How do I decide if I should still continue on with my original travel plans? I am afraid to fly because the news only speaks of how unsafe it is. How do I know if the media is accurate?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) should be your source of information in regards to which areas are deemed unsafe. Here is a link to the CDC’s page. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/faqs.html. It contains the latest travel information as it relates to the coronavirus. The CDC assesses areas based on Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 advisories as shown below:
- Level 1 – Practice Usual Precautions (for all travelers)
- Level 2 – Practice Enhanced Precautions (for ‘high risk’ travelers)
- Level 3 – Avoid Nonessential Travel (for all travelers)
The CDC updates these alerts based on the latest information available. For Level 2 advisories, the CDC recommends older adults and people of any age with SERIOUS chronic medical conditions to consider postponing nonessential travel. Since information is updated on a regular basis, we suggest that you check this link frequently, or whenever in doubt. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html
Do airlines refund passengers for airline tickets if they’re afraid to fly due to the Coronavirus?
The airlines issue ‘travel advisories’ when they feel passengers’ safety is at risk. This can be due to weather, war, or other pandemics such as the Coronavirus. The airline policies regarding refunds and vouchers change frequency so check their websites to get the most up-to-date information. Here are a few links to specific airline policies.
- Delta Airlines Travel Advisories
- American Airlines Travel Advisories
- Southwest Airlines Corona Virus Advisory
- United Airlines Travel Advisories
If I purchased travel protection insurance, am I covered for fear of traveling due to the Coronavirus?
Usually if you purchase “Cancel for any Reason” insurance you will receive a refund or credit but the policies of each insurance carrier may vary. Your insurance policy must be purchased along with your itinerary’s original deposit. Usually, if you purchased this type of coverage, you can cancel “for any reason” at anytime and receive a refund in the form of a future travel voucher or in cash (less the amount paid for the insurance itself), depending on the coverage originally purchased. If you purchased insurance following your original deposit, it likely does not include cancellations that are not covered by current travel advisories, as discussed above.
If I did not purchase travel protection insurance, am I covered for fear of traveling due to the Coronavirus?
Without the purchase of travel protection, you may or may not be entitled to a full refund of any payments made towards your trip less (minus) the amount of the minimum deposit required if you cancel outside of 30 days of your trip. Example: I paid off my trip in full last week and today I want to cancel, my trip is in 6 months, and I’m afraid to travel due to the Coronavirus. **You may receive a cash refund of the full amount paid less the total of the minimum required deposit, which is typically $200 per person** Cancellations within 30 days of departure usually become non-refundable based on the cancellation schedule outlined at the bottom of your original itinerary.
If I did not originally purchase travel protection insurance, can I purchase it now? I am afraid to travel.
You may be able to add travel protection insurance after the time period has elapsed for “cancel for any reason insurance”. The insurance that you can purchase would more than likely not be “cancel for any reason” insurance if not purchased up front, meaning, if you were to cancel, it would have to be under a covered cancellation reason with evidence, such as a medical excuse. Without any travel protection insurance, your trip is refundable based on the schedule outlined at the bottom of your itinerary. In general, insurance companies do not cover cancellations due to the “fear”of flying related to the coronavirus. If you were to contract the coronavirus, you’d be able cancel your trip as a covered medical excuse. Please contact me if you are interested in purchasing trip protection insurance.
What precautions does the CDC recommend that I take to protect myself from the Coronavirus in general and while traveling?
Avoid contact with people who are ill. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty. Most importantly, clean your hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
Also see Frequently Asked Questions, per the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/faqs.html
As your trusted travel adviser, I recommend using the CDC as your source for answers related to the Coronavirus or any other pandemics. If you have any further questions as it relates to your upcoming travel arrangements, I am happy to discuss.