Airline Cancellation Policies Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Everything You Need To Know

Airline Cancellation Policies COVID 19
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With the whole world continuing to deal with the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, you may be wondering what to do about your upcoming flights.

While travel isn’t effectively off-limits as it was last year, border restrictions are constantly changing along with the state of the pandemic, and thus you may need to cancel or change a flight. The good news is that most airlines are offering flexible policies that allow you to make the changes you need without any fees.

This post will outline the change and cancellation policies due to COVID-19 for many major airlines. For each airline, we’ve included a direct link to its specific policy, if there is one, so you can stay up to date on any changes.

Airline Cancellation Policies Due to COVID-19

Air Canada

All reservations can be changed as much as needed through September 30, 2021. After that date, reservations can be changed 1 time without a fee.

If you need to cancel your flight, the full value of your ticket can be transferred to an Air Canada Travel Voucher that doesn’t have an expiration date, or you can opt for Aeroplan points with a 65% bonus.

If you booked directly with Air Canada or through Kayak, Skyscanner, or Google Flights, you’ll be able to cancel online in the My Bookings section of the website. If you booked through a different online travel agent, contact them for assistance.

To change or cancel an award flight, go to your online Aeroplan account.

To read Air Canada’s full policy regarding COVID-19, click here.

Air France

You can change any Air France flight without a fee and will receive a travel voucher that’s good for 1 year. If you’d prefer a refund, you can request one any time before your departure for any flight scheduled on or before March 31, 2022. If your ticket is marked as “non-refundable,” you’ll receive a travel voucher valid for 1 year. This voucher can then be refunded any time during that year.

If you booked directly with Air France, fill out this form online. You’ll receive a travel voucher valid for 1 year on all Air France, KLM, Delta, Virgin Atlantic, and Kenya Airways flights. If you booked with a travel agent and would like to cancel your flight, contact the agent directly.

To read Air France’s full policy regarding COVID-19, click here.

Alaska Airlines

For tickets purchased by April 30, 2021, for travel by March 31, 2022, the Peace of Mind waivers will apply. This means change and cancellation fees will be waived. If you want to make a change, your new flight needs to be completed within 1 year. If you choose to cancel your Alaska Airlines flight, your funds will be held as a credit that can be used towards a new flight. Saver fares can’t be changed — they can only be canceled for future travel credit.

As of May 1, 2021, all change fees have been eliminated for main cabin and first class tickets.

To read Alaska Airlines’ full policy regarding COVID-19, click here.

Allegiant

As of May 1, 2021, all Allegiant flights can be canceled or changed with a reduced fee of $25 per person per segment.

Changes or cancellations can be made from the Manage Travel section of the website.

To read Allegiant’s full policy regarding COVID-19, click here.

American Airlines

American Airlines agent and passenger
Image Credit: American

Tickets purchased by March 31, 2021, including basic economy and award tickets, can be changed 1 time without a fee.

In addition, American has eliminated all change fees for first, business, premium economy, and main cabin seats (except basic economy) on domestic or short-haul international flights (defined as between the U.S. and Canada, the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) issued on or after August 31, 2020.

Fees are also waived for all long-haul international flights in first, business, premium economy, and main cabin seats (except basic economy) issued on or after November 19, 2020, that originate in North or South America.

If you booked through American Airlines, you can cancel your trip online. If you booked through a travel agent, contact your agent.

To read American Airlines’ full policy regarding COVID-19, click here.

British Airways

British Airways allows passengers to cancel or change any flight that was booked after March 3, 2020, for travel by August 31, 2022. If you change your flight, you’ll have to pay any difference in fare but won’t incur a change fee. If you choose to cancel your flight, you’ll receive a voucher for the amount you paid to be used on a future booking.

To change or cancel your flight, click here.

To read British Airways’ full policy regarding COVID-19, click here.

Hot Tip: If you’ve got hotel reservations, you may want to take a peek at our guide to hotel cancellation policies due to COVID-19.

Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific bookings made before March 23, 2020, for travel through March 31, 2021, can be changed or canceled without any fees. New travel dates must be before March 31, 2022.

All tickets purchased between March 23, 2020, and December 31, 2021, can be changed without a fee prior to December 31, 2021, for travel by December 31, 2022.

If you booked directly, you can make changes to your reservation online. If you booked with a travel agent, contact the agent to adjust your reservation.

To read Cathay Pacific’s full policy regarding COVID-19, click here.

Delta Air Lines

Delta Flight Attendant Mask
Image Credit: Delta

All tickets purchased between March 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, can be changed without a fee for up to 1 year from the date of purchase.

In addition, all change fees and award redeposit fees are permanently waived for travel originating in North America on tickets purchased after April 30, 2021 (excluding paid basic economy fares). However, basic economy tickets for travel through December 31, 2021, can be changed without a fee through the temporary 2021 Basic Economy Changeability Waiver.

If you choose to cancel your flight, you’ll get the value you paid as a voucher to put toward future travel. Tickets set to expire in or canceled in 2021 will have an expiration date of December 31, 2022.

To change or cancel an upcoming Delta flight, visit the My Trips section on its website.

To read Delta’s full policy regarding COVID-19, click here.

Emirates

Tickets booked by April 1, 2021, for travel on or before May 31, 2022, are valid for up to 36 months from the original travel dates. You can also request a refund without a fee.

Tickets issued after April 1, 2021, are valid for 24 months with no change or cancellation fees.

If you booked through Emirates, use this form to request a travel voucher. If you booked through a travel agent, contact the booking agent.

To read Emirates’ full policy regarding COVID-19, click here.

Hot Tip: Curious about travel insurance? Educate yourself on the basics of travel insurance and whether or not insurance will cover COVID-19 related claims.

Etihad

You can change or cancel your Etihad flight online, though you may incur a fee depending on the conditions of your ticket. However, many fares can be changed without a fee if you rebook by March 31, 2022.

You can also request a refund in situations where your flight has been canceled or you test positive for COVID-19.

To read Etihad’s full policy regarding COVID-19, click here.

Frontier Airlines

All change and cancellation fees are waived on bookings made from December 22, 2020, through September 30, 2021.

In addition, any flight can be changed or canceled without a fee 60 or more days prior to departure. If you make a change 7 to 59 days prior to departure, the change fee is $49. Any changes made 6 days or less before departure will incur a $79 fee.

Visit the My Trips section of the website to make adjustments to your reservations.

To read Frontier’s full policy regarding COVID-19, click here.

JetBlue Airways

You can change or cancel any JetBlue flight booked on or before May 31, 2021, without a fee. You can rebook your trip within 1 year in the Manage Trips section of your online account (a fare difference may apply).

As of June 1, 2021, there are no change or cancellation fees for Blue, Blue Plus, and Mint fares, but there is a $75 charge for same-day confirmed changes. Blue Extra fares can be changed or canceled (including same-day confirmed changes) without a fee.

Change fees are also waived for Blue Basic bookings made between August 25, 2021, and October 31, 2021.

If you choose to cancel your flight, you’ll receive a JetBlue Travel Bank Credit valid for 12 months.

To read JetBlue’s full policy regarding COVID-19, click here.

KLM

Flights with a departure date by December 31, 2021, can be changed or canceled without a fee. You can change your travel dates or request a travel voucher that can be used within 1 year. Changes can be made online in the My Trips section of the website.

Flights that depart after January 1, 2022, can be changed without a fee, but refunds aren’t available.

To read KLM’s full policy regarding COVID-19, click here.

Lufthansa

You can change your travel dates without a fee on all flights except Economy Light and European Business Saver fares purchased after August 1, 2021.

To read Lufthansa’s full policy regarding COVID-19, click here.

Qantas

You can change your travel dates without a fee for the following Qantas-operated flights:

  • Domestic Australian flights purchased between May 21, 2020, and February 28, 2022, for travel between June 12, 2020, and February 28, 2022
  • Trans-Tasman flights booked between October 15, 2020, and February 28, 2022, for travel between October 16, 2020, and February 28, 2022
  • International flights purchased between February 25, 2021, and February 28, 2022, for travel between November 1, 2021, and December 31, 2022

Finally, Classic Flight Rewards (using Qantas points) made before July 31, 2021, can be changed or canceled without a fee through February 28, 2022.

To change or cancel a Qantas flight, use the My Booking section of your online account.

To read Qantas’ full policy regarding COVID-19, click here.

Qatar Airways

All flights through May 31, 2022, can be changed or canceled at no cost. You can also request a refund for the amount you originally paid.

To change or cancel your Qatar Airways flight, click here.

If you booked through a travel agent, contact the booking agent to arrange changes to your ticket.

To read Qatar’s full policy regarding COVID-19, click here.

Southwest Airlines

You can cancel your Southwest flight up to 10 minutes before departure. If you purchased a Wanna Get Away fare, you’ll receive travel funds for the amount you paid that can be used for a new flight. Business Select and Anytime fares are fully refundable.

As of September 8, 2020, any travel funds created from a Wanna Get Away fare can be used for up to 1 year from the purchase date.

You can change your Southwest flight here.

To read Southwest’s full policy regarding COVID-19, click here.

Hot Tip: Have a cruise coming up? You’ll find all the information you need in our guide to cruise cancellations due to COVID-19.

Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines is waiving all change and cancellation fees for flights booked by March 31, 2021.

If you cancel your reservation, you’ll receive a travel credit. This credit can be applied to a new flight that’s booked in the next 6 months for travel dates up to 9 months in the future (depending on route).

For all other flights, changes can be made without fees 60 or more days in advance. Changes made 15 to 59 days before departure will incur a $39 fee, changes made 7 to 14 days prior to departure will have a $59 fee, and changes made 0 to 6 days from departure will come with a $79 fee.

To change or cancel your reservation, click here.

To read Spirit’s full policy regarding COVID-19, click here.

United Airlines

United economy masked flight attendants
Image Credit: United

United has permanently removed change fees for economy (excluding Basic Economy), Economy Plus, first, business, and Premium Plus seats on the following types of flights:

  • Flights within the U.S. (including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands)
  • Flights between the U.S. and Mexico or the Caribbean
  • International flights originating in the U.S.

Change fees will also be waived on all other international travel when the ticket is issued by September 30, 2021, and Basic Economy tickets issued by December 31, 2021, for travel by December 31, 2021.

You can change your flight online in the My Trips section of the website.

To request a refund, go to united.com/refunds.

To read United’s full policy regarding COVID-19, click here.

Virgin Atlantic

For bookings made through April 30, 2022, change fees (unlimited date changes and 1 name change) will be waived. Your new travel dates must be on or before April 30, 2023.

To change or cancel a flight that was booked directly with Virgin Atlantic, use this form. If you booked through a travel agent, contact the agent directly.

To read Virgin Atlantic’s full policy regarding COVID-19, click here.

Additional Airlines Impacted

Additional Airlines Impacted and Their Policies
AirAsiaEL AL Israel AirlinesMandarin AirlinesSkyUp Airlines
Air AstanaEthiopian AirlinesMyanmar Airways InternationalSriLankan Airlines
Air IndiaEVA AirMyanmar National AirlinesSWISS International Air Lines
Air KBZFinnairNeosThai Airways
Air MacauHimalaya AirlinesOman AirThai Lion Air
Air MauritiusHK ExpressPakistan International AirlinesThai Smile Air
Air New ZealandHong Kong AirlinesPeach AviationTurkish Airlines
Air SeoulIberiaPhilippine AirlinesTurkmenistan Airlines
Air TanzaniaIndiGoRoyal Air MarocUkraine International Airlines
All Nippon AirwaysJapan AirlinesRoyal Brunei AirlinesUral Airlines
Asiana AirlinesJeju AirRyanairVietJet Air
Austrian AirlinesJetstar AsiaRwandAirVietnam Airlines
Cambodia AirwaysKenya AirwaysSASVirgin Australia
Cebu Pacific AirKorean AirSaudiaVueling
China AirlinesLion AirSCAT AirlinesWestJet
EasyJetLOT Polish AirlinesScootWizz Air
EGYPTAIRMalindo AirSingapore Airlines

Final Thoughts

The ongoing pandemic has changed everyone’s life and challenged the travel industry in ways no one could have expected. However, there’s a silver lining in that airlines are being more flexible than any time before in recent memory. Most recognize they need to be more flexible than ever before and are now allowing ticket changes and cancellations without fees.

If you decide to cancel or postpone a flight, be sure to read through your airline’s policy so you know when you’ll need to reschedule your flight or use your travel credit, as these can be different for each carrier.

Having to cancel an upcoming flight is never fun, but the important thing to remember is that we’ll all get through this and you’ll be able to fly freely throughout the world again soon.


Frequently asked questions

Can I cancel or change my flight due to COVID-19?

Yes, major airlines are offering waivers so you can change or cancel your upcoming flight without fees. Each airline has its own policy, so be sure to check to make sure your flight falls within the timeframe for waived fees.

How can I cancel my upcoming flight?

If you booked your flight directly with the airline, you’ll be able to cancel online in most cases. If you booked your flight with a travel agent or an online travel agency, you’ll need to contact the booking agent to cancel.

Can I cancel or change my Spirit ticket?

Spirit Airlines is waiving all change and cancellation fees for flights booked by March 31, 2021.

If you cancel your reservation, you’ll receive a travel credit. This credit can be applied to a new flight that’s booked in the next 6 months for travel dates up to 9 months in the future (depending on route).

For all other flights, changes can be made without fees 60 or more days in advance. Changes made 15 to 59 days before departure will incur a $39 fee, changes made 7 to 14 days prior to departure will have a $59 fee, and changes made 0 to 6 days from departure will come with a $79 fee.

To change or cancel your reservation, click here.

To read Spirit’s full policy regarding COVID-19, click here.

Can I cancel or change my JetBlue ticket?

You can change or cancel any JetBlue flight booked on or before May 31, 2021, without a fee. You can rebook your trip within 1 year in the Manage Trips section of your online account (a fare difference may apply).

As of June 1, 2021, there are no change or cancellation fees for Blue, Blue Plus, and Mint fares, but there is a $75 charge for same-day confirmed changes. Blue Extra fares can be changed or canceled (including same-day confirmed changes) without a fee.

Change fees are also waived for Blue Basic bookings made between August 25, 2021, and October 31, 2021.

If you choose to cancel your flight, you’ll receive a JetBlue Travel Bank Credit valid for 12 months.

To read JetBlue’s full policy regarding COVID-19, click here.

Katie Seemann

About Katie Seemann

Katie is an Ohio native who caught the travel bug after spending a semester in college in Nottingham, England. In addition to exploring England, she visited Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands during that time and loved every minute of it (everything except the hostel in Scotland – that’s an experience she doesn’t intend on repeating!) In 2015, Katie discovered the world of points and miles, and since then she’s earned countless points and has an embarrassingly large number of credit cards in her wallet (which she needs a spreadsheet to keep track of!)

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7 comments

  1. One correction on your chart: Delta Basic Economy award tickets for travel within the U.S. do NOT have redeposit/cancellation fees, even if purchased after April 30. It is only paid Basic Economy tickets that cannot be cancelled.

    Reply

  2. Is Sun Country on the list?

    Reply

    • Hi Sussy,

      Unfortunately, Sun Country is not featured in this guide. Did you have a specific question about them you’d like answered?

      Reply

  3. Frontier charges $45 cancellation or change fee. Not $39. I wish I knew this before booking. I should have researched better. I lost $200 to cancel a flight for my husband and I just a few days after booking it.

    Reply

  4. You are wrong about the Alaska Peace of Mind program. The termination date for the cancellation waiver ended on 04/03/2021.

    Reply

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