Home Travel Health Coronavirus crisis: Travel companies relax change and cancellation policies

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By Johanna Jainchill |Mar 01, 2020 Shared from Travel Weekly

With the spread of coronavirus, travel companies are relaxing cancellation and change policies. 

The Globus family of brands (Globus, Cosmos, Monograms and Avalon Waterways) instituted a temporary policy for 2020 travel allowing travelers with existing bookings or deposits on Globus vacations to move to any of its other brands, destinations or itineraries in 2020 or 2021 without penalty, prior to final payment.

The Globus brands are also temporarily waiving cancellation penalties until 30 days prior to departure. 

“With the safety, security and peace-of-mind of our travelers as our primary goal, we believe in giving them more time and flexibility with their travel decisions,” said Scott Nisbet, CEO of the Globus family of brands. “Traveling the world is a joyful experience and we want to do our part to keep the anticipation stress-free.”

Windstar Cruises rolled out a new policy allowing cancellation on short notice. 

The Travel Assurance Booking Policy applies to bookings departing on or after June 1. Passengers can cancel up to 15 days before sailing without incurring a fee. Windstar will automatically apply the policy to new and existing cruises departing from June 1 to Dec. 31, 2021.

Travelers who cancel up to 15 days prior to departure will receive a 100% future cruise credit to be used on another cruise within one year of the issue date of the credit. 

Norwegian Cruise Line said in a note to travel advisors: “We understand that your clients may be hesitant to plan or confirm their vacation, but we encourage them to get out there and experience the world aboard the best vessels at sea.”

The Norwegian Joy.

The Norwegian Joy. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst

To provide “some reassurance,” Norwegian temporarily modified its final payment and cancellation polices to the following:

• Final payment for all June and July voyages will not be due until 90 days prior to sailing.

• Up until 60 days prior to sailing, Norwegian will allow a transfer of the reservation to any other cruise that departs on or before June 30, 2020. The transfer voyage must be of equal or greater value, prevailing rates will apply, and penalties will be waived. 

• If a guest chooses not to sail, the name change restriction will be waived up to 45 days prior to sailing. Name changes will be permitted for the cruise reservation only and excludes flight arrangements through Norwegian Cruise Line and/or pre-purchased travel protection.  

• Guests with non-ticketed Norwegian Cruise Line air may make name changes. 

• Guests with ticketed air may make name changes but will incur a penalty and possibly air change fee, if either is assessed by the airlines. 

JetBlue has suspended change and cancellation fees for all bookings made through travel March 11 for travel to be completed by June 1. The suspension applies to all of JetBlue’s fare classes, including Blue Basic, which usually does not allow for changes or cancellations. Fare differences still apply. Travelers who purchase a package through JetBlue Vacations can contact the carrier to learn about cancel and change policies for rental cars, hotels and other products.

Alaska Airlines is waiving change fees on tickets purchased through March 12 for travel by June 1. Any fare differences will apply and new travel must be completed by Dec. 31. Those who chose not to travel at all at this time can cancel their trip and receive credit for future travel.   

American Airlines will waive change fees on all tickets purchased through March 16, provided that travelers make the change at least 14 days prior to travel. The offer is only available on American’s published fares.

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