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Airlines change refund, cancellation policies for coronavirus. Is your flight covered?

Fort Worth Star-Telegram - 3/8/2020

Mar. 8--Many airlines are now offering to waive cancellation or flight-change fees as coronavirus impacts people's travel plans.

Flight prices have dropped in many places worldwide due to the spread of COVID-19, and many would-be travelers are canceling their trips. Airline stocks dropped sharply last week, and the industry faces billions of dollars in lost revenue due to people avoiding air travel, The New York Times reported.

Some airlines changed their cancellation and refund policies in the face of the virus, which has seen 164 confirmed cases in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Here are some of those changes from major airlines. Make sure to check the fine print, as some airlines have specific criteria that must be met.

American Airlines

American Airlines, headquartered in Fort Worth, is offering travelers a free flight change if the flight was bought between March 5 and March 31. The usual change fees will be waived.

The company is also waiving fees for flight changes for flights bought between March 1 and 4, but only if the change is made at least two weeks before the flight.

United

United Airlines will allow all flights booked between March 6 and March 31 to be changed for free for the next 12 months. Travelers can also cancel their flight entirely, and United will credit them that money for a future flight. The credit is good for one year after the original flight's purchase date.

Delta

Delta's policy changes allow travelers to make one flight change with no fee if the flight was bought between March 1 and March 31. It offers the same credit policy as United's coronavirus policy, with credit given for canceled flights that must be used within 12 months.

Frontier

Frontier will waive change and cancellation fees for flights departing between March 3 and March 16. Passengers can make one change without a fee, and the new flights must be before June 1, according to Money.com.

Southwest

Southwest does not charge change fees, so its policy remains the same.

Spirit

Spirit did not appear to have announced coronavirus-related changes to its refund policy as of Sunday afternoon.

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