The Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on U.S. Airlines

Last Updated

COVID-19 Travel Advisories: U.S. Department of State

Projected Global Airline Revenue Loss (IATA): $314 billion

U.S. Airline Stock Price Comparisons (2020)

Key Dates: Jan 21, 2020: U.S. Reports 1st COVID-19 Case [CDC]. Jan 31, 2020: U.S. declares public health emergency; American, Delta, & United suspend flights to/from China [New York Times]. Feb 12, 2020: The Dow posts an all-time high [Wikipedia]. Mar 3, 2020: Fed makes emergency rate cut by 0.5% [New York Times]. Mar 11, 2020: President Trump suspends all travel from Schengen Area [White House]. Mar 12, 2020: Markets worst crash since Black Monday 1987 [Washington Post]. Mar 16, 2020: Dow’s worst single-day point drop in history [Politico] Mar 19, 2020: U.S. coronavirus cases soared by more than 40% in just 24 hours [CNN]. Mar 24, 2020: Dow soars 11%+, biggest one-day jump since 1933 [Wall Street Journal]. Apr 20, 2020: U.S. benchmark price for crude drops below zero for the first time ever [Bloomberg]. Apr 29, 2020: President Trump indicates that federal social distancing guidelines would expire Apr 30, 2020; drugmaker Gilead Science reports promising trial results for remdesivir [CBS]. May 15, 2020: U.S. monthly sales fell by a record low (-16.4%) [CNBC]. May 27, 2020: Human trials of vaccine announced by 2 major pharm companies. Protests reignite in Hong Kong, furthering U.S.-China tensions [Yahoo]. June 8, 2020: Nasdaq reaches record high on news of positive jobs report; NYC begins reopening its economy [Fortune]. June 11, 2020: Market reacts to growing concerns of a second-wave of coronavirus cases [Yahoo]. July 2, 2020: June jobs report indicates unemployment rate down to 11.1% and U.S. economy added 4.8M jobs. [CNN]. June-July 2020: Nasdaq posts record highs on June 8, June 10, July 2, July 6, July 10, and July 20 [Wikipedia]  

TSA Checkpoint Foot Traffic – A Measure of Traveler Confidence?

Total Number of Daily Commercial Flights (Global)

Flight Change and Cancellation Waivers (U.S. Airlines)

U.S. AirlineCoronavirus Flight Change/Cancellation WaiversAdditional Reading
If your ticket was purchased on or before February 26, 2020 AND is for travel between March 9, 2020 – May 31, 2020 AND is a Saver ticket, you can cancel your ticket without a fee OR get a certificate for future travel. If your ticket is a non-refundable main, first class, or award ticket, you can either cancel your ticket without a fee OR change your trip (fare differences will apply) without a fee as long as your travel is completed by February 28, 2021.

If your ticket was purchased between February 27, 2020 – May 31, 2020 AND is for travel through February 28, 2021 AND is a Saver ticket, you can cancel your ticket without a fee OR get a certificate for future travel. If your ticket is a non-refundable main, first class, or award ticket, you can either cancel your ticket without a fee OR change your trip (fare differences will apply) without a fee as long as your travel is completed by February 28, 2021.

Find the most updated Alaska Airlines travel advisories here.
You can change or cancel your ticket once without any change/cancellation fees. If you cancel, you will receive a voucher for future travel, but will not get a refund.

Find the most updated Allegiant Air travel advisories here.
If you purchased your ticket prior to March 1, 2020, for travel through May 31, 2020, you can change your flights without a fee.

If you have a ticket that is expiring between March 1 and September 30, 2020, the value of your unused ticket can be used for travel through December 31, 2021.

Any tickets purchased by May 31, 2020, for travel through September 30, 2020, you can rebook without change fees. Including award tickets.

As of April 8, 2020, American has implemented a new schedule change policy to only provide refunds to customers when schedule changes result in an overall delay of more than four hours, or when a customer goes from being booked on a nonstop, to being booked an itinerary with a connection.

Find the most updated American Airlines travel advisories here.
For all travel through September 3, 2020, you can change your flight (fare differences will apply) one time without a fee. If you cancel, you will receive an eCredit voucher for future travel, but will not get a refund. Existing vouchers can also be extended through May 31, 2022.

If you purchased your ticket after March 1, 2020 - May 31, 2020, you can make unlimited changes to itineraries without fees (fare differences will apply). The new travel must depart on/before March 12, 2021.

Also, Delta tickets for travel in March or April set to expire before June 30, 2020, will be extended to a new December 31, 2020 expiration date.

Find the most updated Delta Air Lines travel advisories here.
If you purchased your ticket between March 10, 2020 – April 30, 2020, you can change or cancel your ticket one time without a fee (fare differences will apply). If you cancel your ticket, you’ll receive a credit towards a future flight purchase, which must be used within 90 days of cancellation.

If you purchased your ticket before March 10, 2020, for travel through April 30, 2020, you can change or cancel your ticket one time without a fee (fare differences will apply).

If you purchased your ticket before March 10, 2020 for travel between May 1, 2020 – May 31, 2020, you can change or cancel your ticket one time without a fee until March 31 only. Standard change fees will apply afterward.

Find the most updated Frontier Airlines travel advisories here.
If you purchased your ticket before March 1, 2020, for travel between March and May 2020, you can change your ticket without fees. You can change these tickets up to 1 year from the original ticket purchase date or December 31, 2020 (whichever is earlier). Fare differences apply.

If you purchased your ticket between March and May 2020, you can change your ticket without fees for travel up to 1 year after the initial ticket purchase date. Fare differences apply.

Find the most updated Hawaiian Airlines travel advisories here.
JetBlue flights scheduled through June 30, 2020, can be changed or canceled it without a fee. You can rebook your trip anytime through October 24, 2020. If you choose to cancel your flight, you'll receive a JetBlue Travel Bank Credit which is valid for 18 months.

Change and cancellation fees will also be waived on any new bookings made by May 31, 2020, for travel through January 4, 2021.

For all cancellations, you’ll receive a JetBlue Travel Bank Credit, but you will not get a refund.

Find the most updated JetBlue travel advisories here.
If you purchased your ticket for travel through April 30, 2020, you can change your ticket up to 60 days from the original flight date. You can also use this ticket towards a future purchase up to 1 year after the original ticket purchase date.

Tickets that have expired or will expire between March 1 - May 31, 2020 as well as tickets created because of a flight cancellation between March 1 - May 31, 2020, will now expire on June 30, 2021.

In some cases, you may be able to rebook your ticket without fare differences depending on the overall fare difference, but you must follow the same route.

Find the most updated Southwest Airlines travel advisories here.
You can cancel your ticket and receive a credit in your account, valid for 6 months after your cancellation date. Although the credit must be used within 6 months, it can be used for travel beyond the 6-month window.

Find the most updated Spirit Airlines travel advisories here.
If you purchased your ticket on/before March 2, 2020 for travel between March 3, 2020 – May 31, 2020, you can change or cancel your ticket without fees. New tickets must be issued within 12 months after the original ticket purchase date or on/before December 31, 2020, whichever is earlier. Rebooked travel must begin within 12 months of the original ticket issue date. Fare differences will apply. If you cancel your ticket, you’ll get a credit for future travel, but not a refund.

If you purchased your ticket between March 3, 2020 – March 31, 2020, you can change or cancel your ticket for free for the next 12 months (fare differences will apply). However, you will not receive the fare difference back if your new ticket is cheaper. You will also pay the fare difference if your new ticket is more expensive.

Find the most updated United Airlines travel advisories here.

Travel Safety for U.S. Travelers

  • Travelers are highly recommended to join Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to be able to receive up-to-date alerts and so you can be located in an emergency.
  • In an emergency, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate — or call 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the U.S. or Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries or jurisdictions. (Source)

Travel Resources

Official COVID-19 Airline Information Centers

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