Coronavirus (Covid-19) Q&A

At CheapAir.com, our commitment to customers is to provide the best information we have on the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak.

airplane at sunset

Here’s some helpful information we’ve collected from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), the two authorities on COVID-19 risk and transmission. **UPDATE 3/16/20: Please limit your air travel at this time to only essential trips. We will be updating this link as the situation unfolds, and will give you information you need to plan later in the year. Again, we ask that people do not travel unless required.**

Should I cancel my trip?
Probably not. If you are in good health and not traveling to regions with the highest numbers of cases, there’s little risk to you. For the moment, the CDC has only issued advisories against travel to China (the epicenter of the disease), and a Level 3 advisory (avoid nonessential travel) to Iran, South Korea and the Schengen countries of Europe (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, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City).

Japan has a Level 2 advisory – which means travelers should “reconsider their plans.” The CDC indicates that people with respiratory problems like asthma or chronic conditions and older travelers (people 65 and above) might want to reschedule travel to Japan at this time. Otherwise, you shouldn’t have to cancel your plans.

If I have to cancel, can I get my money back on the flight I’ve already booked?
The answer to that question is that while you probably can’t get a refund, most airlines are allowing changes for free right now if your flight is leaving in the next few weeks. Keep in mind, this change fee waiver is for the cost the airlines would charge you for the change itself. You’ll still have to pay any difference in cost from your old ticket to the new.

CheapAir.com is actively following the virus and its impact on both global and domestic travel. If you have any concerns or are uncomfortable about a trip you’ve booked, let us know. CheapAir.com customers can reach out to us at help@CheapAir.com or call us at 1-CHEAPAIR. We’re happy to review all available options with you. Please be aware that many people have been affected by the new travel rules from Europe, and we’re working on giving everyone great customer service. Therefore, there may be longer than usual phone wait times. If your flight is not imminent (within 72 hours), we are asking people to utilize email to free up the phone lines.

What if I’m nervous about booking new airfare now for a trip later this year?
Some of the airlines are offering a “peace of mind” waiver for new tickets booked right now. Again, if you have questions about things, your best bet is to reach out to us. The situation is fluid, but our professional travel advisors can help you make the right decision for your situation.

What about the other countries where cases have been detected? What is my risk factor for going to any of those?
This is a big question. The virus has now spread outside China, and authorities have cautioned that we will likely see more widespread affected areas in the weeks and months ahead. Still, the overall risk to travelers is low unless you’re planning travel to a country where many cases have been reported.

Does a layover “count” as a visit to a country with a Level 2 or 3 advisory?
Yes, it does. For that reason, if you have a layover in a city in China, for instance, the CDC recommends not leaving the airport. You may still be subjected to additional screening when returning to the U.S. when your flight had a layover in one of these countries.

How can I minimize risk of infection in general while traveling?
Though some folks have invested in masks, medical professionals say this step is much more helpful to infected people who don’t want to spread the virus. The coronavirus is not airborne, but spread in droplets. If you’re healthy, a mask is only recommended if you’re actively caring for an infected person.

Instead, focus on basic hygiene. Wash your hands frequently to keep them clean using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Carry hand sanitizer that contains 60-95% alcohol if you’re unable to access soap and water. Avoid physical proximity to people that are sneezing or coughing, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

If you have to cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, and then immediately dispose of the tissue and wash your hands.

What can I do to minimize risk of infection on my flight specifically?
There’s a lot of misinformation out there, particularly about the perception of “stale” airplane cabin air being able to spread the virus. Cabin air is actually quite clean. Virtually all international airplanes are outfitted with HEPA air filters (HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters. These are the same filters used in hospital operating rooms and quite adept at keeping the air safe. Cabin air is refreshed every two to three minutes.

What you can do to further minimize risk is wipe the tray table and armrests down at your seat. The airlines are also taking extra precautions right now, but cleaning the tray table and other exposed plastic surfaces at your seat are always a good idea.

Will I be able to enter the United States if I have been to China or the Schengen countries of Europe?
Yes. If you have been to an affected area, please stay home for 14 days from the time you left an area with widespread, ongoing community spread (Level 3 Travel Health Notice countries) and practice social distancing.

What happens if someone gets sick on my flight?
If a confirmed case of Coronavirus is found on your flight when you return to the United States, you will be subjected to detainment and additional screening to make sure you are well and not going to be a risk to others.

Are cruise ships a bigger risk?
The CDC recommends travelers, particularly those with underlying health issues, defer all cruise ship travel at this time.

Should I avoid crowds?
The CDC is now recommending social distancing (a space of six feet) from other people who are exhibiting symptoms (coughing or look unwell).

What should I be prepared for if I decide to keep my business or vacation plans in place?
It is possible that normally busy attractions could be temporarily closed. Contingency plans are a must right now. If you have to travel to a Level 2 or 3 area for work, consider the possibility you might get “stuck” somewhere. Bring work with you in case you are marooned for a bit.

What if I have a fever or cough already and am planning to travel?
Please don’t travel internationally at this time. When you’re already ill, you raise the chance of getting detained and subjected to quarantine measures. Don’t travel unless you are well.

What’s going to happen with the Olympics in Japan? Will they be canceled?
It’s too early to tell. There have been rumblings that Japan may have to make some hard decisions about public attendance, but the Olympics are still months away, and at the moment there does not seem to be plans to restrict travel or cancel the Games altogether. There are many international travelers waiting for direction on the Olympics – we’ll keep people updated as we get new information.

For more up-to-date information, reference the Centers for Disease Control’s travel page and sign up for their email updates. The World Health Organization also has a useful page with advice for the public.

56 Comments

  1. I booked through Cheapoair and bought trip insurance I have not been able to get a response from cheapoair or their insurance provider regarding rescheduling as Canada issued travel advisories and nobody at either place will respond to my emails, my live chat at their customer service or the many telephone numbers they have listed. All I want is to reschedule because my flight is March 18 and if I leave on or after that date my medical insurance
    Will not cover me. I feel ignored let down and taken advantage of by this company and their insurers

    1. Hi Jacqueline. You’ve reached out to us here at CheapAir. CheapOAir is a competitor of ours. WE’re sorry we cannot help. Please reach out to us if we can provide you with any other direction.

  2. Hello I purchased the travel insurance and I need to cancel my flight. What should I do? Thank you Michelle Bisson Bartell

  3. I have tickets to Portugal in July and that is on the do not fly list. How can you not refund my ticket price. If the flight is cancelled due to health risks there is no reason my ticket should not be refunded. Basically you are charging me for an empty seat on a grounded plane. I’m pretty sure that is illegal.

    1. Hi Pamela, Right now most airline waivers are only through the end of May. We recommend you check closer to your scheduled departure to see if the airline will allow for a free change or cancellation. Waivers will change if travel is still not permitted in July. You can contact us closer to your departure at help@CheapAir.com with your 10 digit booking number. Thank you

  4. Re Booking #66445371. I have tried to call you numerous times. The most response I get is that I have to go online. I cannot cancel with the airlines directly. When I try to go online, I never get a response. Because the convention we were going to in Chicago in April was canceled, we have no need to go. With the COVD-19 virus we have been told not to fly. I am 76 with Upper Respiratory problems. My companion is equally troubled. We must cancel the flight to Chicago (AA1049 on 04-19-2020) and the return flight (UA 776 on 04-22-2020). We need a confirmation that the flights have been canceled and that the one will be refunded. We are retired and not wealthy. Please confirm the cancelation. Thank you.

    1. Hello Lewis, so sorry for your issues. I’m afraid that you did not book your ticket with us. We are CheapAir. One of our competitors is CheapOAir and this looks like one of their booking numbers. Our booking numbers are 10-digits long and would begin with #20 (for this year). Reach out to help@cheapair if you think I am in error on this. Our customer support team will try to advise you.

  5. I keep trying to cancel my flight on frontier April1, from Philadelphia to Orlando Florida. The lines are always busy and no one responds to my comments. I was going for follow ups from my Lung Cancer operation in last yr. Dr doesn’t want me to fly at this time, and I’m nervous also.

    1. Hi Mary, Did you book with us? If so, please reach out to our team directly at help@cheapair.com or 1-800-CHEAPAIR. It’s very likely that Frontier will allow you to change or cancel your ticket without penalty, but I do not think they have extended the relaxed policy to April yet.

  6. I have a flight booked and paid for from Tucson Az. to Norfolk VA. on July 1st. Will I be able to get a refund or at least a flight at a different time if this COVID-19 pandemic is still a big concern?

    1. Hi Jacqueline, If travel is still on lockdown and the advisory is not to travel, we’re confident the airlines will still have their relaxed cancellation and change policies in place. As the situation is fluid, we’re not in a position to say what the travel landscape will look like in July.

  7. I have a bookings with you from Zagreb to Split at 12:10 pm
    #87277251
    Due to Covid-19 we have cancelled the entire holiday.
    Please advise if we can get a refund.
    In trust:
    Patricia Hill

    1. Hi Patricia, this does not look like one of our tickets. Is it possible you booked with CheapOAir? We are CheapAir. Our booking reference numbers are 10 digits long and begin with #20-xxxxxxxxxx.

  8. I am supposed to be flying to Boston on April 7th. My booking number with CheapAir is 2000817831. I am in good health and am wondering if the flight will be canceled. If so, I’d like to reschedule the flight.

    1. Hi Diane, As of today your flights are still scheduled. However, we recommend you monitor your flights and reconfirm about 48 hours before departure. If you change your mind about flying, please make sure to cancel with us or the airline before your scheduled flight time to retain credit. We wish you happy and healthy travels.

  9. HI MY NAME IS LINDA FLOR I PORT TO BE RETURN TO MY COUNTRY (PERU) IN MARCH 25 BUT PERU AIRPORT IS CLOSE UNTIL MARCH 31 May I change my return fly until april 1st?

    1. Hi Linda, if you booked with us please email our support at help@CheapAir.com with your 10 digit booking number that should beging with 19xxxxxxxx or 20xxxxxxxx and our travel advisors can advise you on your options. If not booked with us please contact your travel agent or the airline directly. Best regards.

  10. I have a flight scheduled for July 11 booking number is 64745732 like to know about a possible refund it looks like we can do something this time next year our hotel is willing to accommodate if you guys can’t do anything this year I’m i’d like a refund.

    1. Hi Bill, unfortunately, that is not our booking number, our booking numbers are 10 digits long and start with 20xxxxxxxx. I think you booked with another company that has an O in their name. We have no O in our name. Since we are different companies we do not have access to your booking to assist. Please contact your travel agency or the airline directly for assistance. Best of luck.

  11. I have a trip scheduled for March 27nd 2020, which I have to cancel due to Federal lockdown of the Corona virus. It appears that I cannot reach anyone via telephone, due to this situation. Therefore, how can I get a refund?

    1. Hi Cheryl, Can you try to reach out via email to help@cheapair.com? Please reference your 10-digit booking number (it should start with a #19xxxxxxxx or a #20xxxxxxxx). We’re doing our best to process people’s requests, but as you know, things right now are taking a long time because of the sheer volume of ticketed passengers who have been affected. If you reach out via email, you can avoid phone wait times. We are receiving all emails, and are responding to the highest priority emails first.

  12. Hello this is Miguel Gonzalez i need to reschedule my flight to Dominican republic my booking number is 67185359

    1. Hi Miguel, Looking at your booking number, you didn’t book with us. Our booking numbers are 10 digits long and begin with 19 or 20xxxxxxxx. You probably booked with a similarly named competitor that has an O in their name. Please reach out to them or the airline for assistance. Thanks

  13. I have to cancel my booking number 63745342 May one 2020 may 27 YVR YEG I have been trying fo about 2 weeks Thankyou kindly Evelyn Davidson

    1. Hi Evelyn, Unfortunately, you contacted the wrong travel company. That is not our booking number, our booking numbers are 10 digits long and begin with 19xxxxxxxx or 20xxxxxxxxx. We are simply CheapAir, without an O. Please reach out to the other company or directly to the airline for assistance.

  14. I am trying to book a flight from MCO to BWI I want to book 1-way for 2- Ippl and round trip for 1 person. I cant do it on line. But no one is answering the phones.?? I am trying to fly just to take someone home and I come back home. Which route should I go about doing this?

    1. Hi Lolita, right now our travel advisors are only helping with changes and cancelations due to the high demand due to coronavirus travel restrictions. You can book new reservations on CheapAir.com but will need to make two reservations one for the people traveling oneway and another for the roundtrip. Best of luck

    1. Hi Nora, email help@CheapAir.com with your 10 digit booking number that starts with 19xxxxxxxx or 20xxxxxxxx if you booked with us so that we can look at your options. Otherwise please contact your travel agent or airline directly for assistance. If your travel is not for March or early April, we recommend waiting a bit as help desks are prioritizing service by travel date. Thanks

  15. My wife book are flight to California do to the government lockdown we are in able to go march 26th .we are trying to cancel and we can not reach anyone.

  16. I would like to cancel our flight do to lockdown in california. We were supposed to leave march 26th.

    1. Hi Courtney, I can’t locate a booking with your name in our system. If you booked with us please email help@CheapAir.com with your 10 digit booking number that starts with 19xxxxxxxx or 20xxxxxxxx asap. We often get confused with other travel brands. If you didn’t book with us please try to reach your travel agency or the airline before departure to make sure you retain credit. Thank you

    1. Hi Oumar, I tried to pull up your name and that ticket number in our system but couldn’t. We can only bring up reservations booked through us. If you booked with us please email help@CheapAir.com with your 10 digit booking number that starts with 19xxxxxxxx or 20xxxxxxxx and we can help advise on your options. We often get confused with other similarly named travel companies, if your booking number is not 10 digits long please take a look at your email confirmation for your travel agents informations. Thank you

  17. Mother denied boarding on March 6th flight. Rebooked to April 7. Unable to fly alone so I drove her back to Canada. Her travel insurance would be cancelled if she didn’t return by March 25. Since she is 88 I doubt if she will be able to travel on her own. A refund would be the best option for Elsie Desjardins.

    1. Hi Nancy, sorry to hear about that. If your mom booked with us, please email help@CheapAir.com with her 10 digit booking number that starts with 19xxxxxxxx or 20xxxxxxxx so that we can see what options the airline is offering. If she did not book with us please reach out to her travel agency or to the airline for assistance. Thanks

  18. Hi, I booked a flight Istanbul Paris for April 12 with Onetravel (they referred me to Cheapair.com)
    I would like to know if this flight can be reimbursed since I will not be able to travel outside Canada.

    Thank you. Carl Rivard

    1. Hi Carl, Can you share the booking # for your reservation with us? It should start with #20xxxxxxxx or #19xxxxxxxx and be 10-digits long.

    1. Hi Melinda, can you share your 10-digit booking number with us so we can research your booking? The booking number should begin with #20xxxxxxxx or #19xxxxxxxx (if you booked in 2019).

    1. Hi Trena, Can you share your booking number with us so we can look into this ticket? Your booking number should begin with #20xxxxxxxx or #19xxxxxxxx and be 10-digits long.

  19. Hi my fight was on march 23 and reture from vegas was 25. I tryed to cancel that flight because of the virus. I believe i filled out all the information, can someone get back to me in reguards

    Sincerely,
    Donald Paola
    702 470 3922

    1. Hi Mr. Paola, Can you share your 10-digit booking number with me here? It should begin with either a 20xxxxxxxx or 19xxxxxxxx (if you booked your ticket in 2019). You can also reach out with your flight details to us at help@cheapair.com.

    1. Hello Ms. Samuels, Can you share your 10-digit booking number with me? It should begin with 20xxxxxxxx or 19xxxxxxxx (if you booked in 2019). You can also reach out directly to our support team at help@cheapair.com.

Post a Comment