Flight Cancellations due to Corona Virus Outbreak – Things to Know

The number of CoronaVirus cases is expected to go up and many are canceling their trips abroad. Most affected countries are also imposing restrictions on incoming travelers. Here’s, what should you know.

India has seen a sharp rise in CoronaVirus cases as of today (March 04th, 2020), as many members from an Italian group tour tested positive. There are more fresh cases being reported at one of Hyderabad’s IT company/building as I write this.

Trip cancellations due to CoronaVirus outbreak

For most trip cancellations due to the CoronaVirus outbreak, you are not eligible for a refund (unless publicly stated by the airline company) since it considered an epidemic.

If you have bought your tickets directly from the airline, you might be eligible for a refund or reticketing, but this is dependent on which airline you fly.

If you’re traveling via Emirates, you can request a refund here.

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Do travel insurance cover trip cancellation due to CoronaVirus?

No. Most travel insurance plans do not cover epidemics such as CoronaVirus and will not do a refund for trip cancellation unless you had opted for a “Cancel for Any Reason” coverage plan.

How to get refunds on trip cancellations due to CoronaVirus outbreak?

Your best bet is to talk to the customer support teams of the respected airline/agency you’ve booked tickets with.

Many companies have their own policies and take one-off decisions based on each case. So, if you have booked your tickets through an agent, make sure you contact them and explain your situation.

If you’ve bought your tickets via an airline directly, your chances of getting a refund is higher (not guaranteed) than an agency or a price comparison portal.

How to plan your trip amidst CoronaVirus outbreak

The first thing to do is to try and avoid your trip until the outbreak subsides or is in control.

If that is not possible, try and get a travel insurance plan along with your flight ticket that has a “Cancel for Any Reason” feature.

Not all travel insurance has the feature, so make sure you choose a plan after verifying whether or not it has the feature.

Here are some international travel insurance plans that offer “Cancel for Any reason” feature.

Don’t have travel insurance & Trip canceled – What to do?

So, if you don’t have a travel insurance plan and still want to cancel your trip – what are your options?

Most airlines treat this situation as a special one and might give refunds if you ask for it. So please don’t be shy.

Ask your agent/airline if they can refund your ticket. We’ve seen cases where airlines have taken a deviation from their usual rules and offered refunds considering the gravity of the situation.

If you’ve made hotel bookings, talk to them and see if they can offer refunds. Most top-rated hotels are giving refunds even going beyond their usual set of rules. But please ask them.

All the best!

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Mani Karthik

About the Author

Mani Karthik

Ex “NRI” and Founder of the “Back to India” movement. I share my experience about immigrating to USA here.