Can You Cancel Your Flight Because Of The Coronavirus?

Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi, Getty Images

As of Friday morning, the coronavirus outbreak in China has resulted in at least 26 deaths and 800 others sickened by the illness, according to health officials. What does that mean for you if you've got travel plans to China?

In response to the outbreak, Chinese authorities have restricted flights and trains to and from Wuhan in central China, where the first few people affected had either shopped or worked at a local market. In the U.S, five airports are now screening passengers flying from Wuhan: San Francisco International, Los Angeles International, John F. Kennedy International, Chicago O’Hare International, and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International. (London’s Heathrow Airport has created a separate arrival area to screen passengers arriving from Wuhan, too.)

Wondering how coronavirus might affect your immediate travel plans?

Two international airlines, Cathay Pacific and China Airlines, are cancelling some flights and offering refunds to those passengers affected, in case you’re flying on either.

Technically, yes, you can cancel other flights, but this may mean it would have to be at your own expense.

Travel insurance, generally speaking, won’t cover changes or cancellations in response to fears of the virus. (Travel health insurance, however, will cover any medical expenses in the event you catch the virus, but let’s assume that won’t happen.)

And if you’re worried about catching the virus itself, here’s why it’s time to get a flu shot.


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