Online travel agents are scrambling to help customers with travel affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. … [+]
With COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, rapidly changing the travel landscape we are aggressively keeping track of how companies respond to customers who need to change their plans. This article will be updated daily with Online Travel Agency (OTA) policies and procedures. We are also covering airline, hotel, and event disruptions and cancellations.
Last updated March 16, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. EST.
Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Hotwire, CheapTickets, eBookers
If you’re traveling within the next seven days, you can change or cancel many reservations from within your account without any additional fees (for hotels, flights, car rentals and activities)
- If your airline lets you change or cancel directly through Expedia or one of its other sites, the travel agency asks you to submit this form to receive credit for a future flights
- Reservations on select airlines cannot be changed or canceled directly through Expedia or its other sites. In that case, you will have to work directly with the airline to make any changes.
- Expedia and its other sites are waiving change fees for many hotels based on where you are traveling to/from. Customers who booked hotels for the following destinations are eligible for a full refund and should request their refund here:
- China, Hong Kong, Macau: Hotels booked before Jan 30, 2020 with stay dates starting on or before March 31, 2020
- South Korea: Hotels booked before Feb. 25, 2020 with stay dates starting on or before March 31, 2020
- Israel: Hotels booked before March 13, 2020 with stay dates starting on or before March 31, 2020
- Marshall Islands: Hotels booked before March 13, 2020 with stay dates starting on or before March 27, 2020
- El Salvador: Hotels booked before March 13, 2020 with stay dates starting on or before April 3, 2020
- Denmark and Slovakia: Hotels booked before March 13, 2020 with stay dates starting on or before April 13, 2020
- Czech Republic, Oman and India: Hotels booked before March 13, 2020 with stay dates starting on or before April 15, 2020
- Poland: Hotels booked before March 15, 2020 with stay dates starting on or before March 25, 2020
- Cyprus: Hotels booked before March 15, 2020 with stay dates starting on or before March 31, 2020
- Ukraine: Hotels booked before March 16, 2020 with stay dates starting on or before March 30, 2020
- If your reservation is not listed above, Expedia will follow the policy of the specific travel partner. It cannot waive or change their policies/fees.
- To change or cancel a cruise reservation, visit the Cruise support page.
- If you are traveling more than seven days from now, you may be eligible for a free cancellation. Use the change or cancel buttons in your itinerary or click the blue chat button to chat with a virtual agent for help.
Priceline sent out an email to customers with upcoming trips booked through the platform. As of now, there the company is recommending customers reach out directly to airlines if their flight is not covered by a current waiver offered by the airline. Customers who want to change or cancel travel plans but are not scheduled to travel within the next three days are recommended to wait until they contact Priceline directly for help.
Customers with upcoming cruise trips should seek assistance here.
Kayak does not currently have a blanket policy regarding already-booked itineraries. Instead, it advises customers to contact airline and travel providers directly for the latest information. In regards to booking new travel, Kayak is implementing a “Flexible Option” filter to show providers with free cancellation (in the form of travel credits) and providers that are waiving their change fees. The company is also including current travel warnings issued by authorities and including alerts on its site while searching for a new trip.
Booking.com has a “Force Majeure” (forced circumstances) clause that it has invoked regarding specific destinations and specific travelers. There are some overarching exclusions:
- Travelers who have been to an area affected by Coronavirus
- Travelers who have subsequently been banned from entering the country they intended to travel to
- Travelers who have to undergo quarantine upon arrival and/or return
- Travelers who face suspension of on-arrival visas
In the short term, this list may encompass most travelers. Here are country-specific waivers:
- Spain (including Canary Islands and Balearic Islands): with a check-in date between 14 March 2020 and 29 March 2020
- Argentina: All reservations by travellers from US, Japan, South Korea, EU countries and Schengen countries with a check-in between 14 March and 11 April 2020.
- Saudi Arabia: All reservations made for properties in or by travellers from Saudi Arabia with a check-in date between 15 March and 29 March 2020.
- Turkey: All reservations made for properties in Turkey by travellers from China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Austria, Sweden, Belgium or the Netherlands with a check-in date between 14 March 2020 and 17 April 2020.
- Czech Republic. All reservations made for properties in the Czech Republic with a check-in date between 12 March 2020 and 11 April 2020.
- Norway: check-in date between 13 March 2020 and 31 March 2020.
- Denmark:check-in date between 14 March 2020 and 13 April 2020.
- Slovakia: check-in date between 14 March 2020 and 31 March 2020
- Poland: check-in date between 15 March 2020 and 24 March 2020
- Ukraine: check-in date between 16 March 2020 and 3 April 2020
- Singapore: All reservations made for properties by travellers from Italy, France, Spain or Germany, with a check-in date between 16 March 2020 and 31 March 2020
- United States: All reservations made for properties in the United States by travellers from all 26 Schengen countries, or travellers who have been in the Schengen area *) in the past fourteen days, with a check-in date between Saturday 14 March 2020 and Tuesday 14 April 2020 (including). American citizens, US permanent legal residents and their families are excluded from the travel ban.
- United States: All reservations by travellers from Ireland and the UK, or travellers who have been in these countries in the past fourteen days, with a check-in date between Tuesday 17 March 2020 and Tuesday 14 April 2020 (including). American citizens, US permanent legal residents and their families are excluded from the travel ban.
- Israel: Israel with a check-in date between 12 March 2020 and 31 March 2020
- India: check-in between Friday 13 March and Wednesday 15 April 2020
- Italy: check-in date on or before 3 April 2020.
- South Korea: Daegu and Cheongdo County, with a check-in date on or before 31 March 2020.
- New Zealand: travellers coming from or travelling via mainland China or Iran with a check-in date between 16 March and 31 March 2020
- Mainland China: check-in date on or before 31 March 2020
While Agoda does not have any blanket policies listed, they do say that “We are working closely with our property partners to secure free cancellation where possible, in order to provide you the best options. If you need to make changes to your booking, or just want to check if your booking is eligible for free cancellation, the fastest way is to access the “My bookings” section on the Agoda website or app.”
Momondo and Hotels Combined
Momondo and Hotels Combined aren’t traditional booking sites. Even if you searched your flight on Momondo or your hotel on Hotels Combined, the results took you to another site to actually complete your booking. Changes and cancellations will be handled by the partner site.
Vrbo does not have any special cancellation policies in place in regard to customers who might be affected by COVID-19. The renting platform’s coronavirus updates page says its cancellation policy “does not cover cancellations due to events outside of our control such as disease or government action.”
Instead, Vrbo recommends customers who booked with travel insurance to contact the insurance company directly, or if a customer booked through a credit card, they should contact the financial institution and explore their options.
Airbnb is allowing eligible reservations to be canceled without charges. The following reservations are included in the new policy:
- Guests traveling to or from severely impacted areas
- Hosts who are hosting in or welcome guests from severely impacted areas
- Anyone who can’t complete their trip due to official travel restrictions, medical or disease control duties, flight or ground transportation cancellation initiated by the provider due to COVID-19, or suspected confirmed cases of COVID-19
Here’s how refunds and fees will be handled in the case of a cancellation:
- The guest will receive a full refund (including any fees)
- Hosts won’t incur any cancellation fees
- Airbnb will refund all fees
- Hosts can accept new reservations for those dates
- Superhost status will not be affected