Airlines Travel Waiver Policy Due COVID-19: Ultimate Flight Cancellation and Refund Guide
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Airlines Travel Waiver Policy Due COVID-19: Ultimate Flight Cancellation and Refund Guide

Kenneth Fong
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If you’re reading this article, chances are, you probably have or had travel plans lined up.

But with quarantine measures, lockdowns, and travel advisories being announced worldwide.

You’ve decided that it’s wiser to either cancel or delay your travel plans.

SpongeBob In Fry Cook Hat Trying Not To Cry
Source: SpongeBob SquarePants | Giphy

I know.

It sucks.

And nobody expected the WHO to declare this COVID-19 a pandemic.

But more importantly, will the airlines or online travel agents (OTAs) agree to refund you if you choose to cancel your flight?

Or will you have to forfeit your hard-earned money?

Can you choose to rebook your flights to a later date instead?

And will you need to pay any rebooking fees?

As always, I gotchu fam.


TL;DR: Will My Airline Refund Me for Flight Cancellations Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic?

The short answer is yes – but only if certain airlines travel waiver policy conditions are met.

Also, it’s usually best to request a refund through the airlines first before using your travel insurance.

As most travel insurance will ask you to do so before claiming from them.

For Tickets Booked Directly From Airlines

Here’s a look at the airlines travel waiver policies regarding COVID-19 related rebooking, refunds, and cancellations:

Airlines Travel Waiver PolicyWhat Can I Get?For Bookings MadeFor TravelHow To Make The RequestFor Latest UpdatesContact
AirAsiaChange fee waived to rebook ONE-TIME on same route within 180 calendar days

OR

Retain value of fare as credit in AirAsia BIG Loyalty account

To redeem for booking within 365 calendar days from issuance date
To/from Malaysia:
Before 16 Mar 2020
On or before 30 Apr 2020To rebook or credit to your BIG account:

Select "COVID-19" from AVA (AirAsia Virtual Allstar), select either "Move Flight" or "Credit Account" and follow the instructions
COVID-19 Guide
To/from Australia:
Before 7 Mar 2020
To/from China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea:
Before 7 Mar 2020
Air FranceChange fees waived to rebook to later date

Travel date by 30 Sep 2020
Up to 31 May 2020Manage My BookingsCOVID-19: Adjusting Your Travel PlansCall:
+65 6415 5111
Refund via travel voucher due flight cancellation

Valid for one year on all Air France, Delta, KLM, and Virgin Atlantic flights
Ticket Refunds
All Nippon Airways
(ANA)
Cancellation charge waived on refunds for applicable flights

Request to be made up to 1 year and 30 days from travel start date

OR

Rebooking charge waived for ONE-TIME change to new boarding date

Travel date on/before 30 Jun 2020
To/from Japan:
Tickets issued by 28 Feb 2020
To/from Japan:
From 28 Feb to 3 Apr 2020
Tickets purchased directly from ANA (website, reservation or airport counter) can View Reservations to request for ticket refunds or change of boarding date

Tickets purchased through travel agencies or other airlines, please contact the agency or airline which you purchased the tickets
Special Handling of International Air Tickets due to COVID-19Call:
800-8102-448

Online Form:
ANA Mileage Club Members

Non-ANA Mileage Club Members
To/from China:
Tickets issued by 26 Feb 2020

Note: including Hong Kong & Macau
To/from Wuhan:
From 21 Jan to 30 Apr 2020

To/from Mainland China (less Wuhan):
From 24 Jan to 30 Apr 2020

To/from Hong Kong & Macau:
From 30 Jan to 30 Apr 2020
To/from South Korea:
Tickets issued by 6 Mar 2020
To/from South Korea:
From 26 Feb to 30 Apr 2020
To/from Italy:
Tickets issued by 9 Mar 2020
To/from Italy:
From 1 Mar to 30 Apr 2020
To/from India:
Tickets issued by 26 Feb 2020
To/from India:
From 21 Feb to Apr 30
British AirwaysCancel your booking and receive a voucher to be used within 12 months of original date of departure

Fare difference may apply
From 14 Mar 2020
(date inclusive)
To 31 May 2020
(date inclusive)
Get your Future Travel VoucherCoronavirus (COVID-19)Call:
+65 6622 1747
Change fee waived for ONE-TIME rebooking with same origin and destination

Travel date up to 12 months from original booking date

Fare difference may apply
Visit Manage My Booking to choose the new dates which suit you best
Cathay PacificCancel flight for refundOn or before 17 Mar 2020Up to 31 May 2020Manage bookingCOVID-19 Travel RestrictionsCall:
800 101 4009
Rebook or reroute travel on/before 10 Dec 2020Call Global Contact Centre
EmiratesTravel voucher for ticket value with 12 months validity from date of issueTickets issued on or before 31 Mar 2020Up to 31 May 2020Through Travel Voucher/Refund webpage

If you booked with a travel agent, you are advised to contact them for refund.
Response to COVID-19 OutbreakCall:
+65 6622 1770
Refund as per fare rules
Change fee waived

Fare difference may apply
Through Change your Emirates flight

If you booked with a travel agent, you are advised to contact them for rebooking.
Etihad AirwaysConvert booking to Etihad credit

Book by 30 Sep 2020 for travel until 31 Dec 2020

Fare difference may apply
Up to 30 Jun 2020Get Etihad CreditCOVID-19 Travel UpdatesCall:
+65 6818 5555
Rebooking fee waived ONE-TIME to later travel date

Travel date up to 30 Jun 2020
Change your flight
Refund only for routes (Chengdu, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Nagoya, Milan, Rome, Baku, Khartoum, Cairo, Geneva, Nairobi, Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam, Medina, Beirut, Istanbul, Amman, Barcelona, Madrid, Belgrade, Casablanca, and Rabat) with extended period of cancellationRequest refund
Japan AirlinesRefund with no fees for travel within 1 year and 30 days

OR

Rebooking fee waived ONCE to another date on/before 30 Jun 2020
Tickets issued on/before 28 Feb 2020Between 28 Feb to 19 Mar 2020Through call centreTravel Alert - Special Handling for Tickets Regarding the Novel CoronavirusCall:
800-852-6432
Tickets issued on/before 6 Mar 2020Between 20 Mar to 5 Apr 2020
Tickets issued on/before Between 6 to 30 Apr 2020
Jetstar Asia AirwaysCancel bookings and receive a credit voucher

To redeem within 6 months of issue, for travel within 12 months of the booking date

Fare difference may apply
On or before 15 Mar 2020On or before 30 Apr 2020

Note: for passengers travelling between Singapore and Darwin, the offer is available until 31 Mar to travel between 15 Mar and 31 May 2020 (inclusive)
Visit Manage My Booking and follow these steps:

Enter booking number and last name

Click on 'find out more' button

Select 'check flight options' button

Click 'view other options' button

Select 'request reimbursement'

Note: if your flights were booked through a travel agency or third-party website, you can also request through Manage My Booking
Travel AlertsOnline Chat (24/7)
Korean AirRefund penalty waivedUp to 30 Jun 2020Visit Korean Air Website
[Log-in - My Trips - Cancel Reservation/Refund]
Ticket Change/Refund GuidelineCall:
+65 6796 2001
Reissue penalty waived ONCE for rebooking to later date

Fare difference may apply
Contact Service Centre
Lufthansa
(includes Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, SWISS)
Rebooking fee waived to rebook to new date of travel

Travel date by 31 Dec 2020
Tickets issued on or before 5 Mar 2020Up to 30 Apr 2020Visit Lufthansa webpage to rebookAbout the CoronavirusCall:
+65 6245 5600
Cancel without rebooking immediately

Book by 1 Jun 2020 and travel by 31 Dec 2020
Contact Service Centre
Malaysia AirlinesPassengers denied check-in if they do not meet the country's Travel Restrictions:

Rebooking ONE-TIME fare difference waived

Travel date before 31 Dec 2020
As per respective countries' travel restriction datesTickets purchased directly from Malaysia Airlines can use
Assistance Request Form

Tickets purchased from a travel agency or through another airline, please get in touch with them directly.
Important Notice to PassengersCall:
+603 7843 3000

Online form:
Assistance Request Form
Passengers denied check-in if they do not meet the country's Travel Restrictions:

Refund full value of booking or retain ticket value as credit for future travel

Cancellation fees waived for partially used and totally un-used tickets
Ultimate Flexibility Ticket:

Rebooking ONE-TIME fare difference waived

Travel date before 31 Dec 2020
Tickets issued on or before 31 Mar 2020
QantasFlight credit for cancelled flights

Can be redeemed up till 30 Sep 2020 or 12 months from date of ticket issuance

Change fee will be waived for rebooking

Fare difference may apply
Up to 31 May 2020Go to Manage Booking

Enter booking reference and last name

Click 'Continue'

Scroll down to 'Flight' to see booking

Select 'Cancel/Voucher'

'Accept' the T&Cs
Coronavirus Travel UpdateCall:
+65 6415 7373
Qatar AirwaysTravel voucher for ticket value with 12 months validity from date of issue from issuance date

Cancellation penalties waived

Can do so up to 3 days prior to departure
Tickets issued anytime until 30 Jun 2020Up to 30 Jun 2020Tickets booked direct from Qatar, can call to rebook or exchange for future travel voucher

Tickets booked through trael agent, contact agent to amend booking or exchange for future travel voucher
Latest UpdatesCall:
974 4023 0000
Change fee waived to rebook to later travel date
ScootUpdate on 9 Apr 2020
100% refund via original method of payment

OR

120% refund in Scoot vouchers
(valid for 12 months)
On or before 15 Mar 202023 Jan to 31 May 2020Visit Manage My Booking

Note: Customers who booked flights through third-party booking channels or travel agencies are advised to contact the relevant channel or agents for assistance.
AnnouncementsCall:
+65 3138 4047 or +65 3157 6434

Online Form:
Submit a Request
Change fee waived to re-route to another Scoot destination

Travel date up to 31 Aug 2020

Fare difference may apply
From 23 Jan to 31 May 2020Visit Manage My Booking

Contact Facebook page

Contact Weibo page

Call +65 3138 4047 or +65 3157 6434

Note: w.e.f. 17 Mar 2020, the call centre based in Philippines will suspend operations
Change fee waived to rebook to later travel date (same origin & destination)

Travel date up to 27 Mar 2021
Singapore AirlinesCancel existing itinerary, retain value of ticket, and rebook at later date

Travel date up to 31 Mar 2021

Fare difference may apply
On or before 15 Mar 2020Up to 31 May 2020Contact via online form

Customers travelling within the next 72 hours, contact Singapore Airlines Reservations Office

Customers who booked tickets directly through Singapore Airlines can contact local Singapore Airlines reservations office

Note: Customers who booked their tickets through travel agencies are advised to contact their agents for assistance
Travel Advisories and Waiver PoliciesCall:
+65 6223 888

Email: [email protected]
Rebooking fee waived to rebook to later travel date (same origin & destination)

Travel date up to 31 Mar 2021

Fare difference may apply
SilkAirChange fee waived to re-book to later date

Travel date up to 31 Mar 2021

Fare difference may apply
Tickets issued from now to 31 Mar 2020
Thai AirwaysCharge fees waived for rebooking to later date

Travel date between 11 Mar to 15 Dec 2020

Fare difference may apply
On or after 28 Jan 2020Up to 30 Apr 2020Contact Reservations team via emailThai Airways MainpageCall:
+65 6210 5000

Email:
[email protected]

Note: this list is not exhaustive, I’ve only curated airlines which most Singaporeans would travel by

A couple of things to note about airlines travel waiver policies:

  • Rebooking, cancellation, refund fees and charges are usually waived for flights affected by COVID-19
  • Rebooking usually involves calling the service centre or hotline to get it processed
  • Refunds are a little more straightforward and can be done through ‘Manage Booking’ or a dedicated self-serve portal
  • For tickets not purchased through the airlines (eg. travel agents), you’ll usually need to approach the agent for rebooking, cancellation, and refunds

For Tickets Booked From Online Travel Agents (OTAs)

In general, OTA’s abide by their partners’ policies.

However, online changes and cancellations will have to be processed through them instead of the airlines directly.

OTA Management of Airlines Travel Waiver PolicyWhat Can I Get?In Accordance WithHow To Make The RequestAdditional NotesFor Latest UpdatesContact
AgodaFree cancellationAirlines Travel Waiver PolicyLog in to your account

Select 'My bookings'

Select 'Edit booking'

Check 'Booking conditions' section
Update on COVID-19Call:
+65 6329 7537
Booking.comRebook flightsLog in to your account and check if travel dates are eligible

This will also tell you if penalty fees are imposed or not if you choose to rebook or request for a refund
Log in to your account to access
Refund flights
ExpediaRebook flightsSelect airline from menu to see if a policy has been issued to waive change and cancellation fees due to COVID-19

Prepare potential dates for rebooking your travel according to the airline's policy coverage

Call Expedia to rebook
For low-cost airlines

Expedia cannot make changes or cancel bookings with low-cost airlines

To change or cancel your flight contact the airlines direct

If your package includes a low-cost flight, change your flight directly with the airline first, then call Expedia to change the rest of the package booking.
Coronavirus DiseaseCall:
+65 6415 5555
Refund flightsSelect airline from menu to see if a policy has been issued to waive change and cancellation fees due to COVID-19
TravelokaRefund flightsLog in to your account and go to 'My Booking'

Find your flight and select 'Refund'

Choose 'Force Majeure' as the refund reason
Updates on Coronavirus OutbreakCall:
+65 6486 7945 or +65 6911 8138

Email:
[email protected]
Reschedule flightsLog in to your account and go to 'My Booking'

Find your flight and select 'Reschedule'

Follow the instructions
Trip.comRebook flightsLog in to your account and check if travel dates are eligible

This will also tell you if penalty fees are imposed or not if you choose to rebook or request for a refund
Safeguard Cancellation GuaranteeTrip.com NewsCall:
+65 6818 2868

Email:
[email protected]
Refund flights
SkyscannerRebook flightsBooked from partner

Get help from the provider
Coronavirus UpdatesOnline Form:
Contact us
Refund flightsBooked with Skyscanner

Find my Skyscanner booking

Can I Still Claim a Refund If I’ve Used Part of My Flight?

Let’s say you’re travelling from Singapore to Tokyo, Japan.

And your first leg is a stopover in Taipei.

Will the airline still refund you for a partially used ticket?

In most cases, yes.

But only for the unused itinerary of your flight ticket.

Especially if it’s due to travel restrictions or cancellations implemented by the destination country.

However, if you’ve already made it to Tokyo and find yourself facing travel restrictions that do not allow you to enter the country…

Chances are, you won’t be able to ask for a refund since the flight has already been completed.

If you’re unsure, always check with the airlines for their most updated travel waiver policy to see what you can or cannot do.

So… Is It Still Safe to Fly?

SpongeBob SquarePants Nervous Sweating
Source: SpongeBob SquarePants | Giphy

Most airlines have issued notices assuring passengers that the cleanliness of their aircraft is of the utmost importance.

Many have made reviews and changes to their cleaning programmes including:

  • Increasing cleaning and audit inspections
  • Using disinfectant and sanitisers after every flight to clean hard surfaces in cabins and lavatories
  • Fitting cabins with HEPA filters to remove particulate and bacterial contamination

So if you HAVE to fly, it is still safe to do so.

That being said, most governments and companies have issued statements recommending people to delay non-essential travel.

In fact, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has advised Singaporeans to defer all travel abroad.

FYI: all Singaporeans, permanent residents, long-term pass holders and short-term visitors entering Singapore from 20 Mar 2020, 11:59pm onwards, will be issued a 14-day stay-home notice (SHN).

Meaning if you don’t need to travel now… then just wait lah

Did You Manage to Get A Travel Refund?

Seedly Community Travel Refund

If you’ve managed to get a travel refund because of COVID-19, why not share your experience with the Seedly Community?

This way you can help your fellow travellers make the right decision and hopefully be able to help them save some money on their flight bookings!

Help a fellow traveller!

About Kenneth Fong
Owner of a 4-room HDB BTO and married to a financial clutz. Probably the closest to an adult you can find on the Seedly team.
You can contribute your thoughts like Kenneth Fong here.

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