All The Covid Info You Could Want..
Here’s a collection of links that I found useful when researching different aspects of how the COVID-19 coronavirus is affecting travel plans: what are the airlines saying? what does my insurance cover? which countries aren’t affected?
Policies on which flights qualify for change fee waivers and how to either rebook or cancel your existing flights.
American Airlines (in general, credits are valid for use through 12/31/21; changes need to be made by calling Reservations; if you purchased through a travel agent - that includes sites like Expedia - you may have to contact them to use the eCredit and there may be different terms/conditions attached)
Delta (eCredits value through 9/30/22; changes can be made online; if you purchased through a travel agent - that includes sites like Expedia - you may have to contact them to use the eCredit and there may be different terms/conditions attached)
United Airlines (waiver terms depend on the destination region but, in general, vouchers are valid through 24 months from the date of purchase; if you purchased through a travel agent - that includes sites like Expedia - you may have to contact them to use the eCredit and there may be different terms/conditions attached)
Centrav, the air consolidator I use most frequently, has compiled a comprehensive list of other airlines and their current policies
WHAT IF I WANT A REFUND INSTEAD OF A VOUCHER?
As you may have read, U.S.-based airlines are required to provide a refund rather than a voucher if they canceled the flight. If you voluntarily asked to have your flight canceled before airline officially did so, you only have the voucher option. Please note that the airlines are saying it may take as much as 6-9 months for refunds to be processed.
Another consideration when asking for a refund is whether you can afford to float the airlines that cash for the next 6-12 months. I understand that many people cannot, but if you can, think of it this way - we really only have 3 major airlines here in the U.S. (I’ll go as far as 7, if you want to include JetBlue, Alaska, Spirit, and Southwest). If everyone who had a flight cancelled demands a refund rather than holding a voucher, we’ll likely have further airline consolidation, which is not in any consumer’s best interest. So, if you can afford to float the airlines the credit, consider doing so.
WHY DOESN’T MY TRAVEL INSURANCE COVER MY CANCELLED VACATION/FLIGHT/ETC.?
Unless you purchased travel insurance with a “Cancel For Any Reason” (CFAR) policy prior to COVID-19 becoming a known issue (I believe the date used is January 25, 2020), then your travel insurance will not cover any trip cancellation or interruption due to COVID-19.
Pandemics and epidemics are typically included under the “Force Majeure” clause…if insurance companies were forced to pay out on every trip under policy in the next two months, we wouldn’t have insurance companies anymore.
If your trip was canceled prior to departure, and you had purchased travel insurance, your policy should be valid for 770 days from the date of purchase. It’s always possible that will change (to extend further)
WHY WOULD ANYONE BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE, THEN?
Travel insurance does cover a wide range of things that are statistically much more likely to happen to a traveler than a pandemic. To name a few, flights could be cancelled because of weather patterns; travelers could fall prey to an injury before travel, or could become sick while traveling. Your home could be flooded while you’re away, causing you to cut your vacation short and need to book new flights home. Any one of those instances is many times more likely to happen to you than a pandemic upsetting your travel plans.
WHERE ELSE CAN I LOOK FOR SOLID INFORMATION ON COVID-19?
DESTINATION AND SUPPLIER RESOURCES:
Please take these links with a healthy dose of salt, as clearly the destinations are re-evaluating this on a daily basis; please don’t use this as the basis of making any travel plans, as the situation changes daily:
Terrific general information source: IATA’s Interactive Coronavirus (COVID-19) Travel Regulations Map
The Points Guy: A country-by-country guide to coronavirus recovery