More information about COVID-19, or coronavirus, is coming out every day. Right now, there’s no way to know what we’ll know tomorrow or what will happen several months out. Sharon and I have a trip planned in about two months, but how can we book airfare if we don’t know if there’s going to be an outbreak where we are or where we’re traveling to and who might be under a quarantine?
JetBlue is the first airline to enact a policy that takes the uncertainty out of the equation of booking tickets for future travel.
JetBlue put out a statement regarding future travel bookings:
Due to evolving coronavirus concerns, we are suspending change and cancel fees for all new flight bookings made between February 27, 2020 and March 11, 2020 for travel through June 1, 2020.
While there are no current travel restrictions to the locations we fly, customers can book with confidence on jetblue.com and jetbluevacations.com and know that changes or cancellations will be allowed without penalty should the situation change.
This the most reasonable response to the coronavirus that I’ve seen. People have events they need to attend or vacations planned but are hesitant to book travel because who knows what will happen. Making it clear that any travel booked for the next two weeks will be able to be canceled without any penalty if the situation changes give peace of mind to people in uncertain times.
JetBlue has confirmed on Twitter this policy covers both cash and award tickets.
So how can we tell JetBlue that we’re appreciative of their understanding? By booking a ticket, that’s how.
As I said before, we have travel plans where a JetBlue flight would fit our needs. I went and booked an award ticket today using our TrueBlue points.
I didn’t book any trips I wasn’t going to take, but I figure by booking today, I’d show my appreciation to JetBlue for having a common-sense approach to this situation. If the coronavirus situation gets worse, these flights are going to be canceled anyway. If everything clears up, I’ll fly on the ticket I booked.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone moan about this or that place closing, yet when I ask when was the last time they went there, I’ll typically get a non-answer or a bunch of hemming and hawing. I don’t want to hear how you are sad a company went out of business when you didn’t use their services for the past decade. Time to put your money where your mouth is. If you appreciate businesses making bold decisions, it’s up to us to support those companies.
Following in JetBlue’s footsteps, Alaska Airlines just amended its ticket change policies for tickets booked before March 12th. You can book a ticket any time between now and then and cancel it for credit good for another flight up to a year from the issuance of the credit.
Hopefully, the other U.S. airlines will follow suit. They have to realize if the problem gets worse, they’re going to have to refund these tickets anyway or face a metric ton of lousy PR coverage. Why not get out in front of the problem and announce a policy now that you’re willing to stick to. That way, passengers will be able to make plans and hope that things are going to turn out fine.
Because besides using hand sanitizer, washing our hands and not touching our faces, that’s all we can do right now to protect ourselves.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary