Since the coronavirus outbreak around the world, many flights have been cancelled. Airline customers and employees are equally frustrated.
Luckily, a lot of airlines are being flexible and offering coronavirus flight ticket refunds or a free change of dates.
Here you will find all you need to know about your rights when dealing with coronavirus and which airlines have cancelled flights and updated their booking policies because of the COVID-19 situation and travel restrictions.
Coronavirus and Cancelled Flights
Here is the list of airlines who have cancelled flights since March 2020 and introduced change of policies so far in alphabetical order:
- Aer Lingus
- Aeroflot Russian Airlines
- Air Arabia
- Air Astana
- Air Busan
- Air Canada
- Air Dolomiti
- Air Europa
- Air France
- Air India
- Air New Zealand
- Air Seoul
- Alaska Airlines
- All Nippon Airways
- American Airlines
- Asiana Airlines
- ATA Airlines
- Austrian Airlines
- Bamboo Airways
- British Airways
- Bulgaria Air
- Brussels Airlines
- Cabo Verde Airlines
- Caspian Airlines
- Cathay Pacific
- Cebu Pacific Air
- China Airlines
- CSA Czech Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Eastar Jet
- EI AI Israel Airlines
- Ethiopian Airlines
- EVA Air and UNI Air
- Fly Baghdad
- Garuda Indonesia
- Gulf Air
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Japan Airlines
- Jazeera Airways
- Jetstar Airways
- Jin Air
- Iran Air
- Iran Airtour
- Iran Aseman Air
- Iraqi Airways
- JetBlue Airways
- Kish Air
- Korean Air
- Kuwait Airways
- Lao Airlines
- LATAM Airlines
- LOT Polish Airlines
- Lufthansa Group
- Mahan Air
- MIAT Mongolian Airlines
- Norwegian Air
- Oman Air
- Pakistan International Airlines
- Peach Aviation
- Pegasus Airlines
- Philippine Airlines
- Qantas and Jetstar
- Qatar Airlines
- Qeshm Air
- Royal Air Maroc
- Royal Jordanian
- Scandinavian Airlines
- Singapore Airlines and SilkAir
- Southwest Airlines
- Sun Country Air
- Swiss International Air Lines
- S7 Airlines
- Taban Air
- TAP Air Portugal
- Thai AirAsia
- Thai Airways
- Tigerair Taiwan
- Turkish Airlines and AnadoluJet
- T’Way Air
- United Airlines
- Uzbekistan Airways
- VietJet Air
- Vietnam Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic Airways
- Wizz Air
- Zagros Airlines
We will be updating this list regularly. If you have booked any flights, check with your airline in advance.
In any case, it is important to know what your rights are. So read carefully the next section:
Know Your Rights
Getting a refund from airlines due to coronavirus may depend on when you booked your ticket, on your destination and whether your ticket is non-refundable.
Here are the answers to all your burning questions:
Should I cancel my flight because of coronavirus?
Simply travelling on a plane doesn’t increase the risk - it’s like being on a train or at other public spaces. However, travelling to airports in countries and cities with a high number of COVID-19 cases is not recommended and even prohibited.
Right now, it’s best to avoid any unnecessary travel and maintain good hygiene. Make sure to follow the news and travel warnings - there are frequent updates.
Will I get compensated if I cancel my flight?
If you cancel your flight because you’re worried about the virus while there aren’t any official restrictions or cancellations, it’s highly doubtful you’ll get a refund, even with travel insurance.
The only exception is if you have paid extra for a “cancel for any reason” travel insurance plan.
If you get sick before your trip and provide a note from a doctor, you might be able to use your insurance plan’s trip-cancellation coverage.
A good option is to pay a change fee to reschedule your flight for another date or destination. Luckily, many airlines have changed their terms and conditions and even removed change fees for the time being.
If you are flying to a country with confirmed health risk and an official warning issued, airlines should be refunding tickets in 14 days free of charge. Otherwise, the airline’s usual cancellation conditions apply.
Will I get a refund if my flight is cancelled because of coronavirus?
Yes - if the airline cancels your flight because of coronavirus or other reasons, it is legally obliged to give you a full refund or offer you an alternative flight.
If the airline changes its schedule and you don’t agree with the change, you’ll most likely get a refund too, but different airlines have different policies.
If you have booked a holiday through a travel agent or tour operator, they are also obliged to refund you. However, there have been many complaints of delayed payments. This might happen because travel companies are waiting for the airlines to provide the reimbursement.
Remember that with cancelled package holidays, you're due a full refund within 14 days.
Will I get coronavirus cancelled flight compensation?
If the cancellation is due to coronavirus, you won’t get a cancellation compensation. This is considered an extraordinary circumstance - that means it is beyond the airline’s control.
According to the EU Regulation 261/2004, in such cases, the airline does not owe you compensation. However, you are still entitled to a refund of your flight ticket.
Note that if airlines cancel flights because of economic reasons, it’s very likely for you to be entitled to compensation. We will also investigate whether Coronavirus is the real reason for cancelling the flight. Check your flights.
Why do some airlines use the coronavirus as a pretext to cancel flights?
Most airlines are genuinely cancelling flights to protect you, but some don’t play fair and might take advantage of all the chaos and panic these days. If they are wishing to cancel flights for economic reasons, they have an easy excuse: the coronavirus.
You can claim coronavirus flight cancellation compensation when:
- Airlines cancel flights for financial reasons
- There is no official travel warning for your destination country
For example, if it is not recommended to travel to certain regions in Italy, but an airline cancels a flight to regions outside of that list, then coronavirus is not the whole reason behind that decision.
Since more and more people have stopped travelling, airlines might cancel flights that are not fully booked to save money. If this happens, passengers could be entitled to compensation.
Can I book more flights right now?
More than 12 months have passed and the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing.
If you are looking to the future and are wondering whether to make any flight bookings right now, this will ease your mind: Almost all airlines are selling tickets without any change fees or cancellation penalties. If you have a change of heart, at least you can get a voucher to use later.
However, the situation is rapidly changing and so are airline and travel policies, so stay alert.
To summarize, you have the right to a refund if your flight gets cancelled, but you don’t necessarily have a right to a compensation. You can still check to see whether you’re eligible.
While you’re waiting to receive your coronavirus ticket refund, why not claim compensation for any past cancelled or delayed flights? Even if they were 3 years ago, you might still be eligible - so you might have 2 successful claims in one!
Check your flights - it’s quick, it doesn’t hurt, and you can only win.