MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Did you plan a summer trip that involved flying? The coronavirus pandemic is costing airlines billions of dollars in lost revenue as Americans wonder whether it’s safe to fly. While airlines are changing its policies to include disinfecting planes, making masks mandatory, spacing out passengers and even blocking middle seats, many are still hesitant to board a plane.
So if you have a trip booked, can you get a refund?
“If an airline canceled a flight that you had a ticket on, the airline owes you a refund, period,” says Scott Keyes, founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights, an air travel deal site.
Sounds simple, but what if you decide not to take a flight due to a fear of flying amid the coronavirus pandemic? That’s when things get tricky and you could lose your money.
“If you have a trip planned for later this month, and mentally decided you are not taking that trip, here is why you should wait as long as possible to cancel. If the airline is the one who cancels your trip you are definitely owed a cash refund by law. If you volunteer to cancel your trip that is scheduled you get a voucher,” explained Keyes.
Vouchers have many have a long list of restrictions and fine print which may not allow you to use the voucher to purchase on other carriers, may not be used to upgrade and have an expiration date.
However, you should do something with that voucher.
“You do not want to do nothing and if you are a no show you are not going to get anything,” said Keyes.
Most airlines are not charging change fees for now, but if you are sitting on tickets for an upcoming flight or have a voucher and booked yourself, you have to be on top of the fine print.
“Every airline right now is so hard pressed for cash they are seeing more money going out the door on refunds than coming in the door for new ticket booking. They are doing anything they can to limit refunds to preserve cash.”