All the flights that have been suspended so far, and what airlines – including Ryanair, BA and easyJet – are offering in terms of refunds
As coronavirus continues to sweep the world, the travel industry has been dealt a particularly hard blow. Airlines especially, already operating on tight profit margins, have been forced to cancel hundreds of flights thanks to a plunge in demand.
The good news for travellers is that many leading carriers – BA and Virgin among them – are now waiving their flight change fees so that passengers can rebook at no extra cost. Budget airlines in the US are following suit, but in the UK, Ryanair and easyJet are yet to announce a similar policy.
Read on for more information on which airlines have cancelled flights, what their re-booking rules say, and where to find the most up to date announcements.
BA has cancelled all flights to and from Beijing and Shanghai until at least April 17. In response to a drop in demand, the airline has also suspended more than 200 flights between March 16 to 28. Affected routes include departures from London to New York, France, Austria, Belgium, Germany and Ireland.
As for northern Italy, the hardest hit region in Europe, it is allowing customers booked to travel between now and March 15 to change their dates up to April 3. This applies to the following airports: Milan (Linate and Malpensa), Turin, Bologna, Venice, Bergamo and Verona.
Elsewhere, BA has scrapped the flight change fee on all new bookings made from March 3-16. You can move your holiday to any date with the next 12 months, though you’ll still have to pay any fare difference.
“We’ll do everything we can to help customers affected,” it states. “We continue to liaise closely with global health authorities and government agencies on behalf of our customers.”
Virgin has suspended London Heathrow to Shanghai operations until April 19 and is operating an amended Heathrow–Hong Kong schedule. All other routes remain unaffected.
Like BA, it is also waiving flight change fees for bookings made between now and March 31, for travel up to and including September 30.
Tickets can be reissued up until the day before departure, but no refunds will be offered for cancelled flights.
- See here for the latest updates.
Europe’s largest low-cost carrier is cutting short-haul services to Italy by up to a quarter between March 17 and April 8 due to a major drop in demand.
Its boss Michael O’Leary stated this week: “There has been a notable drop in forward bookings towards the end of March, into early April. It makes sense to selectively prune our schedule to and from those airports where travel has been most affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.
“This is a time for calm. We will make sensible cuts to our schedules over the coming weeks to reflect weaker bookings, and changing travel patterns.”
Refunds will be given to affected passengers, but Ryanair has not announced any changes to its fare policy, so you’ll have to pay the penalty of between £35-£95 if you want to reschedule your flights.
- You can see if your pre-booked flights are affected using their online tool.
Like its rival Ryanair, easyJet has seen a tumble in demand and as such is suspending certain flights to and from Italy from March 13 until at least March 31.
“Customers are being contacted and moved onto flights operating on the same day or alternatively have been offered a full refund,” the airline said in a statement.
As with Ryanair, easyJet has made no announcement as to the waiving of flight change fees for unaffected passengers who wish to postpone their trips.
- Check for their latest updates here.
It’s business as usual for Tui, which has thus far cancelled no flights and is not offering special treatment for any existing bookings unless the FCO changes its travel restrictions in certain regions.
“All of our holidays are operating as normal,” it says. “In the event that we’re unable to operate your holiday as booked, we will contact you directly to discuss this. Normal terms and conditions for amendments and cancellations apply.”
The company is, however, planning a number of internal cost-cutting measures, including a reduction in admin budgets and a hiring freeze, so we may yet see changes to its flight operating schedule.
German’s flag carrier has cancelled flights to mainland China until April 24 and is reducing its Hong Kong service over the same time period.
Lufthansa says it will reduce the number of short and medium-haul flights within Europe by a quarter, but hasn’t announced which ones. It will only offer free re-booking or a refund for the flights it cancels. So you’ll still have to pay a fee to change your dates on flights that are still operating.
- You can see if your flight is affected here.
The world’s largest carrier (by revenue) is waiving change fees for passengers booked on trans-Pacific flights to Beijing, Shanghai and Incheon, South Korea and trans-Atlantic flights to Italy, until April 30. However, customers can’t suspend their booking beyond April 30. After that, change fees will be applied as normal.
- Check their page for updates.
The Finnish airline is cancelling flights to mainland China, South Korea and Milan, and will open talks with unions next week about temporary staff layoffs, the airline has said.
Finnair is cancelling all flights to mainland China until April 30, to Milan in northern Italy from March 9 to April 7, and to Seoul in South Korea from March 9 until April 16. It is also postponing its new Korean route to Busan by three months to July 1 and is reducing services to Hong Kong and Osaka in Japan.
If you have a Finnair ticket for travel between now and March 31, you can postpone your travel until June 30 2020 with no extra cost.
Qantas has suspended direct flights between China and Australia until May 24 but continues to run a reduced service to and from Hong Kong. The airline will only offer refunds or waive change fees in the event that travel restrictions come into force in countries that are refusing entry. If you were issued with a ticket to China before February 20 you will be entitled to a full refund.
Qantas today (March 4) cancelled one flight from Sydney to London after learning that a patient with coronavirus had been on one of their planes last month. The aircraft is currently undergoing a deep clean before returning to service.
- See here for its latest updates.
Air New Zealand
The carrier has suspended its services between Auckland and Shanghai, as well as Seoul, and reduced services to and from Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore and Taipei.
Air New Zealand is waiving the penalty fee for all new international bookings ticketed from March 5 to 31. You’ll still have to pay the fare difference.
The national carrier is cancelling more than 30 flights to and from the US and Europe, including its London-Singapore route, which won’t operate again until at least May 31.
Other suspended routes across Europe include those to and from Paris, Milan, Frankfurt, Copenhagen and Dusseldorf.
Elsewhere in the world, it has cancelled services to China, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul that were scheduled to take place between now and May.
- You can find the full list of destinations and cancellation dates here.
Links to up-to-date flight suspensions for more carriers can be found below:
Some countries are currently banning non-nationals from entering, which will also affect certain flights.
As a result of the Israeli government’s new travel restrictions, for example, you won’t be permitted entry to Israel from Italy unless you have an Israeli passport. In Jordan, the same restrictions apply for non-Jordanians who have visited Italy, China, South Korea and Iran in the last 14 days.
Always check the FCO’s directory for the latest advice before booking your travel.
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