Delta and then JetBlue have announced travel waivers for travelers booked to the Dominican Republic.
Delta issued an advisory, saying, “Due to recent events in Punta Cana, travel may be impacted to/from/through [Punta Cana].” For travel through August 15, 2019, travelers may rebook their trip no later than November 20, 2019. Travel must also begin no later than November 20. It’s offering customers the chance to remain on their current flight, change to a different flight (a one-time change) or cancel the trip and use the value towards a future flight (with a one-year window to use from the original issue date).
Note: Delta also flies into Casa de Campo, Santiago, and Santo Domingo; however, no advisories were issued for these destinations. ABC News reports that Delta officials said concerned passengers headed to these airports can reach out directly to the airline to make changes.
ABC additionally reports that JetBlue is also allowing customers to cancel their flights to the Dominican Republic without a cancellation fee and get a credit for future travel, or customers can rebook their flight without a change fee. JetBlue flies into La Romana, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, Santiago and Santo Domingo.
According to Live and Let’s Fly, American and United promised to work with customers on a case-by-case basis to potentially re-accommodate, but neither issued an official waiver.
As Travel Agent reported earlier, recent tourist deaths in the Dominican Republic have caused concern among consumers who were considering or headed to the destination. Since this story was published, the reported death toll has been updated to at least 10, according to CNN. It’s important to note that at least six deaths have been the result of heart-related causes.
While several advisors that we spoke with said they would continue to sell the DR, the deaths appear to have an impact with the way consumers are booking. According to a report by ForwardKeys, which analyzes over 17 million flight bookings a day, bookings for July and August from the U.S. to the Dominican Republic have fallen by 74.3 percent compared to the same time in 2018. The sample size was flights booked June 1 – 19. Bookings from April 1 – May 31 were actually up 2.8 percent.
ForwardKeys also reports a spike in cancellations: 51.2 percent over the same period. It continues, saying that Jamaica, the Bahamas and Aruba have all seen bookings increase by at least 26 percent over this same stretch.