Is The Coronavirus Affecting Non-Revenue Travel?
-Updated March 4, 2020 at 9:16 p.m. Central Time
I thought I’d take a look at the Coronavirus from a non-revenue airline employee, family and friends and also travel industry travel perspective. And, the answer is yes, it is affecting how we travel. Let’s take a look.
What Are Airlines Doing?
Many airlines have cancelled or reduced service to the main affected areas, so you either can’t travel to these areas or there are diminished schedules as well as airplane downgrades. This is not limited to international flights. So know that cancellations or diminished schedules may lead you to being stranded somewhere. Have alternate plans.
You can take a look at the airlines’ travel waiver which includes the schedule changes here. I’ve highlighted some of them below:
- Alaska Airlines
- Air Canada
- American Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- United Airlines
And the NY Times posted an article today (March 4, 2020) about the meeting the airline CEOs had with the U.S. President about the issue.
As a non-rev, this is the piece of information you need to know the most. The reason is that, it will affect where you can travel and when.
Also, remember that when you travel, you may have to connect via a country or city that may have Coronavirus issues, so plan your travels accordingly and check the schedules. The good thing is that most of the flights are empty as people are just not flying as they are scared or unsure and there are government travel restrictions in effect for some countries. Also, people are confused as the airlines have issued travel waivers and some flights have been cancelled. Hotels and Cruise Lines have also issued waivers as a result of these travel restrictions.
Confusion all around.
In a nutshell, if you’re not a permanent resident/citizen of a particular country, you may not be able to enter that country if you’ve visited or transited any/all of the following countries within the last 14 days/30 days:
- People’s Republic of China
- South Korea
This is not an exhaustive list, but the list that’s common to most countries. It’s imperative that you are aware of all these restrictions before you list for a flight. This is in addition to any existing passport and visa regulations.
Let me explain this a little further for you with an example: You are a U.S. citizen, who just visited Italy in a region that is not in the Level 4 (Lombardy region) classifications by the U.S. and CDC and you now want to visit say Aruba and/ Trinidad and Tobago for some much needed sun, sand and food. You can’t right away, you have to wait 14 days, as both these countries have a travel restriction for those who have visited Italy and are not permanent residents/citizens of those countries (Aruba and Trinidad & Tobago). I hope this makes sense to you.
Another example, if you’re thinking of going to Japan to see the cherry blossoms in April, think about where you will travel after you return and within 14 days. You can see the cherry blossoms in Washington D.C./Virginia area, Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, Central Park as well as Vancouver, BC Canada. So all is not lost.
So how do I know if a country I want to visit have a travel restriction? Check here for details.
- Wash your hands properly
- As much as you can sterilize the public areas you use before you use them. Lots of people use the airports, they’ve visited all over the world, so just keep your surfaces clean. The good thing is that the airports, airlines and cruise lines are doing better now at thoroughly cleaning the planes. But between flights if you can clean your seat area, do it. Use wipes or a cleaning agent.
- Don’t touch your face and mouth with your hands if you’ve touched public surfaces. Wash your hands first.
- You don’t need a mask if you’re not sick; the mask stop you from infecting others if you’re sick, but according to the professionals, doesn’t really protect you if you’re not sick.
- If you’re sick, try not to travel; you shouldn’t travel anyways if you’re sick, with or without Coronavirus.
Here are some organizations/experts that are constantly monitoring the virus:
- The Center for Disease Control
- Dr. Nadine White; a Doctor in Atlanta, GA – the truth about Coronavirus Infection
- UNWTO and the WHO made a joint statement about Coronavirus aka COVID-19
- Information from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
- Visual infographic Map of the global cases of the virus: https://infographics.channelnewsasia.com/covid-19/map.html
- Johns Hopkins University visual map: https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html
If you’re traveling any at all, you should get travel insurance. You can find what the major companies are saying about the Coronavirus here. Travel Insurance covers many different things including most importantly, care if you’re sick while traveling or need to be flown home.
It’s not fear mongering, its just common sense and peace of mind. I have an annual plan. You can get insurance from TravelInsurance.com.
As the Coronavirus is already out there, if you don’t already have travel insurance, you may not be covered and even if you do, you may not be covered. You have to check the policy information before you make the purchase.