom checkpoint.
This story was last published on March 20, 2020. It has been updated with new information.