United issues generous coronavirus waiver, Delta extends waiver to all flights

Following suit with most of the other U.S. carriers, United Airlines has issued a rather generous travel waiver due to the coronavirus outbreak:

Tickets: For tickets issued March 3 through March 31, 2020, customers will be permitted to change free of charge to a flight of equal or lesser value up to 12 months from the original ticket issue date. If the new flight is priced higher, the customer may change for no fee but must pay the fare difference. If the customer decides to cancel their flight, they can retain the value of the ticket to be applied to a new ticket without fee for travel up to 12 months from the original ticket issue date.
Cancellations: If the customer decides to cancel the flight they booked between March 3 and March 31, 2020, they can retain the value of the ticket to be applied to a new ticket without fee for travel up to 12 months from the original ticket issue date.
Fare Validity: This applies to all tickets, all fare types, all destinations, all points-of-sale, all travel dates available for sale, provided ticket number starts with 016.

Similarly to JetBlue and Alaska Airlines, cancellation fees are also waived, and the value of the ticket can be retained and applied to a new ticket for travel up to 12 months from the original ticket issue date.  What makes United policy generous is that all fare types, including award travel, are covered to all destinations for any date.  In addition, you can cancel and/or change your flight right up until before departure without a fee.

Delta extends existing travel waiver
Delta originally applied the cornonavirus travel waiver to only include their international destinations, whereas all the other carriers included all travel under their waivers.  Delta has hence taken a step back to include all travel in their network under their waiver.  Previously, only flights booked between March 3 and March 31 were covered, but Delta has also since walked back to include flights booked since March 1.

Quick thoughts
United was definitely late to the game, but it's good to see them issue the most generous coronavirus travel waiver policy out there.  As I stated before, these airlines really aren't issuing these waivers because they're "nice", but more as a marketing ploy to get people to book "on the fly" and to potentially take trips they wouldn't have otherwise.  However, it's still a win for the passenger as well to be able to avoid these change and cancellation fees.



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