Canceling a holiday due to COVID-19 can be costly

Many people have started booking spring and summer vacations. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a lot of uncertainty.

Jan Ball recently canceled a trip to visit friends due to the spread of the ommicron variety.

“We decided because of the virus that we didn’t want to take that risk by bringing something into their home and endangering them,” she said.

Ball logged into Allegiant Air’s website and requested a voucher for future travel, which all major airlines have awarded since the start of the pandemic.

She was given the vouchers, but was charged $344 on her four tickets for excise, security, and baggage fees.

“I didn’t realize they would charge all that fee,” she said.

Ball said she tried to call Allegiant to explain the cancellation, but was unable to reach a representative.

“I couldn’t get through it. It was busy, busy,” she said.

Canceling may still incur additional costs

Airlines and resorts have made canceling easier during the pandemic. But that doesn’t mean changing plans will be free.

People can still face all kinds of surcharges, especially if they have booked with a low-cost airline or opted for the cheapest fare from a major airline.

Zac Griff of ThePointsGuy.com says basic economy travelers can be out of luck.

“Those are those super-deep discount tickets that are offered with no carry-on or reserved seat,” Griff said. “I avoid those because in many cases they cannot be changed.”

Griff gave some tips to make sure people are prepared if they have to cancel a flight:

  • Avoid Basic Economy Fares
  • Please check the cancellation policy before booking a holiday
  • Consider purchasing “cancellation insurance for any reason” – regular travel insurance may not cover someone unless they are sick or injured
  • Pay a little more for fully refundable tickets, which aren’t as expensive as they used to be due to a lack of business travel

“Airlines have reduced the surcharge for these tickets during the pandemic,” Griff said. “It used to be hundreds of dollars extra. Now it’s tens of dollars.”

Allegiant eventually removed Ball’s fees, saying she was unaware she had canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.

She’s grateful for the refund, but worries about what could happen to other families if they cancel.

“It was ridiculous,” she said.

So check before you book so you don’t waste your money.

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