Coronavirus and cancelling your flight – what are your options

Here at SpareFare, we have been flooded by messages from travellers all over the globe asking for advice about cancelling or changing your flights and holidays to avoid travelling to areas affected by the coronavirus, so we put together this quick guide about the various options available. We will be updating this article as new information becomes available.


Can I cancel my flight due to the coronavirus?


The short answers is yes, you can always cancel your flight. If you do not want to go, no one can force you. The question you should be asking is – Will I get a refund if I cancel my flight due to the coronavirus? That’s a trickier question and the answer will depend on what airlines you are flying with.


Most airlines will not refund your ticket price if you cancel your flight


This is true for the majority of airlines. Once you buy your ticket, it is non-refundable, unless you have a special flexi-type ticket. It is not possible to buy this flexible status as an add on – you either purchased it at the same time as buying your flight, or you cannot buy it at all. What you can do, however, is check whether the airline will refund you some government and airport taxes if you cancel. Just be prepared that the money may not be much. To check whether you can get your taxes back, please contact your airline directly, not SpareFare – we cannot make any decisions about your flight!

If the airline canceled your flight, you will at least be entitled to a flight voucher that you can use toward a future flight.  All the major airlines like United Airlines, British Airways, Air Canada, Aer Lingus, El Al, etc, have issued COVID vouchers that will not expire for several years after the issuance.  This will allow you to rebook your trip without loosing money.  


Some airlines have special rules about flights going to areas affected by the coronavirus


For example, Delta, United and American airlines will waive fees for travellers booked to South Korea through late April. Travellers can cancel their flights or change their travel dates without paying any fees. Korean Air is making refunds for flights to China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. To check if your airline has made any concessions for flights to specific destinations, just visit their website – the information will be clearly displayed on the home page.


I will lose all my money if I cancel my flight, do I have any other options?


If your airline is refusing to refund your payment for a flight going to a coronavirus infected area, you can sell your flight to someone else. In order to sell your flight, your airline must allow passenger name changes - this is how a flight is transferred from one passenger to another. Here is a full list of airlines which allow name changes. As long as your airline is on the list, you can list your flight on SpareFare and we will help you find buyers. If your airline is not on the list, this means that it does not allow name changes and you are not able to sell your flight. Here you can read more about how exactly selling your flight on SpareFare works.


You can sell your hotel booking, too


If you have booked a hotel reservation as well, you can sell that, too. All hotels allow the change of the name of the main passenger under the reservation. If you have booked through the likes of or Expedia, the name change is done online through your account. If you have booked your reservation with the hotel directly, you can call reception to give them the name of the new person who is going in your place. Here is more detailed information on selling your hotel room.


Ruined holiday? Buy your next one for half-price! 


If you have had to cancel your holiday because of the coronavirus disruptions, you've found the perfect place to plan your next one! All flights, hotel rooms and package holidays sold on SpareFare are 30% to 60% cheaper than if you were to buy them directly from the airlines and hotels! This is because they are sold by travellers like you, who are willing to sell them at a discount - otherwise, they risk losing everything they've paid. As long as you are flexible, you can find absolutely amazing holiday bargains here! Why don't you see what luck has in store for you and check out our flights and hotel deals? 

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