Have you had to change/cancel travel due to COVID-19 (involuntarily or voluntarily)?

robtemt

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I thought I would start a thread as a resource for AFFers who have changed or cancelled travel plans directly or indirectly due to 2019 n-CoV.
  • Did the airline/cruise company cancelling or change your flight/cruise? Or, did you proactively or reactively cancel or change it on your own (and why?).
  • Did they notify you directly, or did you discover it on your own?
  • What was your original plan, and what was the revised plan?
  • What was your experience like?
  • Did you go through any travel insurance claim process, and how was that part of it?

For the record, part of my role at work is to monitor medical related issues, filter out mis/disinformation, and brief other staff using only verified facts from trusted sources, so I am not one to buy into sensationalism or hysteria. BUT, I am also an advocate of forward planning and monitoring situations that could affect travel plans.
Post automatically merged:

To start it off…. We have begun voluntarily changing (or making back up plans for) our upcoming holiday SYD-(+/- SIN)-LAX-SJO-LAX-HNL-LNY-HNL-SYD

We are booked to the USA via SIN on SQ in a few weeks (F Saver Reward Booking). A few things caused us to start making contingency plans on getting to the USA including:
  • Reading posts from Buttermilk Chicken regarding her RTW flight being disrupted between HKK and CEB
  • Member Pushka raising a good point if Singapore will be next.
  • Monitoring the World Health Organisations surveillance on n-CoV (as part of my responsibilities at work). Singapore confirmed infections were 28 on 5 Feb, 40 on 8 Feb, and 43 on 9 Feb. Several of these cases were human-to-human contact, with no recent travel to China.
  • Bloomberg’s article this morning HERE, which discussed the spread of the virus from a conference attendee in Singapore, via a resort in France, to people in France, Spain, and the UK.

We contacted SQ, to discuss the options of alternative carriers, to which there were no available flights. The agent was very friendly, and said she understood the desire to rebook and avoid an Asia transit, but she said until official bans are in place, there were no options, but “we will offer options if Singapore becomes affected by travel bans”.

We began searching other options. We contacted VFF, who found one seat on DL SYD-LAX in W, and one seat on VA in J SYD-BNE-LAX. No other business or premium reward seats (except any seat) were available +/- 1 day of our desired travel (with pre-booked hotels, cars, and other flights to South America, and Hawaii). We will keep looking for another J seat on same day, and hopefully two on the same flight to free up closer to the date.

We have left our SQ bookings as is for now, and will cancel either that booking of the DL/VA booking closer to the date as thing develop.

Overall Experience:
  • Wait times on the phone are obviously a bit longer, but I’ve not been on hold longer than 15 minutes with either VA or SQ.
  • Staff at both SQ and VA call centres have been friendly, empathetic, and helpful in searching, but have no/limited availability and flexibility in voluntary changes so far.
 

OATEK

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Just spent half an hour on the phone with BA trying to cancel our BA16/15 bookings commencing this week. The original booking was HKG-LHR-KRK, and LHR HKG all in J, with connecting QF reward flights SYD-HKG-SYD). We have had two previous rebookings, the first to fly from Sydney to get around the Covid outbreak, so we had SYD-SIN-LHR-KRK, LHR-SIN-SYD. This was a compromise booking with outbound to LHR in PE, WITH LHR-KRK and return from LHR still in J. But BA were very helpful, and worked hard to keep any extra costs down.

WE had planned a week getting to Athens from Krakow, and then a cruise (incl Egypt, Israel), and then back to London, using LH flights KRK-MUC-ATH-MUC-LHR. These were non-rebookable and non-cancellable, so went down the toilet.

When the cruise was cancelled, we rebooked BA to just go to UK visiting daughter & family, so had drop the LHR-KRK (as otherwise we would be no-shows and have no ticket home). This time BA were less than helpful and charged a pretty penny to lose a J leg. But keen to see family we copped it on the chin.

However, in recent days we came to the conclusion it was irresponsible to travel to the UK (both in late 60s) so started cancelling accommodation etc. BA was the last cancellation, and they sent me an email that I could convert the trip to a voucher, for the fare amount. I rang and asked the fare amount and the CSO kept saying he could not tell me because some had been booked in HKD, and later changes in AUD. Said he wasn't sure what the cancellation fees might be, and "sometimes customers finish up receiving only a few pounds back". Worked very hard to convince me a voucher would be better.

Thanks to @serfty and a trick using the Finnair site to resend the BA eticket, I could see not only the total fare amount but the fare basis (in this case ELNC00U2 for PE legs, and INNC00S2 for J). I was able to retrieve the fare conditions through Expert Flyer, and so started quoting the cancellation fees etc back to him. Eventually the CSO gave up, and pushed the cancellation through for a refund. Next battle will be if the "Refund Team" try to value things differently to the eticket details, but hopefully they can get it all done in a reasonable time while there is still some cash in the kitty.

The main reason I didn't try and rebook, or take the voucher, is that while I hope to travel to UK at the end of the year, I would want it all to be in J. I am thinking there might be some bargains if I have the cash, but not so easy to access through a single airline with a voucher. I can easily seeing BA wanting a hefty sum to up the outbound legs to J.

So now down to seeing how much the refund, but expect over $8k, which is a useful sum to have in the kitty before the next round of bookings begin. Here's hoping🤞
 

Lynda2475

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So my employer has now banned all domestic travel (total over reaction imo) , so upcoming work trip to Melbourne (my first for this calendar year) is canned. Boss left me a mesg this morning encouraging me to WFH (i hate WFH so came into office) no probs with social distancing there is only about 10% of the usual suspects here.

Ive yet to cancel my June/July trip waiting to see what is offered.

My tour company is offering 110% credit of deposits paid with credits being good until Aprl 2022 (no mention of refunds) but the original fare conditions stated that if they cancel i can get a full refund. FInal payment not due til April (must log on and check the exact date) - I dont want to hand over more $ for a credit and then find that the company goes bust before I can use it.

Plus I dont think if they cancel my date they can withhold my $ as a credit under australian consumer law. Cant easily do a charge back as the initial payments were all made using a credit card I dont hold anymore.
 
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Beano

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Luckily I didn't book my trip to Madrid, Spain this year otherwise I would hev en facing the same issues.

BTW how may business are stopping domestic travel? I've heard of a couple but may be more.
 
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Port Power

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My tour to Japan next Sunday has offered deferment to same time next year. They are meeting today to re-evaluate (I.e. consider possible cancellation). I am intending to defer, but do have to wonder if they will still be in business next year? For this company, I do think they will be. At least I can take advantage of the Qantas offer to cancel with no fees. That credit voucher will be put towards flights to the UK in September.

I have a trip to the UK in May with this same TA/tour company but they also booked the flights with Qatar, so if there are still restrictions then, they can handle it all thank goodness.
 

Bluewave

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Glad I waited to pull the pin on my QF BNE-LAX-BNE, one Saver, one Sale Economy fare, dep 23/3.

I purchased in Oct 2019, so if I understand correctly, I can cancel, accept a voucher for full value paid, then use the voucher to make a new booking 'change-fee free' up to Oct 2020, plus pay any fare difference.

But my question is - am I able to book flights with this voucher in, say Sept, that depart in, say July 2021? Anyone with knowledge of credit voucher rules know the answer?

This per today's AFF article:
"your new travel dates can be any time within 12 months of the original booking dates"

So if correct that means I need to book AND FLY by Oct 2020 in my case. Anyone else have another take on this?
 

OATEK

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BA were quoting validity for a voucher for flight departing 19/3/20 (returning 21/4/20) as requiring all travel to be completed by 18/3/2021.
 

burmans

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This punishes those like myslef who book 11 months out for big trips - they need to ake this 12 months of departure date.
Though to be fair, offering you an unuseable voucher is in itself a pretty good reason to reject it and ask for straight out cancellation on the basis of this!
 

Pushka

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I now have a $4000 travel credit with Qantas - hopefully they will be around in 6 to 8 months for me to redeem it!:rolleyes:
I have to say I feel incredibly sorry for the crews on these diminishing services, as well as their call center staff, no matter where they are.
Just another positive for using a TA (QFlyer) to do the leg work.
And for people who purchased a cruise that was cancelled, they have well over $10,000 US invested with a cruise line and I don't share the confidence. They will need a bailout Id reckon.
 

Bluewave

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BA were quoting validity for a voucher for flight departing 19/3/20 (returning 21/4/20) as requiring all travel to be completed by 18/3/2021.
Okay, if that is the same for QF voucher conditions, then I will have to book new tickets before Oct 2020 (12mth from original purchase date), and fly before 23Mar 2021 (12mth from original departure date). This would make sense (though would like to go even later), and I can live with that.

I'll try to nut out full T&C's and if I find definitive info, will post again. In meantime, maybe someone else on this forum knows definite answer???
 

Port Power

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I’ve looked at my original booking; it was made on November 14 last year. Therefore using a credit voucher within the next few weeks to fly in Sep/Oct fits in with the rules. However, with all the recent changes, the current e-ticket was issued only this month. Hypothetically does that mean I could wait until much later this year to book flights to Japan next March? So glad I have the earlier alternative!
 

debgow

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I now have a $4000 travel credit with Qantas - hopefully they will be around in 6 to 8 months for me to redeem it!:rolleyes:
I have to say I feel incredibly sorry for the crews on these diminishing services, as well as their call center staff, no matter where they are.
Just another positive for using a TA (QFlyer) to do the leg work.
But the thing is, it is so hard to get onto the travel agent. My brother-in-law has been trying for hours to get through. Whereas if he had booked with qantas direct, he could cancel online.
 

dmgale1960

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Very good I imagine. If you aren't going to use the policy to claim, (to claim cancellation fees etc), AND you have not travelled, then usually, just like car insurance, (if you were going to buy a car, bought a policy, and then did not buy the car) you can be refunded almost the full policy amount, sometimes with a small admin fee, for the unused policy. It must be UNUSED. as you say, not YET travelled, no claims.


Update on the insurance issue, given everything is now off the table I contacted the insurer about a cancellation. After being questioned about WHY I want to cancel our policy and being asked multiple times if it is because of the Covid19, I was advised that they have to refer it to the team leader for consideration and this could take several days. I have the feeling they are going to try to pull the 'pandemics are excluded' line and deny my request but time will tell!
 

Katie

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My trip to Bellevue (near Seattle) for a conference, board meetings and annual business meeting in May has been cancelled. Our decision to have the conference go virtual instead has been met with mixed responses. Postponing was considered, but that was not without risk.

Currently we're still booked for France and Finland in July - a tour for the last week of the Tour de France. Not holding our breath, and I'm glad the friend whose 50th we would be celebrating there is generally one of the most positive people I know. He will be completely upset if the TdF is cancelled - this was going to be his first four week holiday in his entire working life.

We have two domestic trips planned - the Farewell to Rockford in early April and Melbourne in June for Harry Potter. What will be, will be ...
 

Bluewave

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Okay, if that is the same for QF voucher conditions, then I will have to book new tickets before Oct 2020 (12mth from original purchase date), and fly before 23Mar 2021 (12mth from original departure date). This would make sense (though would like to go even later), and I can live with that.

I'll try to nut out full T&C's and if I find definitive info, will post again. In meantime, maybe someone else on this forum knows definite answer???
From Qantas website FAQ's:

• Validity of credit voucher - All credit vouchers are valid one year from the actual date your original booking was created. NOTE: Not the credit voucher creation date.

• Credit voucher definition - It is a credit from a booking that has been cancelled. The credit voucher must be used (including travel completed) within 12 months from the date your original booking was created.

So, in my case I need to book AND FLY before 31 Oct 2020. And it seems I'd need to return by then too.
 

Lynda2475

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Though to be fair, offering you an unuseable voucher is in itself a pretty good reason to reject it and ask for straight out cancellation on the basis of this!

I would take full refund if it was offfered, however on sale fares this isnt offered, only voucher. Either way not cancelling ayhting atm, wating for them to cancel flight then they have to refund me as can't get me to my destination.
 

Bluewave

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I would take full refund if it was offfered, however on sale fares this isnt offered, only voucher. Either way not cancelling ayhting atm, wating for them to canel flight then they have to refund me as cant get me to my destination.
I'm doing exactly that too (only got 5 days though). I'm not confident the public health situation in USA will be back to normal by October, and it'd probably be impossible to get travel insurance for a trip to USA while situation is still dicey. Maybe I will take the voucher and fly to Fiji in June 😜
 

serfty

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I would take full refund if it was offfered, however on sale fares this isnt offered, only voucher. Either way not cancelling ayhting atm, wating for them to cancel flight then they have to refund me as can't get me to my destination.
Good Move ...
 

Matt_01

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• Credit voucher definition - It is a credit from a booking that has been cancelled. The credit voucher must be used (including travel completed) within 12 months from the date your original booking was created.
I am pushing my memory, I think you are correct for domestic bookings, just cannot remember if the return sector had to be included within the dates. From memory I have used vouchers that started life as a domestic booking and then used these for international bookings for a future date post expiry and as I recall the rules are different for international bookings and voucher use. IMO the QF FAQs are out dated, not updated and have many flaws.
 

Flashback

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There are rumours that BA and IB will be suspending operations from Tuesday, with an announcement to markets on Monday morning UK time.

Not sure I believe them totally, but a suspension of long-haul international operations I could certainly believe along with heavy reductions in European and domestic.

I relish challenges in my professional life, but boy I am glad I am not in charge of an airline.

Due to fly tomorrow, have checked in so looks OK for now. They reduced the schedule a lot last week so hopefully won't be too much further.

Luckily I didn't book my trip to Madrid, Spain this year otherwise I would hev en facing the same issues.

BTW how may business are stopping domestic travel? I've heard of a couple but may be more.

Domestic and International here. Started with SVP approval last week, but as of yesterday now needs VP or higher if business critical etc. Alas, mine is hence back on the plane tomorrow.
 
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