COVID-19 has impacted travel plans for so many. If you have had your trip plans altered due to the pandemic, you may be wondering what you can do. We’ve put together some tips and resources to help if you’re wondering about cancellations, refunds, credits and more.
Check with your travel provider. Most companies have been proactive with posting updates as it relates to COVID-19 on their website. If you have questions contact the company you booked through to see what your options are if you travel has been affected, Review the refund and cancellation policy to see what your rights are. Travel providers are offering refunds or vouchers for future travel for cancelled trips. Here’s some specific information that may help address your situation:
- Airlines must offer full refunds for cancelled flights. If your airline is failing to issue a refund, report them to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
- Hotels, motels, and other lodging facilities may have relaxed their cancellation policies in light of the recent pandemic. Some have offered to waive change and cancellation fees for customers who have to postpone or cancel their booking. Check with the place of lodging for available options.
- Cruise lines may offer refunds or credit vouchers for a future excursion. Before accepting a credit or voucher for future travel, make sure the expiration date is far out enough that you can use it. More information on your rights when booking a cruise is available from the Federal Maritime Commission.
- Amtrak can be contacted at 1-800-USA-RAIL to process cancellations and refunds. Customers that change their reservation before May 31, 2020 will have the change fees waived.
Read over your travel insurance policy. Check your policy to see what is covered and to see if it includes pandemic exclusion. Some insurance companies explicitly state epidemics and pandemics are excluded reasons for canceling a trip. Most standard travel insurance does not provide coverage if you choose not to travel because of fears or concerns.
Need More Help?
Contact your travel provider or booking agency first to resolve any issues. Keep in mind that they may be swamped with handling matters relating to the pandemic and it may take some time to get matters resolved. Customer service hours and procedures may have changed due to COVID-19, so try to stay patient and considerate. Have your information ready before making contact and keep records on who you speak to and what procedures will be made to resolve the issue.
If the matter is not resolved, contact your credit card issuer or financial institution to see if there are any options available. Business Consumer Alliance provides free complaint mediation services and makes it easy to file a complaint. Or you can leave a review at checkbca.org if you want to let others know your experience. Lastly, filing a complaint with state and federal regulators helps them track potential violators of consumer protection laws.
About Business Consumer Alliance
Business Consumer Alliance (BCA) is a non-profit company that started in 1928. The broad purpose of BCA is to promote business self-regulation. BCA's mission is achieved by assisting consumers in resolving complaints with businesses and using that complaint information, along with other relevant information such as customer reviews, to forecast business reliability. With community support, BCA can identify trustworthy and ethical businesses and warn the public to avoid unscrupulous businesses whose purpose is to defraud the marketplace. BCA also helps businesses promote themselves by providing services and tools to protect their business and reach out to their customers. BCA obtains its funding from member businesses who support the mission and purpose of the organization and who agree to abide by high standards of ethical business practices.