Airlines around the world are suspending flights to and from China as the number of coronavirus cases increase rapidly.
Some airlines have halted flights completely but others are allowing refunds, date changes or destination alterations.
ABTA, the UK’s travel trade association, said passengers due to travel on package holidays to mainland China – not Macau and Hong Kong – should speak to their travel agent who should be able to offer alternatives, and if not, then a full refund.
Image: Several airlines have suspended bookings on flights to China
A statement added that passengers who booked flights directly through an airline and are due to travel imminently should contact the airline to discuss their options.
Sky News breaks the different policies down:
BA halted all its daily direct flights to Shanghai and Beijing from 29 January, the same day the Foreign Office warned against all but essential travel to the country.
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The airline said the cancellations would last until 31 January while it assesses the situation.
On BA’s website there were no direct flights to China available to book in January and February.
Image: A pilot parks an aircraft at the unloading area of the Wuhan Tianhe International Airport
Passengers flying between 29 January and 23 February can rebook onto another BA-operated flight to the same destination – direct or non-direct.
The airline is also offering full refunds for passengers flying in that time period.
Passengers should contact BA if they booked directly, or their travel agent, to rebook or get a refund.
Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon
Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific said it will be progressively reducing flights to and from mainland China by 50% or more from 30 January until the end of March.
The autonomous Chinese region’s three other main carriers – Cathay Dragon, Hong Kong Airlines and Hong Kong Express – said they will also cut capacity, meaning flights will go from about 480 weekly flights to about 240 from 30 January.
Image: Shoppers in Hong Kong wear face masks as the government shut down parts of the border with China
Image: Hundreds of construction workers are building a new hospital in Wuhan which should be ready soon
Cathay and Cathay Dragon said the reduction will last until the end of March.
Their passengers will be able to get full refunds if they contact them, and will be able to rebook or book to another destination without charge before 31 March as long as the new travel date is on or before 31 May.
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The UK-based airline has not said it is cancelling flights to China but has urged customers travelling there, and Hong Kong, to contact their team.
It said any Virgin or codeshare flights to, from and through China and Hong Kong from 22 January to 29 February can be rebooked to a date no later than 31 March.
Passengers can also change their destination as long as it is before 31 March, or they can request a full refund before 29 February.
The Chinese airline is still running flights from the UK and the rest of the world to China but is offering full refunds for passengers who purchased tickets before 28 January.
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The Finnish airline is cancelling its three weekly flights from Helsinki to Beijing Daxing Airport from 5 February and two weekly flights to Nanjing from 8 February until 29 March.
It offers non-direct flights from London to China via Helsinki.
Image: Scientists in China are working on a vaccine for the coronavirus
However, it will continue to fly to Beijing Capital Airport and Shanghai daily, twice a day to Hong Kong and twice weekly to Guangzhou.
Affected passengers can change their flight dates to after 31 May, they can choose a different route or apply for a full refund.
Air France and KLM
The two airlines, owned by one company, are offering to exchange or refund tickets for travel to or from China up until 29 February.
KLM has cancelled all flights to Wuhan until March but is still flying to Beijing and Shanghai via codeshare flights.
Air France is using KLM planes to fly to Shanghai and Beijing, and its website is still offering flights to Wuhan via codeshare flights.
The Chicago-based airline has suspended 24 direct US flights to Beijing, Chengdu, Hong Kong and Shanghai between 1-8 February, due to a “significant decline in demand”.
Passengers will be allowed to claim refunds for its non-direct flights to Wuhan from 22 January to 29 March.
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Travellers on flights to Beijing, Chengdu and Shanghai between 24 January and 29 February can get full refunds, reschedule or change destinations.
If flying to Hong Kong, United passengers due to fly between 28 January and 29 February can change the date of their flight for free or alter the destination, which may include a difference in fee.
The airline’s 33 non-stop flights a week to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong from Canada, will be reduced to “better match capacity with expected demand”.
Passengers will be notified and provided with alternative travel options, the airline said.
Source : Sky News