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Airlines offer increased flexibility in face of spreading coronavirus

March 3, 2020

Concerned about booking travel in the face of the expanding coronavirus epidemic? Some U.S. airlines have relaxed their change and cancellation fees to give prospective flyers extra peace of mind.

The following U.S. airlines which operate routes to Costa Rica are offering flexibility on newly booked tickets, even if they’re to regions not directly impacted by COVID-19:

  • Alaska Airlines has suspended change and cancellation fees for new ticket purchases made between Feb. 27 through March 12, 2020. The waiver applies to travel through June 1, 2020.
  • American Airlines will waive change fees up to 14 days prior to travel for customers who purchase travel between March 1 and March 16.
  • JetBlue has suspended change and cancellation fees for new flight bookings between Feb. 27 through March 11, 2020, for travel completed by June 1, 2020. Customers will receive a full travel credit should they need to cancel their trip.
  • Delta Air Lines is waiving change fees for all international itineraries purchased between March 1 and March 31, 2020.

Airlines have also cancelled, suspended, or reduced routes as the virus spreads worldwide. This has primarily impacted flights to China, South Korea and Italy.

This is a developing situation, so check with your airline for the latest information.

While there are no cases of the novel coronavirus in Costa Rica, COVID-19 is expected to have a major economic impact worldwide. The OECD on Monday lowered its global GDP forecast by half a percentage point to 2.4%, the lowest rate since the 2008-09 financial crisis.

Costa Rica relies heavily on international tourism. The Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) says the industry comprises an estimated 8.2% of Costa Rica’s gross domestic product (GDP) and creates 9% of its jobs.

This post was updated on March 3 at 10 a.m. to include Delta Air Lines’s change-fee waiver. 

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