Coronavirus flights: Airlines wipe cancellation fees as virus fear rises among passengers

Popular airlines British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have both announced they will be waiving their usual cancellation fee for passengers who decide they no longer want to travel amid the coronavirus outbreak.


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Though many airlines have cancelled flights due to FCO recommendations or lack of demand, there are journeys still going ahead.

With the coronavirus now in 81 countries worldwide, travellers may be fearful of embarking on their planned holiday due to fear of contracting the illness.

Those who choose not to travel for this reason would usually lose out on the cost of their flight- their travel insurance policy would also not cover this situation.

However, BA and Virgin Atlantic have offered a comprise for passengers who don’t want to travel to areas where an FCO advisory is not in place.

British Airways has unveiled its “book with confidence” policy for customers who book within the next two weeks.

The policy will waive cancellation fees, or offer the option of booking onto an alternative route free of charge.

However, customers who book onto a flight with a higher ticket price will still be required to pay the difference.

Andrew Brem, British Airways’ chief commercial officer, said: “As some customers may choose to change or delay their travel plans at the moment, it’s important we offer them greater flexibility.

“By waiving our change fee, our customers can have the added confidence to book a trip with British Airways that suits them.”

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Virgin Atlantic has also followed suit, waiving its “change” fees until the end of March,

That means if passengers decide they want to change their flight date they are able to do so for free.

The offer is available for all tickets booked between March 4 and March 13 and is valid on all routes up until September 30 2020.

The policy will also be applicable on all codeshare tickets across Virgin’s network – these include routes with airlines such as Delta, Air France and KLM.


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Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer, Virgin Atlantic, said: “We understand that with evolving travel advice, some of our customers may wish to build in some flexibility to upcoming travel plans.

“Putting our customers first, this new policy enables them to continue with their Virgin Atlantic booking this month, with the peace of mind that there is the option to change their flight at a later date, without incurring a fee.”

However, unlike the British Airways change it is only applicable to date changes and now for those who want to cancel their flight.

Many airlines worldwide have also pulled flights due to the rapidly spreading COVID-19.

British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair have all cancelled routes to heavily impacted regions.

British Airways has cancelled a number of flights from the UK due to a drop in demand, with routes including JFK, Italy, France, Austria, Belgium and Germany.

Ryanair also confirmed it will cut 25 percent of flights in and out of Italy.

The airlines have said they will be contacting all affected passengers.


easyJet has said it will be grounding a selection of flights, mainly to and from Italy, from 13 March until 31 March.

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