With the outbreak of Covid-19, coronavirus, the aviation industry is predicted to shoulder the biggest financial impact with fewer passengers taking to the skies. In an effort to mitigate the forthcoming losses and reflect the current demand for air travel, airlines have begun consolidating their frequent daily flights, resulting in some flight cancellation. And so, how can we remain vigilant with our airline travel during this period?
First, it is always prudent to get travel insurance as soon as you make a booking, to cover any eventualities such as flight cancellation or medical emergencies that could prevent you from travelling. However, for travel insurance taken after the outbreak of coronavirus was widely publicised, insurance companies would deem it as a known risk. Polices taken before this should cover claims made stemming from coronavirus.
Secondly, if you had made your booking for travel before the coronavirus outbreak, now is the time to check the fare rules of the booking to determine if the booking can be changed. Bookings that are non-changeable, non-refundable and non-transferable cannot be changed or amended. If the booking is cancelled you would only receive a refund of the paid airport and government taxes.
If you cannot travel due to the outbreak or the travel has been restricted to the destination, contact the airline to confirm if a full refund will be issued given the circumstances. If you had made your booking through a travel agent, they will receive any refund issued by the airline.
For future bookings post the coronavirus outbreak, some airlines have relaxed their general conditions of carriage and waived the change fee for bookings made during a period of time, which will now allow passengers to change or cancel their booking at no cost. Now is the time to shop around for those offers that will allow the flexibility to amend the booking to dates suitable to you, should the outbreak affect your dates of travel. Lastly, should your flight be cancelled, you have the options to be rebooked for travel on an alternative day or receive a full refund should you chose not to travel.
As the coronavirus remains a live issue, keep an eye out on the World Health Organisation advisory measures on how to mitigate coronavirus; wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water and avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes after coming into contact with surfaces. Above all, consult the national government travel advice and the destination for any updated travel alerts and warnings.