With recent news around coronavirus (COVID-19), we’re monitoring the latest updates and know you may have questions. We want to share what you can do to stay healthy, when traveling, during this time.
We have put together a guide to address your travel related concerns and to share what we know
Remember – your health is the more important thing.
Check entry restrictions
Most countries have put into place new entry restrictions due to COVID-19. Make sure you understand the requirements of every country you are planning to visit before booking any future trip. Learn more.
What to know about US President’s recent Europe ban
As of March 12, 2020, travel is banned from Europe to the US for the next 30 days. It does not apply to US citizens or legal permanent residents. The restrictions are in effect for the following nations:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
We deeply understand how frustrating this can be for those who already planned their trips for the year. These are uncertain times we are dealing with. Please note we are and will continue to deal with this together.
This 30-day suspension on travel from Europe to the US does not apply to US citizens or legal permanent residents, so it will likely not affect you. However, we understand and empathize with the reality that we are navigating uncertain times and announcements like these—regardless of whether they directly impact you or not—can be unsettling and nerve-wracking.
If it’s any consolation, we do still have travelers proceeding with their Europe trip plans; however, should you choose not to travel (or decide mid-trip that you’d like to return home), we will do everything in our power to try and secure refunds for every booking we’ve made for you (hotels, tours, restaurants, etc).
The most important thing right now—whether you choose to travel or not—is to stay safe and healthy. So please use your best judgment and know that we have a dedicated team standing by to fully support you.
Update on border closings:
As of March 21, 2020, the US-Canada border and US-Mexico border is closed to non-essential travelers. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has urged U.S. Citizens overseas to “arrange immediate return” unless they extend to remain abroad for an extended period of time.
Travel safety resources to know
· travel.state.gov For the latest information on travel advisories
· W.H.O. Coronavirus Q&A For information surrounding symptoms, how it spreads, what you can do to protect yourself, how likely you are to catch it, etc.
· NY Times For live updates on new coronavirus cases and policy
Information to Know When Having to Travel
The chose to travel or not is entirely up to you. Everyone has their reasons – whether to take care of a loved one or having to attend to an immediately emergency. We still want to make sure you are taking the necessary precautions here.
Germs can last up to seven days on any given flight. Make sure to buy wipes to clean down everything – armrest, seat belts and buckles, seat pocket, tray table, entertainment touchscreen before seating down.
While on an airplane
· Eat a healthy meal before your flight and buy healthy snacks at the airport before boarding your flight. Loading up on sugar will weaken your immune system and are more likely to get sick.
· Stayed hydrated at all times by drinking eight ounces of water per hour and avoid alcohol. It helps to keep your mucous membranes in your throat and nasal passengers moist and from drying out.
· Use a wipe or paper towel to open the bathroom door when entering or exiting. Wash your hands after.
· Opt to sitting at the window seat if you can and avoid the aisle seat. Avoid seating near the bathrooms, where people are usually waiting in line to use it and can get crowded.
What you can do:
· Practice good hygiene. Make sure to wash your hands frequently for 20 seconds. Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough. Carry hand sanitizer at all times. The CDC recommends using hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol. Please stay home if you are sick.
· Avoid touching your face or rubbing your eyes. If you do have to rub your eyes and touch your face, always use hand sanitizers before doing so
· Cover when sneezing or coughing. If possible, cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard. Use your elbow only if you have to. The clothing on your elbow will contain infectious virus that can be passed on for up to a week or more.
We recommend to think it real through and to use your better judgement before traveling during this time. While tickets are cheaper, take as much precautions as you possibly can.
What to know about flight cancellations and change fees
These are major airlines who are offering waivers for flight change fees in light of the coronavirus:
· JetBlue Waiving fees for changes and cancelled bookings for travel through April 30, 2020, regardless of when you purchased your ticket. And no change or cancel fees on new flights booked through March 31, 2020 for travel until September 8, 2020.
· American Airlines Waiving change fees (although fare differences may apply) for travelers who book flights between March 1 and March 16, with the original travel scheduled between March 1, 2020 and January 26, 2021. The changes must be made at least 14 days prior to the outbound travel date. Full refunds are being offered for flights to Hong Kong or China.
· United Airlines Waiving change fees and fare differences for travelers who have booked flights to Northern Italy, China, Hong Kong, and South Korea through June 30—as long as the new flight is in the same ticketing class as the original booking. Full refunds are being offered for flights to China, even if tickets were advertised as nonrefundable.
· Delta Airlines Waiving change fees (although fare differences may apply) for travelers heading to Beijing, Shanghai, Incheon, and Italy through April 30. Travelers also have the option of cancelling their booking and applying the value towards the purchase of a new ticket within a year of the original issue date
· Air France Waiving change fees for travelers to China and Italy. For China in particular, flights booked on or before February 19 (for travel dates through May 31) can be postponed at no extra cost until June 30, or refunded for the full amount.
Will travel insurance protect me?
Standard travel insurance don’t cover disruptions due to global health crises— even if W.H.O has declared COVID-19 a pubic health emergency. People should know that it possible to cancel your trip if you booked your flight before January 21, 2020, considering the coronavirus outbreak is a known event. Those who bought insurance after this date will not be covered, unless you purchased the Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) add-on option. CFAR has to added between 7 to 21 days before purchasing a trip and will be reimbursed up to 75% of the total price, generally costing between 5 to 10% of the total trip’s cost to cancel.
Unfortunately, your credit card insurance will not reimburse your trip due to the coronavirus.
Is it still safe to travel?
Countries like China, Italy, and South Kore are classified at an “Avoid Travel” Level 3; Japan is classified at Level 2 for those most susceptible to the virus (e.x travelers over the age of 65+, or with preexisting conditions).
Important considerations if you have to travel to the countries above:
· You can still contract the virus being asymptomatic and transmit it to others who may be more vulnerable, regardless of age
· It’s advised to self-quarantine for 14 days when you return, according to the World Health Organization (W.H.O.), is
In the meantime, go wash your hands like you mean it, don’t touch your face, and stay healthy!!
Airlines requiring passengers to wear a face mask
As of May 4, 2020, employees and customers are required to wear face masks.
Flight attendants are required to wear face masks.
Changes to boarding and seat assignments have been implemented to promote social distancing through until May 31.
As of May 4, 2020, employees and customers are required to wear face masks.
Middle seats will be blocked, while reducing the number of passengers per flight flight. Customers will be boarded 10 passengers at a time, while reducing the food and beverage services to decrease interaction between passengers and crew.
As of May 11, 2020, employees and customers are required to wear face masks.
Masks will be handed out to everyone. Some kiosks at ticket counters have been turned off to encourage social distancing.
As of May 11, 2020, employees and customers are required to wear face masks. They are encouraging everyone to bring their own hand sanitizer and mask
As of May 8,, 2020, employees and customers are required to wear face masks
Every other row will be blocked and will require passengers to agree to a “health acknowledgment” before checking in, to certify that they have not been exposed to COVID-19.
Passengers are required to comply with a Canadian government mandate – when flying through, to or from Canada to wear a non-medical face mask or face covering over their nose and mouth.