As holidaymakers reshuffle their 2020 vacation plans in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Qatar Airways has promised a flexible new flight change policy that could keep travellers from cancelling their plans.

The airline is now allowing free unlimited date changes as well as the ability to swap to a new destination as long as it’s within 5000 miles of the original, making it one of the most generous rebooking policies in the industry. There are some restrictions: travellers must wait two weeks after booking to make changes, and the itinerary must go via Doha, Qatar Airways’ hub, which has been ranked the third best airport in the world. Bookings must be made by 30 September for flights departing by 31 December 2020.

Qatar Airways promises new flight change policy
Qatar Airways pledges flexible flight change policy © Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Fliers can also swap tickets for airline miles or travel vouchers with an added 10% value, which are valid for two years. 

This policy could provide Qatar Airways with some much-needed cash flow as the number of fliers has plummeted, and travellers might be able to snag cheap fares over major travel holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas at a steep discount. 

Airlines are itching to get back in the skies, and Qatar Airways has said that 52 of its international routes will return by the end of the month, with 28 more routes back by the end of June. Whether borders and airports will be open and travellers will be willing remains a question mark.

Lockdowns are easing globally as the planet adjusts to a new normal. Find out how COVID-19 is changing travel.

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