FILE – Many airlines and hotels are offering free cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)

Worried about your vacation amid the COVID-19 pandemic? Here’s what you can cancel

Many airlines, hotels and Airbnbs have updated policies due to the novel coronavirus

Were you looking forward to a vacation this spring but are now worried about the COVID-19 pandemic?

You may be able to cancel free of charge, especially if you are travelling to an area listed in a Canadian travel advisory. As of Thursday, B.C. health officials have advised against all travel outside of Canada, including into the U.S.

For hotel stays and airlines outside of Canada, check with your airline, your hotel or your travel agent for their cancellation policies. Some travel insurance is continuing to cover COVID-19 but many providers are not, deeming it a “known circumstance,” which is typically excluded from coverage. Trip cancellation insurance may be an option for those who booked before news of COVID-19 broke.

READ MORE: Return home while you can, Ottawa tells Canadians as COVID-19 continues to spread

Air Canada

For any tickets booked for flights before April 30, Air Canada is allowing passengers to make a one-time change to their flight without paying a fee, up to 24 hours before the departing flight. Passengers can also cancel completely and get a credit for future travel. All credits must be used by the end of 2020 and any leftover value from choosing a lower fare will be lost.

Changes can be made online, through your travel agent, or by calling Air Canada Reservations at 1-888-247-2262.

WestJet

For any tickets booked before March 3 for flight in March and April, WestJet is allowing passengers to cancel or change their flight one time, free of charge, up to 24 hours before departure. The value of cancelled flights will go into the Travel Bank, and any difference in new fare prices will be lost.

Passengers who book new flights starting March 3 to March 31 will be allowed a one-time change, free of charge. The change must be made at least 24 hours before a flight. For more information, visit the WestJet website.

Sunwing

Passengers who booked before March 4 for travel up to April 30 can change their flight or vacation once, free of charge. The new flight must be prior to Oct. 31 and the change must be made at least five days prior to departure. Any difference in fare will apply and new travel must be for the same hotel and destination, if available.

Swoop

In a statement on the company’s website, Swoop said they are not offering cancellation due to COVID-19 travel advisories. Only passengers diagnosed with COVID-19 may cancel and receive refunds.

“We must remain true to our ultra low-cost model. To ensure that we can continue to provide all Canadians with affordable flights, we must remain rigid on our cancellation policy,” the company said.

According to Swoop’s cancellation policy, passengers are only allow to cancel flights within 24 hours of booking, if that is at least seven days before departure.

Cruises

Major cruise lines, including Princess Cruises and Viking Cruises, have cancelled trips for the next two months. Princess Cruises has cancelled operations for 60 days, which Viking has cancelled until May 1.

Airbnb

People who have booked an Airbnb may be covered by the company’s extenuating circumstances policy.

You can cancel free of charge if these conditions apply to you:

China

  • Guests with reservations booked on or before Feb. 1 for stays up until April 1

Italy

  • Guests with reservations booked on or before Feb. 29 for stays up until April 3

South Korea

  • Guests with reservations booked on or before Feb. 25 for stays up until March 23

If you’ve booked a destination outside of those areas, you might still be eligible to cancel free of charge.

According to Airbnb, guests can cancel free of charge due to COVID-19 if these conditions apply:

  • Comply with disease control restrictions implemented by governments or health authorities
  • To perform medical or disease control duties
  • Due to flight or ground transportation cancellations as a result of COVID-19
  • If you are diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19 by health authorities

@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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