The Centers for Disease Control is advising postponement of nonessential travel to Mexico, and all major U.S. airlines are allowing ticketed customers to postpone their trips or change their destinations, at least for the next few weeks.
European airlines are doing the same, Bloomerg reports.
Nobody is offering refunds because of the swine flu. But most airlines are permitting passengers who hold tickets for travel to Mexico within a specified period (which varies by airline) to reschedule the same routing or to apply the value of the ticket to a new destination within one year. In other words, if you’re not sure what you want to do, you can cancel the trip in return for a voucher equal to the cost of the ticket and good for one year.
A notable exception is US Airways, which is permitting rescheduling or rerouting within two weeks only.
There are variations in the dates of travel that these policies apply to, ranging from May 6 to May 20, though I suspect the earlier dates may be extended. A few airlines have restrictions on the dates that tickets were sold; if you bought after April 24 to 26, when the epidemic was already known to be spreading, you may be out of luck. Some airlines are including travel to all Mexico destinations; a few are listing specific cities, though they seem to cover all or most of their destinations.
As of this writing, here’s what the airlines are saying:
Alaska: Waivers on travel through May 20. Full policy.
American: Waivers on travel through May 6 on tickets bought on or before April 24. Full policy.
Continental: Travel through May 16 with destinations in Mexico listed individually. Full policy.
Delta: Travel through May 6. Full policy.
Northwest: Travel through May 6. Full policy.
Spirit: Travel through May 6 to Cancun, its only destination in Mexico. Full policy.
United: Travel through May 15 on tickets purchased on or before April 26. Full policy.
US Airways: Travel through May 8 with rescheduling required within two weeks of original travel date and destinations in Mexico listed individually. Full policy.
Cruise lines are not allowing changes, but are cancelling port calls in Mexico, reports Gene Sloan at USA Today’s Cruise Log blog.