The outbreak of Coronavirus (Covid-19), and the resulting measures being put in place to curb the spread, has left many business travelers understandably concerned about how their travel plans will be affected. FCM has complied this list of frequently asked questions to help you prepare.
Please always check with your own company or procurement travel manager for your employer’s travel policy and crisis plan.
Q: Will airlines refund travel disrupted by the coronavirus?
A: Airlines will usually refund or give a credit for the disrupted trip, but it does depend on the individual airline and the level of disruption. It is up to each airline to determine the level of disruption or risk necessary to offer refunds. However, you will be eligible for a refund if your flight is canceled.
Many airlines, have issued travel waivers for travelers who had plans to visit affected areas. For more information, view airline policies.
Q: How can I get a refund for my flight if I booked with FCM Travel Solutions?
A: We are limited to airline policy on all tickets, therefore we can only offer you free changes/cancelations and/or refunds if the airline has released a policy for us to do so.
Should you request a refund through our company, we will look at what the airline has stated and follow what they’ve approved. If necessary, we can reach out to the airline regarding your individual situation. We can advocate your case to the airline, but unfortunately, we are not able to offer anything that the airline isn’t offering.
Q: Do any airlines already have precautionary policies in place?
A: Most airlines are taking precautionary measures or allowing more flexible change and cancelation policies for flights booked during this time. For more information, refer to our list of flexibility policies by airline.
Q: Should I cancel my trip?
A: This depends on your destination. You’ll have to consider potential risk factors for yourself, such as your physical condition, age, comfort with risk and so on, as well as any potential risk following the recent travel bans.
Follow the CDC for updates on the risk level of your destination.
Q: What are the best precautions to take if I were to travel?
A: When you do travel, some best practices to stay healthy include:
- Washing your hands. Keep your hands clean and avoid touching your face, eyes and mouth (or your food!) without washing your hands first.
- Keep hand sanitizer and wet wipes with you—and use them. Wipe down tray tables, armrests, headrests and other frequently touched items on planes to help prevent germs from spreading.
- Eat well and get plenty of sleep. When you travel—no matter when or where—you introduce your body to new allergens, germs and so on, because you’ve brought yourself to a brand-new location. Giving your body plenty of healthy foods and getting enough sleep at night helps your immune system stay on the top of its game.
- Avoid traveling to areas with known outbreaks. Don’t put yourself, or others, in harm’s way by exposing yourself needlessly to areas that have severe outbreaks.
Q: How do airports screen for potentially infected people?
A: Screening measures taking place in varying levels at airports around the world include thermal screening (i.e. scanning temperatures for fevers); screening & reporting signs of respiratory illness (like coughing or wheezing); frequent disinfection of areas accommodating passengers, especially from areas with increased risk; and health questionnaires.
In short, many airports are now implementing temperature and symptoms screens to identify passengers that may be at risk, isolate them, and in some cases, admit them to medical care.
Q: Are airlines doing anything special to prevent the spread of illness?
A: Most airlines already have CDC-approved cleaning policies in place for each flight, including disinfecting and cleaning surfaces in between each flight. In addition, many airlines use HEPA filters for air filtration on flights, which remove 99.97% of bacteria in the air on planes. This means that airborne particles that spread viruses aren’t spreading around planes through the recycled air.
Additionally, many airlines are providing virus response kits and additional cleaning materials to crews flying through areas with higher risks and travel warnings.
Need help with your travel program during COVID-19? We're here to help.