Cancellation Policies For U.S. Airlines Amid The Coronavirus Pandemic

Caroline Bologna
Planes parked at the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville on Tuesday. (David McNew via Getty Images)

If you made travel plans for the coming months, odds are you’re rethinking them as the COVID-19 pandemic escalates. 

Airline customer service lines have been overwhelmed with phone calls from travelers looking to change or cancel flights. Many are asking passengers to wait to call until 48 to 72 hours before the scheduled departure in order to manage volume and prioritize those with imminent travel. 

Different carriers are taking different approaches. Most airlines are waiving fees for changed or canceled reservations, and some are offering incentives to rebook within a certain time frame. 

Below we’ve outlined the current cancellation policies for the 11 main passenger airlines in the U.S. These policies are subject to frequent updates, however, so if you’re seeking to change or cancel a reservation, be sure to check your carrier’s website for the latest advisories.

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines is waiving change and cancellation fees for tickets purchased on or before Feb. 26 for travel through May 31 and for tickets purchased from Feb. 27 to March 31 for travel through Feb. 28, 2021.

If you choose to change your flights, fare differences may apply, and your new travel must be completed by Feb. 28, 2021. If you cancel your flights, you’ll receive a credit with the airline.

Saver fares are eligible only for cancel fee waivers, not change fee waivers. All tickets must be changed or canceled before the departure of the original flight. 

Allegiant Air

Allegiant Air does not appear to list any set dates limiting the waivers for change or cancellation fees. 

Instead, the carrier’s website simply states customers may change or cancel a booking for a voucher for the full value of the reservation. They may use those vouchers to purchase and complete travel within a year of the original booking date. 

American Airlines

American Airlines customers don’t have to pay change fees for tickets purchased on or before March 1 scheduled for travel between...

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