Coronavirus Outbreak: Flight Compensation Guide

Did you have any travel plans for the first half of 2020?

Since the coronavirus outbreak around the world, many flights have been cancelled. And not only flights to Italy or China.

Airline customers and employees are equally frustrated. Luckily, a lot of airlines are being flexible and already 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.


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Coronavirus and Flights: Current Situation

Here is the list of airlines who have cancelled flights and introduced change of policies so far in alphabetical order:

Aeroflot Etihad Pakistan International Airlines
Aer Lingus Ethiopian Airlines Peach Aviation
Aeroflot Russian Airlines Eurowings Pegasus Airlines
AirAsia EVA Air and UNI Air Philippine Airlines
Air Arabia Finnair Qantas and Jetstar
Air Astana Fly Baghdad Qatar Airlines
Air Busan FlyDubai Qeshm Air
Air Canada Frontier Royal Air Maroc
Air Dolomiti Garuda Indonesia Royal Jordanian
Air Europa Gulf Air Ryanair
Air France Hawaiian Airlines SalamAir
Air India Japan Airlines SAS
Air New Zealand Jazeera Airways Scandinavian Airlines
Air Seoul Jetstar Airways Scoot
Alaska Air Jin Air Singapore Airlines and SilkAir
Alitalia Iberia Smartwings
All Nippon Airways Icelandair Southwest Airlines
American Airlines Iran Air Sun Country Air
Asiana Airlines Iran Airtour Swiss International Air Lines
ATA Airlines Iran Aseman Air S7 Airlines
Austrian Airlines Iraqi Airways Taban Airl
Bamboo Airways Jet Blue Airways TAP Airl Portugal
British Airways Kish Air Thai AirAsia
Bulgaria Air KLM Thai Airways
Brussels Airlines Korean Air Tigerair Taiwan
Cabo Verde Airlines Kuwait Airways Turkish Airlines and AnadoluJet
Caspian Airlines Lao Airlines T’Way Air
Cathay Pacific LATAM Airlines United Airlines
Cebu Pacific Air Lauda Uzbekistan Airways
China Airlines LOT Polish Airlines VietJet Air
CSA Czech Airlines Lufthansa Group Vietnam Airlines
Delta Air Lines Mahan Air Virgin Atlantic Airways
Eastar Jet MIAT Mongolian Airlines Vistara
Easy Jet Neos Wizz Air
El AI Israel Airlines Norwegian Air Yakutia
Emirates Oman 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, 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. 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 reasontravel 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.

Most travel providers are offering a refund for China, South Korea, Iran and Italy, which are the most affected so far. That’s the case especially if you bought tickets before March. If you plan to travel in May or later, it is yet to be seen how the situation will develop. A good option is to pay a change fee to reschedule your flight for another date or destination. At least you won’t lose everything.

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 has 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.

 

Will I get coronavirus cancelled flight compensation?

If the reason for your cancelled flight is the coronavirus, you won’t get a cancellation compensation. The cancellation reason “Coronavirus outbreak” is considered an extraordinary circumstance - that means it is beyond the airline’s control. According to the EU Reg. 261/2004, in such cases, the airline does not owe you compensation.

A black leather wallet on a table with money sticking out.

However, 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 flight.

Check Compensation

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.

Claim Compensation

Can I book more flights right now?

If you are looking to the future and are wondering whether to book any flights 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’ll get a voucher.

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.

Stay safe!