Coronavirus: Airlines offer flexibility to anxious passengers

As the coronavirus outbreak has spread, global travel has become a topic of concern. Airlines have responded by suspending travel to various destinations through the early year, and many large conferences and gatherings around the world have been cancelled altogether amid a steady rise in new infections.

To help quell travellers’ worries, airlines have begun changing their policies to create flexibility in bookings. If you’re planning — or have already scheduled — a trip for the near future, here are your options.


The budget carrier has opened up some flexibility to passengers travelling via areas affected by the virus. Passengers with flights departing between January 24 and March 31, who no longer wish to travel, are invited to rebook onto a future Jetstar service or cancel their tickets for a full refund. Cancellation and rebooking fees will not be charged. Although Jetstar does not operate flights to mainland China from Australia or New Zealand, Jetstar Asia and Jetstar Japan have itineraries that connect via that country.

Air New Zealand

Passengers with tickets on suspended flights to – or via – mainland China can claim a full refund or defer travel for up to 12 months. You should contact the airline directly if the ticket was issued by Air New Zealand (the ticket number will begin with 086). For tickets issued by other providers, passengers are told to contact their original booking agent.
The airline also says that online check in may not be available for international flights, due to extra health screenings, and passengers should allow extra time at airports.

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