With widespread cancellation of flights and countries sealing their borders in light of the global outbreak of the Coronavirus, the International Air Transport Association recently tweeted a video featuring infectious disease expert Dr. Bogoch who states that the chances of contracting the Covid-19 on a flight are extremely slim.
The risk of catching a virus on a flight remains low. ✈️Infectious disease expert Dr. Bogoch explains how personal hygiene is key. Please share with a traveler. #coronavirus #COVID19 #travel pic.twitter.com/icZsSlkNmm— IATA (@IATA) March 13, 2020
Flight bookings have taken a severe hit in light of the outbreak refraining numerous passengers to cancel their ticket and avoid any sort of travel. In light of the same, the DGCA has asked both international as well as domestic air carriers to waive off the cancellation charges. The Wadia group-owned private carrier GoAir has said it will not charge any fee on cancellation or rebooking of tickets till April 30 due to the coronavirus fear. The GoAir offer is for all bookings made between March 8 and April 30 and for the travel period between March 8 and September 30, according to the airline. But the waivers can be availed only if tickets are rebooked 14 days before departure. GoAir also said that a customer will have to pay the fare difference while rebooking a flight.
Prior to GoAir's announcement, IndiGo offered to waive of rescheduling charges on tickets booked between March 12 and March 31 for its domestic and international flights on similar concerns. It, however, did not give the customer the option of cancellation. On March 9, other carriers Air India, Air India Express, SpiceJet and AirAsia India too said that they will not charge any fee for rebooking of their flights amid the coronavirus concerns.
Air India and its international budget arm Air India Express said passengers can reschedule their tickets free of cost for new bookings made during a certain period of time in the wake of coronavirus outbreak. One free change of travel date would be permitted for new bookings made till March 31, Air India tweeted on Monday. "In view of coronavirus situation and travel advisory issued, one free change permitted for pax to postpone any international or domestic bookings on AI network to all existing bookings with travel date till 30th April 20," the national carrier said in the tweet stating the condition that the tickets must be re-issued on or before May 31.
In case of re-routing, the applicable difference of fare would be charged, it added. Air India Express, which flies to 13 international destinations with most of them in the Gulf, said free date change would be available to fresh bookings made between March 12-31. "In view of the uncertain travel situation due to COVID-19, free date change will be permitted up to three days prior to the flight departure, for all new bookings effected between March 12 to March 31, for travel up to April 30," Air India Express said in a statement. Cancellation charges would be levied by both the airlines if a customer decides to cancel the ticket.
Another budget carrier SpiceJet has also decided not to charge change fee on the tickets booked for travel between March 12-31. It would also be applicable on new bookings for travel between the same period, according to a tweet from the airline, adding a passenger re-booking the flight will have to pay the fare difference.
Bengaluru-headquartered no-frills carrier AirAsia India has extended free rescheduling of tickets for all travel till March 31 on existing and new bookings. The travel can be rescheduled to any date, as per a tweet by the airline. Tata-SIA joint venture airline Vistara has also waived cancellation and rescheduling charges for bookings made on or before March 1.