JetBlue has announced that it will suspend all change and cancellation fees for new flight bookings made through March 11 for travel completed by June 1.
The airline said that the policy is “designed to give customers confidence” that they will not be charged any fees for later changes or cancellations, given the evolving concerns regarding the coronavirus outbreak. The move will apply to all fares offered by JetBlue, including Blue Basic, which generally does not allow for any changes or cancellations. Flights booked through JetBlue Vacations will also be allowed changes or cancellations with no fees.
How it works: Customers who book in the next two weeks will receive a full travel credit should they need to cancel their trip, and customers who wish to change their plans can apply the full amount from their original booking to a different itinerary, although fare differences may apply. Customers who have bought a package through JetBlue Vacations can contact JetBlue to understand the cancel and change policies for rental cars, hotels, and other travel products that are part of their package, the airline said.
JetBlue also noted that it has activated its pandemic response team, which is monitoring the situation in real time and working with key stakeholders to determine any further action. The airline is also promoting handwashing and healthy hygiene practices among its crewmembers and continuing to ensure compliance with aircraft cleaning procedures.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus, officially named COVID-19, a public health emergency of international concern in January 30. In a media briefing Thursday, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that, while the organization is continuing to monitor the evolution of the epidemic closely, it is still too early to declare the situation a pandemic.
“Using the word pandemic carelessly has no tangible benefit, but it does have significant risk in terms of amplifying unnecessary and unjustified fear and stigma, and paralyzing systems,” Dr. Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “It may also signal that we can no longer contain the virus, which is not true. We are in a fight that can be won if we do the right things.”
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the WHO have also called for cooperation on a measured, consistent and proportionate response to the public health threat posed by the outbreak.
There are currently over 81,100 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in 38 countries worldwide, including Algeria, which marks the first country in the African region to report a case of the illness. There are also now officially more new cases reported from countries outside of China than from within China. There have been 2,762 people killed by the illness thus far, 44 of whom were outside of China.