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

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

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

U.S. Airline Stock Price Comparisons (2020/21)

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?

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

U.S. AirlineCoronavirus Flight Change/Cancellation WaiversAdditional Reading
If you purchased a Saver fare between February 27, 2020 and March 31, 2021, you may cancel your trip without a fee and deposit the funds into your My Account wallet or receive a credit certificate for future travel.

If you purchase a nonrefundable First Class, main, or award ticket between February 27, 2020 and March 31, 2021, you may:
- Change your trip without a fee. A fare difference may apply to your new itinerary.
- Cancel your trip without a fee and deposit the funds into My Account wallet or receive a credit certificate for future travel.

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.

For cancellations, the following options are available to you:
- You may change your flight to any other scheduled Allegiant flight(s) at no additional cost. You may be charged or credited for fare differences.
- You may cancel your reservation and receive a full credit in the form of an Allegiant voucher for future travel, which is good for two years from the date of the initial reservation.

Find the most updated Allegiant Air travel advisories here.
If you bought your ticket on or before September 30, 2020, and are scheduled to travel March 1, 2020 - March 31, 2021, you’re allowed to make changes to your trip once. You can change it now, or cancel and rebook later.

The change fee will be waived but you may still owe any difference in ticket price when you rebook your trip. Travel must be completed by December 31, 2021, or one year from the ticket issue date - whichever is later.

Find the most updated American Airlines travel advisories here.
Tickets originally purchased between March 1, 2020, and March 30, 2021, can be changed without a change fee for up to a year from the date you purchased them.

For Delta tickets purchased in 2021 (after the expiration of Peace-of-Mind Purchasing waiver for all travel purchased through March 30, 2021), there will be no change fees or Award redeposit fees permanently for Delta tickets purchased for travel originating from North America to anywhere in the world (excluding Basic Economy fares). While there is no change fee for these tickets, the fare difference will apply.

Find the most updated Delta Air Lines travel advisories here.
Frontier is waiving change and cancel fees for bookings made through February 28, 2021.

All changes or cancellations must be made prior to the required check-in time for your flight (45 minutes prior to scheduled departure for domestic flights; 60 minutes prior to scheduled departure for international flights).

Find the most updated Frontier Airlines travel advisories here.
Tickets (including award flights) purchased between March 1 and Dec. 31, 2020: No change fees for any changes made within two (2) years of the original ticket purchase date. A fare difference may apply.

Tickets (including award flights) purchased before March 1, 2020 with travel dates between March 1, 2020 and Feb. 28, 2021: No change fees for rebooked travel that begins on or before May 31, 2022. A fare difference may apply.

Find the most updated Hawaiian Airlines travel advisories here.
JetBlue is waiving change/cancel fees for customers with existing bookings made through February 28, 2021. If you choose to rebook, you can do so on any flight through the end of our schedule. Fare difference may apply.

For voluntary cancellations, funds will be issued as a JetBlue Travel Bank Credit. JetBlue Vacations bookings will be issued as JetBlue Vacations Credit. Travel credits can be used for future travel to any JetBlue destination and for any traveler.

Find the most updated JetBlue travel advisories here.
Southwest does not charge fees to change or cancel flights.

Nonrefundable tickets (Wanna Get Away fares) not flown on the travel date, but canceled in accordance with Southwest’s No Show Policy, can be applied to future travel for up to one year from the original purchase date or by the earliest expiration date of the applied funds aside from the below exceptions. All travel funds must be used by the individual named on the ticket.

Find the most updated Southwest Airlines travel advisories here.
Spirit is waiving change and cancellation fees for all guests who book travel by Sunday, February 28 2021. If you cancel your flight, you will receive a full purchase price credit instantly towards future travel.

Find the most updated Spirit Airlines travel advisories here.
For tickets issued between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, you will be permitted to change without paying a change fee to a flight of equal or lesser value for travel up to 12 months from the original ticket issue date. If the new flight is priced higher, you may change for no change fee but must pay the fare difference. If the new flight is priced lower, you may change without paying a change fee but no residual value will be given.

If you decide to cancel a flight booked between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, you can retain the value of the ticket to be applied to a new ticket without a change fee
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

Alex Miller

About Alex Miller

Alex has been traveling for over 25 years and from a young age was lucky enough to set out on numerous family trips all over the world, which gave him the travel bug. Alex has since earned millions of travel points and miles, mainly through maximizing credit card sign-up bonuses and taking every opportunity to earn the most points possible on each dollar spent.

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