Will my airline give me a refund due to the coronavirus?

As countries temporarily close their borders amid the COVID-19 pandemic and impose lockdowns and travel bans, airlines have responded by introducing more flexible policies to help customers who need to postpone or cancel trips.

Female passenger wearing a face mask in front of an airport departures screen
Airlines are introducing more flexible rebooking policies in response to the coronavirus pandemic ©Alex Kraus/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Air Canada

Air Canada is waiving cancellation fees flights booked before 4 March for travel scheduled to take place before 30 April, 2020. Customers can apply for credit of the same value that can be used towards travel before 31 December, 2020. Flights booked after 4 March can be cancelled up to two hours before scheduled departure, for free. Again, customers can apply for credit of the same value for travel before 31 December, 2020. See here for more information.

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Alaska Airlines

Tickets purchased before 26 February for travel between 9 March and 30 April can be rebooked without a change fee for travel up to 28 February, 2021. Tickets purchased between 27 February and 31 March can also be rebooked without a travel fee for travel up to 28 February, 2021. Fare differences apply. See here for more information.

Aer Lingus

Ireland's flag carrier has extended its change policy to cover existing bookings, as well as new bookings. Under the new policy, online bookings made before 6 March and valid for travel up to 30 May, 2020 will not be subject to change fees. If your flight has been cancelled, you can apply here for a full refund. See here for more information.

Air France

All bookings made for travel through 31 May, can be changed free of charge up until 30 September, 2020. The new travel date must begin no later than on or before 30 November, 2020. Fare difference will apply if the same booking class is no longer available. Customers whose flights have been cancelled can apply for a full refund. See here for more information.

Alitalia 

Customers are invited to modify their bookings before 31 May, 2020. Passengers who purchased a ticket on or before 3 April for travel between 23 February and 31 May, can request by 31 May a change of date by 31 December, or a refund with a voucher for the same amount, valid for one year. Passengers whose flights have been cancelled can apply for a full refund. See here for more information.

All Nippon Airways

ANA is offering free cancellations and one-time changes on flights to and from Japan, China, South Korea, and cities in Northern Italy under lockdown, for travel through 30 April, 2020. Customers must rebook a new travel date before 30 June, 2020. See here for more information.

American Airlines

American Airlines announced that it would waive change fees for customers who purchased tickets before 1 March for travel through 30 April. The offer is available on any of American's fares and customers have until 31 December, though they must pay fare differences. The airline is also offering changes and refunds for any flights to Italy or South Korea purchased on or before 24 February 2020; on Hong Kong tickets purchased before 28 January 2020 and on China tickets purchased before 24 January 2020. See here for more information.

A timetable displays cancelled flights at Milan's Linate airport ©Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images
A timetable displays cancelled flights at Milan's Linate airport ©Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images

British Airways

British Airways is waiving rebooking and cancellation fees for anyone due to travel before 31 May, 2020. Customers can cancel their booking and receive travel credit for the same value. Flights must be rebooked up to 12 months from the original flight date. See here for more information.

Cathay Pacific

The Hong Kong-based carrier is waiving rebooking, re-routing and cancellation fees. Tickets purchased on or before 23 March for travel up to 31 May, 2020 can be rebooked or re-routed for travel on/before 10 December 2020. See here for more information.

Delta Air Lines

Delta is waiving change fees for travel to both domestic and international destinations for all tickets issued in March or April for travel through 30 June, 2020. Customers can rebook these tickets for travel until 31 December, 2020. Fare differences apply. See here for more information.

EasyJet

The British low-cost airline says it will allow customers to make a one-time change on both new and existing tickets without incurring a change fee. Travel timeframes have not been specified. See here for more information.

Emirates

The Dubai-based airline's policy has changed a number of times in the past week leading to confusion among passengers. As of Tuesday 24 March, the airline is suspending most passenger flights and offering customers the chance to swap their bookings for travel credit of the same value. The travel vouchers will be valid for up to a year. See here for more information.

Etihad

As of Tuesday 24 March, the airline said its grounding all passengers flights in and out of the UAE from Wednesday for two weeks. Passengers scheduled to fly within the next two weeks are advised to complete an online travel voucher request form. While passengers scheduled to fly before 30 June, 2020 will be offered a one-time change to their booking, free of charge. This allows them to exchange their booking for travel credit of the same value to be booked before 30 September and used for travel up until 30 April, 2021. See here for more information.

Empty Delta Airlines check-in desk at Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport
Empty Delta Airlines check-in desk at Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport ©Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images

Iberia

Passengers can exchange their existing ticket (booked before 11 March and valid for travel between 1 March and 30 April, 2020) to any destination for travel credit of the same amount, if all the conditions are met. The credit is valid for travel up to 31 December, 2020 but some black out dates apply. Tickets can be exchanged here if they were purchased online. Passengers can also apply for travel credit. See here for more information.

JetBlue

JetBlue is waiving cancellation and change fees for all flights for travel through 30 April 2020, regardless of when customers purchased their tickets. Cancellation and change fees will also be waived for travel through 1 June, if tickets were purchased between 27 February and 5 March. And, there are no change or cancellation fees on new flights booked between 6 and 31 March, for travel through 8 September 2020. See here for more information.

Qantas and Jetstar

With Australia closing its borders, Qantas and Jetstar have announced all international flights will be grounded until at least 31 May, 2020. Bookings on cancelled flights will be transferred to travel credit. Anyone travelling before the end of May can transfer the value of their flight to flight credit which may be redeemed up until 30 September, 2020, or 12 months from the original date of ticket issue. The airline says all affected customers will be contacted by the airline directly from Monday, 23 March. See here for more information.

Qatar Airlines

Passengers on domestic and international flights for travel through 30 June, 2020 can apply to reschedule or exchange their booking for credit that's valid for travel up to 12 months after the original booking date. See here for more information.

Korean Air

The airline is waiving change fees for flights booked on or before 1 March, 2020 between North America and Korea, including flights with a stopover in Korea. New tickets must be rebooked before 30 June, 2020. The airline is also offering similar policies for travellers in Southeast Asia, and for passengers with entry restrictions or denied boarding due to Covid-19. See here for more information.

KLM

KLM is waiving change fees on all tickets. Customers can rebook tickets or apply for travel credit at no extra cost, though fare differences apply. Customers whose flight has been cancelled will receive a refund. See here for more information.

Empty Lufthansa counters are seen at the airport in Frankfurt am Main
Empty Lufthansa counters are seen at the airport in Frankfurt am Main, as US President Donald Trump announced a shock 30-day ban on travel from mainland Europe ©Daniel Roland/AFP/Getty Images

Lufthansa

The German airline says existing bookings can be rebooked up until 31 August, free of charge, for travel up to 31 December, 2020. Fare differences apply but customers will receive a €50 discount for rebooking, though some conditions apply. See here for more information.

Ryanair

On 24 March, Ryanair announced that it is grounding all flights in April and May and has offered its aircraft to European governments for rescue flights and the transport of medical supplies. Passengers whose flights have been cancelled or rescheduled by the airline should receive an email or SMS from Ryanair with the option to request a refund, rebook or re-route their journey. See here for more information.

SAS

Customers whose flights have been cancelled can apply for a refund. Those with tickets for travel through 31 March and whose flights have not been cancelled can apply for a voucher if they no longer wish to travel. See here for more information. 

Singapore Airlines and Silk Air

Singapore Airlines and its sister carrier Silk Air are waiving change fees for all tickets issued on or before 15 March 2020, for travel up to 31 May 2020. Fare differences apply. See here for more information.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest is renowned for having one of the most generous change and cancellation policies in the industry. As long as customers change their ticket 10 minutes before flight time, they can still rebook their flight or have it refunded into travel credit. Fare difference applies. See here for more information.

United Airlines

Customers scheduled to travel between now and 31 May can change their flights without incurring extra chargers (apart from the fare difference). See here for more information.

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin is waiving its change fees for flights booked before 4 March, for travel between 1 March and 30 April, 2020. Flights can be rebooked between 9 March and 30 September, 2020. For bookings made between 1 and 31 March, flights can be rebooked between 2 March and 30 September, 2020. See here for more information.

If your airline isn't listed here, please check its official website. Most airlines now have dedicated Covid-19 travel pages, with details on updated cancellation, rebooking and re-routing policies. Airline customer support staff are experiencing a swell in calls and emails so please be patient. Only contact your airline if you purchased your ticket directly through them. For tickets issued by travel agencies, please contact the travel agency.

This article was first published on 12 March and updated on 24 March, 2020.

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