Coronavirus: recovering your costs

In the unfortunate event that your travel plans have been affected by the Coronavirus, there are steps that you can take to recover your pre-paid expenses. 

Many travel service providers are offering penalty-free options for customers to amend or cancel their travel arrangements due to Coronavirus.

Here are the next steps you could consider
  • Get in touch with your booking agent.  We recommend you contact your travel agent or travel provider regarding the best option in cancelling or altering your trip. Some booking agents are waiving cancellation or amendment fees. Certain agents are offering travel credits to be used within 12 months.
  • Contact your airline directly. Many airlines are offering refunds for travel to and from mainland China, and some are also offering to waive cancellation fees to other countries in relation to Coronavirus. When you purchase a flight, an airline is responsible for getting you to your destination. All your usual consumer rights apply when you purchase domestic flights and international flights departing Australia or New Zealand.
  • Contact your accommodation provider directly. A growing number of hotel providers have issued statements that they will offer free cancellations on all bookings in Wuhan or in greater China, and many providers are evolving their policy on Coronavirus daily.
  • Speak with your cruise company. With known cases of Coronavirus onboard a cruise ship, cruise lines have swiftly reacted to the outbreak and started implementing their own precautions and policies. Many cruise lines have canceled or altered scheduled itineraries and have issued statements to the effect that guests on canceled cruises will receive full refunds.
  • Check your details. Some airlines are proactively contacting customers about flight rearrangements.  Make sure they can get in touch by ensuring your details are up-to-date in the “online account” or “manage booking” area of the airline’s website.  you're under 50 years of age. 
  • Enquire with your credit card company. If you booked your travel with your credit card, you might be able to lodge a dispute for cancelled or unfulfilled services. Log into your internet banking or call your institution for instructions on how to do this.
Some things to remember
  • Some countries have travel restrictions. Many countries are restricting entry to visitors who have visited China in the previous two weeks, or to all visitors without a medical clearance certificate from a doctor.  
  • Know your recent movements. You may be asked to declare your travel history over the last 14 days.
  • Leave enough time. If you are travelling soon, you may find that mobile and self-print boarding passes have been disabled, and additional screening procedures may cause delays. In this instance make sure you have enough time to check-in at the airport at the check-in counter.
  • Don’t delay. There might be a cut-off date that you need to reschedule flights or travel arrangements, so check with your booking agent, airline, or accommodation provider.

  • Get organised. While you are trying to obtain refunds or change travel arrangements, it helps to have your booking reference handy at all times, including the date of purchase. This will speed up any processes.

Refund and travel rearrangement processes will likely differ depending on when and which company you have booked with, and which destination you were travelling to.

Stay Up to date

Understand the Coronavirus. There is a lot of information and resources in relation to the Coronavirus, which includes a lot of false information about the virus. We recommend authoritative resources such as the World Health Organization (WHO), which provides advice to countries and individuals on measures to protect health and prevent the spread of this outbreak and answers frequently asked questions.

Australians should visit smartraveller.gov.au, the official advice site for Australians living and travelling overseas. You can subscribe to your destination and our news and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to receive latest updates on the situation as they occur.

New Zealanders should visit safetravel.govt.nz. The official advice site for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas. Register your travel plans so the government can account for your safety and wellbeing. You can subscribe here to receive updates on travel advisories.

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