Coronavirus: Delta and other major airlines extend waivers on change fees

People are thinking twice about travel as the COVID-19 virus spreads.
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Delta is among the airlines extending its waivers on flight change fees in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

The airline, the biggest carrier by far to operate from Minneapolis-St. Paul International, had already waived change fees for flights booked during March, but on Monday announced it was taking this further.

It will now waive the customary change fees for any flights – whether domestic or international – between Mar. 1 and Apr. 30, regardless of when they when they were booked.

Customers who can benefit from this change can re-book their flight for travel through Dec. 31, 2020.

Both American Airlines and United Airlines are extending the same offer as Delta, waiving fees for travel through Apr. 30 irrespective of when you booked.

That said, it appears that Delta is experiencing some teething problems enacting the policy, with some customers still getting charged the customary $200 as its system updates.

The coronavirus outbreak spells serious trouble for airlines, with Delta CEO Ed Bastian announcing on Monday that it's cutting its international routes by 20-25 percent, domestic flights by 10-15 percent, and its Asian routes by 65 percent due to the drop in demand.

He said there has been a 25-30 percent net drop in bookings, and expects it to worsen.

It's not just airlines that are finding themselves having to change their business practices in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

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Target announced this week that after a run on hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, the chain will be limiting the purchase of such products to 6 per guest.

It also said that its delivery service, Shipt, will be encouraged to leave customers' orders at their front doors rather than passing them through the door.

Another company making a coronavirus related announcement on Tuesday morning is Olive Garden, which after pressure announced it will be offering all its hourly employees "permanent, paid sick leave benefits."

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