How to Refund Canceled Flights and Hotel Bookings Caused by COVID-19
COVID-19 has caused thousands of flight and hotel cancellations around the world as the virus continues to spread across borders. While these cancellations have hit the tourism industry hard, it’s certainly better to be safe than sorry. Staying home might be the best decision for everyone’s sake.
If you’re one of the many travelers with canceled flights and hotel bookings because of COVID-19, here’s how you can get a refund on your tickets and reservations:
The rule of thumb is that, if the airline was the one that canceled your booking, you should be given a full refund. Local airlines have canceled a number of flights bound for South Korea, China, Hong Kong, and Macau after the government announced a number of travel bans on these COVID-19 affected countries. Travel bans for Japan and Italy are currently in talks.
For those with canceled flights on Cebu Pacific, you can rebook or reroute these flights to a date of your choosing or refund the tickets in full via Cebu Pacific’s Manage Booking portal. You can also store the value of the ticket in a travel fund to be applied to future flights. You just need your booking details to log in and change the status of your ticket. You can also call the customer service hotline at 8702-0888.
Philippine Airlines is offering rebooking and rerouting options for canceled flights with service fees waived. But for full refunds, you can contact the PAL reservations hotline at 8855-8888. Refund requests for canceled flights must be done as soon as possible as the deadline for refunds for flights bound for South Korea is on March 28.
AirAsia allows customers to travel on the next available flight without additional charges or retain the value of the fare via the AirAsia Credit Account where the value can be used toward a flight going to a different destination. Refunds are also offered for canceled flights, and the value should return to your bank account, credit card, or debit card. The refund amount may vary depending on the departure date, so it's best to refund your tickets as soon as possible.
Refunds for accommodation cancellations are a little more complicated. Hotels rarely cancel bookings unlike airlines. If you canceled a reservation, your refund will depend on the hotel's or inn’s policies.
Hotel cancellations will depend mainly on the hotel you choose to book with, but for those who booked hotels via travel service websites like Agoda, there are refund policies in place in case of emergency situations. For Agoda, the cancellation due date is usually 14 days prior to check in, and cancellations made after the due date will be subject to penalties.
“Unless specifically mentioned otherwise in the cancellation policy, cancellation requests submitted via any of the means above, prior to the due date noted on your confirmation, will normally be refunded 100 percent of the cost of their stay (Agoda does not charge a processing fee for cancellations) within 10 days of receiving the request," states the refund policy. "Any cancellation request submitted after the due date noted on your confirmation will also be processed within 10 days, and any applicable penalty charge will be deducted from the amount refunded.”
You can contact Agoda at +44 (0)20 3027 7900 or directly contact your hotel for further information.
Traveloka’s website and app offer a cancel and refund option under the My Booking tab. Cancellations may incur fees depending on the refund policy of the hotel you booked. The processing time for cancellations and refunds depends on the country, but it’s usually around 30 working days.
You can contact Traveloka at 8246-9057 or its 24/7 online chat service.
Booking.com has different cancellation policies per booking. Some bookings have a “free-cancellation” offer. According to Booking.com: “If your booking is no longer free to cancel or is non-refundable, you may incur a cancellation fee. Any cancellation fees are determined by the property. You will pay additional costs to the property.
You can also log in to Booking.com's online customer service help center for further questions.
Airbnb refunds usually depend on the host, but the platform will waive cancellation penalties in case of emergencies or unexpected circumstances, of which “epidemic disease or illness” is considered. “Any updates to our policy regarding the outbreak of a disease, and the scope of policy application, will be determined based on announcements by the World Health Organization and local authorities,” stated Airbnb.
After cancelling your reservation on Airbnb and citing your emergency reason, you should be notified if your cancellation qualifies for a penalty-free refund. Claims must be made within 14 days of cancellation.