Travel Round-Up: How Major Airlines, Amtrak Are Handling COVID-19

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As global fears over the novel coronavirus intensify, the White House has announced new restrictions on international travel to prevent its spread. The number of infected in the United States continues to grow, with 22 reported dead and more than 100 cases reported across the tri-state.

The CDC says travelers should avoid all nonessential trips to China, Iran, South Korea and Italy. The virus has also had an impact on travel at NYC airports, as a senior official at JFK Airport told NBC New York that the hub usually handles about 46,000 international passengers each day, but on March 3 saw only 30,000 — a drop-off of approximately 35 percent.

But for people who have already booked flights or need to travel, many questions remain -- and airlines are handling the situation in different ways. Here's a round-up of some of the key travel policies from a handful of the major airlines as well as Amtrak. Get more CDC resources here.


  • Suspended all flights to and from mainland China and Hong Kong
  • Temporarily suspended flights between Milan and JFK Airport until the beginning of May
  • Will reduce weekly flying schedule to Japan through April 30 and suspend summer seasonal service between Seattle and Osaka through the rest of the year in response to reduced demand related to COVID-19
  • Will provide customers affected by the suspensions with options including rebooking or getting a refund
  • Full schedules will be available on beginning March 7. The airline will continue to monitor the situation closely and may make additional adjustments as the situation continues to evolve
  • Get full policy details and more information here

United Airlines

American Airlines

  • Suspended all flights to and from mainland China and Hong Kong
  • Suspended operations between Milan and JFK Airport until April 25
  • Suspending operations to and from Seoul and Dallas Fort-Worth beginning March 4; they're scheduled to resume April 25
  • Will provide customers affected by the suspensions with options including rebooking or getting a refund.
  • Waiving change fees for customers purchasing travel between March 1 and March 16
  • Get full policy details and more information here


  • Doesn't fly to Asia, but said it would drop cancellation and rebooking fees for JetBlue flights or JetBlue Vacations booked before March 10, for travel through October 24, 2020
  • Initial capacity reduction of "approximately 5% in the near term" as a result of decrease in demand; more reductions in the future could be coming
  • Reducing hiring for some positions, may offer voluntary time off programs
  • Get full policy details and more information here

Air Canada

British Airways

Alaska Airlines

  • Suspending change and cancellation fees
  • People who wanted to cancel or change flights booked between Feb. 27 and March 12, 2020, can receive a full travel credit that can be used up until a year from when it was first issued.
  • Get full policy details and more information here

Southwest Airlines

  • Southwest Airlines told TODAY that none of the their flights have been canceled or suspended in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak
  • However, it is one of the only U.S. airlines that doesn't charge fees for canceling or rescheduling flights, so their policy remains unchanged

Hawaiian Airlines

  • All flights from Hawaii to South Korea were suspended as of March 2, and will remain so until April 30
  • Any passenger planning to travel to South Korea before the suspension is eligible for a travel-change waiver
  • Flights to China have not been suspended, but passengers traveling to China are eligible for a fee-free trip change until March 31
  • Get the full policy on waivers and suspensions here


  • Lufthansa Group said it has been exposed to drastic declines in booking and numerous flight cancellations due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus over the recent days, adding that all traffic areas are now affected
  • Flight capacity offered will be reduced by up to 50% in the coming weeks


While not an airline and not yet having any travel restrictions, the train service said it was making alterations to its scheduling and ticket reservations, including:

  • No change fees on reservations made before April 30
  • Starting March 10, Acela Nonstop service (trains 2401, 2402 and 2403) from NYC to Washington, D.C., will be suspended until May 26
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