With uncertainty surrounding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation stateside, many U.S.-based carriers are relaxing ticket restrictions to give passengers a little peace of mind when booking flights for future travel. Flexible policies on flight cancellations and change fees have been applied to select tickets, and most airlines have temporarily waived fees on new itineraries. Here are all the major U.S. carriers’ current change and cancellation rules as they relate to travel during the ongoing COVID-19 situation.
All policies have the most up-to-date info as of: April 23, 2020.
To see if your upcoming travel has been affected click here for a full list of coronavirus flight suspensions by region and airline.
Coronavirus Waiver Policies by Airline:
- American Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- United Airlines
- Alaska Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Sun Country
- International Carriers
American Airlines has continued to expand on its initial change fee waiver to offer passengers more flexibility. Currently, any ticket (both domestic and international) purchased between March 1 and May 31, 2020, including restrictive Basic Economy tickets, will be granted a one-time change without incurring the standard $200 change fee.
American has broadened its waiver policy to include all itineraries purchased before April 7 with upcoming departure dates through September 30, 2020. Customers with previously issued tickets may now have their trips rebooked for travel through December 31, 2021, without paying any change fees. Changes to origin or destination are allowed and since bookings are only allowed 331 days in advance of travel, you may keep the value of your ticket as a credit and book travel dates in the future.
Itineraries may be changed online or by calling reservations, but keep in mind that although the change fee is waived, any difference in the fare price will apply.
AAdvantage awards are now included in the waiver policy, as long as they qualify for the above guidelines.
Delta Air Lines
For all domestic and international travel originally scheduled to depart through September 30, 2020, all change fees are waived, and you can rebook your trip to the same destination for travel departing before September 30, 2020, with no difference in fare applied. Trips rebooked to the same destination for travel departing between October 1, 2020, and September 22, 2022, no change fees will be assessed but a difference in fare may apply.
Delta has put forth a blanket waiver on all tickets (domestic and international) purchased between today and May 31, 2020, allowing for multiple alterations free of change fees. Tickets purchased during this travel window are permitted changes for up to a year from the original date of purchase.
In all instances, ticket changes can be made online under the My Trips section of Delta.com, a change fee may initially display, but after selecting the new travel dates, it will disappear on the checkout page. Like all other carriers, a fare difference may apply.
Travelers who have upcoming travel already booked or have existing eCredits or canceled travel through September 30, 2020, will now have over two years to redeem vouchers through September 30, 2022. Credits will be automatically extended, no action is needed.
SkyMiles award ticketed during this period are not clearly listed as part of the policy, but it has been widely reported miles will be redeposited free of charge if they fall into the listed guidelines above. For more information on travel regarding other affected regions, view Delta's policy here.
Customers can book confidently knowing that change fees on United flights will be waived for all itineraries purchased between March 3 and April 30, 2020, no matter the fare class. Tickets booked during this period are eligible for a one-time change to a flight of equal or lesser value valid over a period of one year from the original issue date of the ticket. For example, a ticket purchased on March 29, 2020, can be rescheduled through March 29, 2021. If the future flight is less in price, no residual value will be given; however, if the price is higher, customers will be required to pay the difference in cost.
Additionally, United has extended its waiver policy to include all itineraries purchased on or before March 2 with upcoming departure dates from today through December 31, 2020. Customers with previously issued tickets may now have their trips rebooked before December 31, 2020, or 24 months from the original ticket date, whichever is earlier. Change fees waived only if they make alterations to their trip before April 30, 2020. Travel must commence within 12 months of the originally scheduled issue date.
Customers who decide to cancel tickets booked in the listed purchase period can do so with no additional charges. Electronic certificates on United are now valid for 24 months from the date they were issued. This includes all currently valid electronic certificates and all new ones issued on or after April 1, 2020. More info can be found here.
It has now been reported that United is redepositing award tickets free of charge and taxes being refunded on most award tickets. Contacting United directly and asking them to waive redeposit fees is the best plan of action until exact guidelines are stated on the United site.
Pandemic or not, Southwest has never charged change or cancellation fees. Customers who would like to change a flight itinerary on Southwest are only liable for any fare difference. However, customers with travel through April 30, 2020, may now change their tickets without paying a fare difference as long as the new travel date is within 60 days of the original departure. Flights will simply display as "Available" when changing eligible travel dates. If you are changing eligible travel dates with no fare difference, make sure to first check the price to see if your new travel dates are cheaper than what you had originally booked. In this case, it could be beneficial to simply cancel your previous reservation and rebook the lower price with your travel bank as it's unclear if Southwest will just display lower fares as "Available" in this special circumstance.
If you opt to cancel your reservation altogether, Southwest will issue a credit to your “travel fund” for use on a future flight. Customers with funds that are set to expire or funds that have been created between March 1, 2020, and September 7, 2020, will have an expiration date of September 7, 2022. Travel funds may also be converted into Rapid Rewards points at the same rate you would be able to purchase a ticket with points today. More information about changes to travel funds and rapid reward point conversions can be viewed here.
After issuing the first fee waiver policy among major U.S. airlines, JetBlue has expanded its policy to passengers with existing itineraries with upcoming departures scheduled to commence through June 30, 2020, are now included in JetBlue's fee waiver program. Flights may be rebooked for travel through January 4, 2021.
Additionally, customers who purchased tickets between now and April 30, 2020, may cancel or change flights free of charge for travel through January 4, 2021. Tickets purchased between March 6 and March 26, 2020, can rebook through September 8, 2020.
Cancellations will be refunded in the form of a credit toward the passengers JetBlue's Travel Bank, and valid for two-years on future JetBlue travel. Refunds apply to all fares, even JetBlue's most restrictive Blue Basic fares and also JetBlue Vacation Packages booked with the carrier. Changed tickets will still be subject to the cost of the fare difference, and only one rebooking is permitted.
Flights purchased with TrueBlue points will be redeposited free of charge. However, taxes paid on award tickets will be credited to the customer's Travel Bank.
Alaska Airlines has revamped its initial “peace of mind” policy to include a larger travel window for all tickets purchased between February 27 and May 31, 2020. Select tickets purchased between those dates may cancel or change without a fee. New travel must be completed within one year of the original travel dates.
Customers holding an itinerary with upcoming travel through December 31, 2020, which was purchased before February 26, 2020, also qualify for Alaska's no change or cancellation fee policy.
However, the previous separate restrictions still apply to Saver Fares.
Saver Fares purchased before May 31, 2020, for travel through April 30, 2021, are only eligible to cancel and redeposit funds into Alaska's My Account wallet. Changes not permitted.
All other fares, including non-refundable First Class or Main fares booked before May 31, 2020, are entitled to a one-time date change at no extra cost (a fare difference may apply). Or free cancellation in which the value of the ticket will be deposited into a My Account travel wallet.
Mileage Plan award tickets qualify for Alaska's updated cancellation policy and will be refunded and redeposited free of charge.
Hawaiian Airlines policy allows for waived change fees for new flights purchased between March 1 and May 31, 2020. Itineraries purchased during the window are entitled to a one-time date change to a future flight beginning before December 31, 2020. A fare difference will be collected for the price of the new trip, and customers must contact Hawaiian at least 24-hours before departure for waived fees.
Customers with any existing booking made prior to March 9 with upcoming departure dates between today and May 31, 2020, are now included in Hawaiian most updated policy. Guests holding previously issued tickets may now have their trips rebooked for travel commencing no later than December 31, 2020.
Award flights ticketed with HawaiianMiles may be redeposited without any fees. Other location-specific information about fee waivers to Asia, French Polynesia, Australia, and New Zealand can be viewed here.
In the wake of other low-cost carriers introducing flexible travel policies, Spirit has released a program allowing customers that need to alter their travel plans a one-time free modification. Fare differences will apply, and the best method to make these changes is to call or text Spirit's Guest Care lines listed below:
- Call (801) 401-2222
- Text: 48763
- Text via WhatsApp to (801) 401-2222 with "Hello"
Customers wishing to cancel their trips altogether have the option to receive a reservation credit for the full value amount of their ticket. Credits are now valid for up to 12 months (formerly 6) from the issue date. If you were issued a 6-month credit it will be extended, no action is required.
Flights to select destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean served by Spirit have imposed travel restrictions on incoming passengers. If you have upcoming travel to Aruba, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama, Peru, or St. Maarten, view each country's travel restriction and code to contact Spirit about refunds or changes.
As a standard policy throughout the year, change fees are waived for Frontier passengers as long as they make alterations to their itineraries at least 60 days or more before departure. But amid concerns of the pandemic, travelers wishing to change travel plans immediately, Frontier has implemented increased flexibility to the current policy. Passengers with tickets issued prior to March 10, 2020, with upcoming travel scheduled between today and April 30, 2020, are granted a one-time change to their itinerary without incurring change or cancel fees.
Customers who booked tickets before April 15, 2020, will also qualify for the one-time waiver to change or cancel free of charge. It is not clear if tickets purchased after that date will fall under any free waiver policy.
On flight changes, travel must be completed before November 9, 2020, and will be subject to a price difference. If the flight is lower in price, no residual value will be returned to the customer. Passengers who prefer to cancel an itinerary will receive the full cost of the ticket to be used toward the purchase of another Frontier flight within 90 days of the cancellation. All changes must be made at least 24-hours before the flight's scheduled departure time, and the easiest way to make adjustments to tickets is by dialing Frontier directly at (801) 401-9000.
COVID-19 situation or not, Sun Country allows customers to change their trip reservation online free of charge as long as the departure date is 60 days out or more. However, due to the current situation, Sun Country will permit passengers with flights scheduled through May 31, 2020, to change or cancel tickets without fees. Flyers holding itineraries that qualify should call Sun Country directly at (651) 905-2737 between the hours of 6:00 am - 11:00 pm CDT, to make alternative travel plans. Passengers with international travel onboard Sun Country should view this page to view location-specific information about final flight operations and border closings.
There are no set waiver dates listed by Allegiant regarding which tickets may be changed or canceled, just simply that customers are allowed a one-time change without incurring additional fees. Passengers who wish to make changes to existing reservations are asked to call Allegiant's Customer Care Center (702) 505-8888, email, or reach out via Twitter or Facebook; further instructions can be read here.
Coronavirus Waiver Policies on International Carriers
- Aer Lingus
- Air Canada
- Air France
- Air New Zealand
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Copa Airlines
- El Al
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
- Korean Air
- LOT Polish Airlines
- Norwegian Air
- Porter Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- TAP Air Portugal
- Turkish Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
Those who are traveling in the near future can monitor the spread of COVID-19 in real-time using this map provided by the World Health Organization.
This post will be continually updated, so check back routinely and follow us on Twitter @airfarewatchdog for the most up-to-date information regarding flight waivers and policies.