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Coronavirus travel advice: Everything you need to know

The entire travel industry is experiencing an unprecedented increase in service requests from customers due to the overwhelming impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). We're really sorry for such long wait times due to the increase in call volumes. Every CheapTickets team member who can help is working to add more capacity, self-service options, and collaborating with many thousands of our global travel partners. Most importantly, we are focused on customers with travel in the next 10 days. If your travel is not immediate, please visit our Customer Service Portal that includes new online tools to help you change or cancel travel plans electronically yourself.

We will regularly update this page to ensure we are providing the latest guidance, travel suggestions, and links to pertinent coronavirus information so you can rest easy.

Important message for customers with upcoming bookings – here's what you need to know:

Customers with May travel dates:

We are working closely with our partners to advocate for our valued customers. While our policies for May remain similar to those in April, there are some key changes customers should be aware of.

  • If you are traveling between now and May 31, 2020, we have new options to cancel your trip online at CheapTickets.com/trips or you can submit our cancellation form at CheapTickets.com/travel-alert-refunds. If none of the above solutions worked, and your trip begins within the next 10 days, please connect with one of our agents. There are still currently extremely high hold times, so please do not call if you are not departing in the next 10 days so that we can better support travelers with more imminent needs.
  • Now that the impacts of COVID-19 on travel plans are more widely known, and our teams have worked hard to ensure customers are able to manage their bookings via robust self-service tools, we are putting some of our previous cancellation policies back into place. For example, if a lodging booking has a cancellation window in May, we expect travelers to abide by that cancellation window to avoid penalties.
  • We will continue to notify customers as their cancellation window approaches. We encourage travelers to review their plans and let us know if they intend to travel or not.

Customers with Lodging bookings (non-package/bundle):

  • For customers who booked and paid for a non-refundable rate prior to March 19, 2020 for stays between March 20, 2020, and May 31, 2020, we will email you in the coming days to ask if you wish to keep or cancel your existing booking. If you decide to cancel, you will be eligible for a refund or, in some cases, a voucher allowing you to rebook the original property at later dates. There is no need to call us, however you must cancel your booking a least 24-hours before check-in to be eligible for this offer.
  • For customers whose accommodation plans have already been impaired by COVID-19 and whose travel date has passed, we want to assure you that we are working to attend to your needs as well. We appreciate your patience.
  • For customers who have booked a refundable rate, please visit our Customer Service Portal to change or cancel.

Customers with Flight bookings (non-package/bundle):

  • For customers with a flight booking through the end of May, we will email you in the coming days to ask if you wish to keep or cancel your existing booking. Terms and conditions for credits of each specific carrier will apply. If your flight is scheduled to depart after May 31, please wait and check back closer to your departure date for the latest policies.
  • For customers whose flights have already been impaired by COVID-19 and whose travel date has passed, we want to assure you that we are working with our partners to attend to your needs.
  • If your airline canceled your flight, we are working through those bookings with our airline partners to issue credits where applicable and will be in touch —there is no need to call.

Customers with Package/Bundle bookings:

  • We’ve worked closely with our travel partners to provide options to cancel package bookings. For customers who have booked a package, each component needs to be canceled separately. Our Customer Service Portal has the latest information on how to service each part of your package. We are also contacting customers who are due to travel soon to give them information on how to change or cancel their upcoming booking.

Customers who purchased Vacation Waiver or Travel Insurance:

Vacation Waiver: If you purchased Vacation Waiver we’ll reimburse you for any change or cancellation fees you are charged by a travel provider. If there are no change or cancellation fees involved in changing or cancelling your travel plans, then there is nothing additional for Vacation Waiver to provide.

Travel Insurance: The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19 a global emergency and a pandemic. For more information on what may or may not be covered in your travel insurance policy related to COVID-19, please click here for United States residents, and here for non-US residents. More information about your specific insurance policy can be found with your itinerary details.

  • If I intend to file a claim, do I still need to cancel my travel booking? Yes, if you are not planning to travel due to COVID-19, you should cancel your travel before your travel start date to ensure that you do not forfeit any refunds, vouchers, or credits offered by the travel suppliers. You can initiate cancellations and check booking status by logging in to your online itinerary at My Trips. If your travel is not immediate, please note that you may want to check back closer to your travel date as cancellation policies continue to evolve.
  • How do I submit a claim? Please visit the AIG website to submit a claim directly. Be sure to have your policy or itinerary number handy, as well as the last name the booking is under. Please note that AIG is currently processing insurance claims in order of trip date.

Please visit our Customer Service Portal to find the most up to date information about Vacation Waiver or Travel Insurance.

If you booked a vacation rental on CheapTickets and your travel plans have been affected by COVID-19, we want to share an important policy update:

  • For several of you, changes or cancellations will need to be managed by visiting our sister site VRBO. Full refunds for stays between March 13 and April 30 are subject to each individual property’s policy, but we are encouraging properties to be compassionate in these unprecedented times. We’ll be reaching out to you directly if your itinerary has been impacted.

While we are adjusting our operations and policies as quickly as possible, we do ask for patience and reiterate that if your travel is not within the next 10 days, please hold off contacting us so we can prioritize urgent customer queries and resolve cases faster. We thank you for your continued understanding. There’s nothing more important to us than you, our customers, remaining safe through this anxious and stressful time. All of us at CheapTickets value you and are grateful for your business.

Important links

  • Our latest updates on flexible airline policies can be found here
  • If you’re looking for more information on how to change a potentially impacted trip, please visit our Customer Service Portal
  • 11 things you should know if you’re planning or cancelling travel due to coronavirus. Learn more
  • To learn more about coronavirus, including what the symptoms are and how to protect yourself against getting sick, we recommend visiting the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control (CDC)

General tips for travelers during coronavirus

If there’s one thing we know, it’s that travelers are resilient. The World Health Organization currently recommends we maintain “social distancing” to protect ourselves. If you are planning future travel, please keep the following in mind:

  • Most of our hotels offer free cancellation, so consider booking refundable hotels vs. non-refundable. Just look for the “free cancellation” message during your search. Prices can vary, but right now we believe that flexibility matters.
  • Remember to check the fine print, especially when purchasing flights. Depending on what type of fare you choose, changes may either not be an option or could potentially incur a hefty fee. Be sure to read the terms and conditions of your ticket before making any purchases.

What if I already have travel booked?

If you’re planning to travel domestically or internationally, know that for the most part, the industry is operating business as usual. Consider following the below tips for a seamless trip:

  • Check your local airport to find out if there is specific travel advice for passengers; depending on your departure or arrival airport, there may be additional security checks so allow yourself plenty of time to get checked in and to your gate.
  • Stay up to date on the latest travel advisories in case your origin or destination is impacted by coronavirus; check it regularly so you have time to adjust travel plans as needed.
  • If you do wish to make changes, we’re here to help. Visit our customer support page to find out your options.

What if I already have travel booked, but want to change my plans as a result of COVID-19?

  • Call volumes to customer service centers are seeing unusually high volumes which means it’s tough to get through whether it’s through CheapTickets or our partners. You can save yourself some time by going to their policy pages online where all of the information is posted on the status of any booked travel.
  • Visit our Customer Support Portal to see learn more about what policies are available for your trip.
  • In many instances, you can self-service online to change your booking, but if you absolutely can’t, that’s when you should call in. The same goes for social media pages, agents are doing the best they can to help customers, but there’s a long line so do your best to find the info online before you call to spare yourself the wait time.
  • Check your travel insurance policy to see if changes and cancellations due to unforeseen events like coronavirus are covered.
  • Prepare potential dates for rebooking your travel according to the airline or hotel policy coverage. Policies may change or be added at any time, so check for updates before rebooking.

How do you know if you are eligible for the policies?

  • Policies will vary from partner to partner, but many of them cover travel to highly impacted areas through the end of March. The dates and destinations change frequently as more is learned about the situation, so it’s super important for travelers to check in with their airline or hotel partner if they have an upcoming trip.
  • Some hotels are also offering various flex policies, and if you’ve booked through CheapTickets we have our own flex policy in place for all hotel bookings in China through March where we will take care of any fees upfront and make it as painless as possible.

How can I stay informed about COVID-19?

When making any decisions, make sure you stick to the facts. Trusted sources of information should be government websites, including the following: