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How the Coronavirus Is Impacting Travel

Guest Blogger


The worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus - or COVID-19, is disrupting travel in a major way.

President Donald Trump has ordered travel restrictions to the U.S. from Europe for 30 days through early April for over two dozen countries, although American citizens who have been screened prior to coming to the U.S. are exempt.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned travelers to defer longer plane trips and cruise ships worldwide. The CDC also recommends avoiding non-essential travel to China and Iran. Meanwhile, Italy, one of the places hardest hit by the virus, has imposed a temporary travel ban on the entire country. With the number of cases of coronavirus rapidly increasing and the situation in many countries unsettled, it may be necessary to postpone or cancel travel plans. Here's information on airline cancellation policies, the status of major events and precautions to take if you're considering travel:

Airlines Changing Cancellation Policies
If you need to cancel a flight, you might be able to get your money back, depending on where you're traveling, the date of your flight and your ticket status. Many airlines have canceled flights to Asia and Italy. In these cases, you might be issued a full refund.


If you have a flight booked in the coming months and would like to reschedule, some major U.S. airlines are waiving flight change fees or modifying their cancellation policies due to the coronavirus. For instance, there are no change fees for flights booked during the month of March on American Airlines, United and Delta.


You'll want to check your airline's website for the latest cancellation policies and contact your airline directly about any refunds.

Events Postponed or Canceled
Because of the pandemic, a spate of festivals, conventions and other events have been pushed back or canceled altogether. Some major events that won't go on include SXSW in Austin, Texas; the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament in Indian Wells, Calif.; and even the premier of the latest James Bond film, "No Time to Die," which has been pushed back until November. The fate of the Summer Olympics, scheduled for late July/early August in Tokyo, remains uncertain, with organizers saying they are committed to holding the event, albeit with the possibility of limited or no spectators.

Also, the United Nations has dropped in-person preliminary meetings through April to prepare for the global climate summit scheduled for November in Glasgow, Scotland, and the Facebook F8 Developer Conference set for early May in San Jose, Calif., will not be held; instead, the social media giant will offer locally hosted events, videos and live-streamed programming.

Cruise Ships Returning to Dock
Several major cruise lines, including Princess and Viking, have put on hold their sailings for a 60-day period.

If you would like to cancel or reschedule a cruise beyond these self-imposed restrictions, they are also offering more flexible policies to receive refunds or rebook sailing dates.

Cancellation policies vary by cruise line, so you should check their websites for the latest updates.

Health and Safety Tips for Travelers If you plan on flying or taking a cruise soon, the World Health Organization strongly recommends you take the following precautions to safeguard yourself and fellow passengers: If you have a fever or cough, remain at home and avoid traveling. Have trouble breathing, or a cough or fever? Seek medical care as soon as you can, and be sure to share your travel history with your healthcare provider. Wash your hands frequently, either with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your face, particularly your eyes, nose and mouth. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or elbow when sneezing or coughing. If you're using a tissue, immediately throw it away and wash your hands.

Coping with COVID-19
The coronavirus's impact on travel is far-reaching, and its full effects are not yet known. Should you need to reschedule or cancel your travel plans — whether for business or leisure — you might be able to get a partial or full refund or have change fees waived. If you are planning to travel, stay on top of updates, and remain informed as to what you can do to protect yourself, your family and others around you.

All content provided in this blog is supplied by Jackie Lam and is for informational purposes only. Barclays takes no position as to the views, and makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in the blog or found by following any link within this blog.

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