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Refunded Flights, Cancelled Hotel Bookings, And Postponed Travel Plans—How Hotels, Airlines, And Other Travel-Related Services Are Responding To The COVID-19 Pandemic

Flights, hotel bookings, and other travel-related services have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. How has the travel industry responded? Here’s what we know so far.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected so many people, including travel enthusiasts who booked their trips long before an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) was imposed in the Philippines. Apart from flight cancellations and suspended operations of travel-related services, hotel chains have also been shut down until further notice. How are these companies dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic? Here’s what we know so far.


AIRLINES

Philippine Airlines (PAL)

With domestic and international flights cancelled until May 31, PAL has assured affected passengers that their plane ticket will stay valid via their modified policies in light of COVID-19. For those who need to make changes with their reservations, they can opt to: (1) convert it into a travel voucher valid for two years; (2) rebook or reroute their flight without penalties and without fare difference if they are traveling in the same cabin; or (3) get a refund. These can be done by calling their 24/7 hotlines at +632 88558888 (Manila) and 1-800-435-9725 (USA/Canada) or sending in their concerns via the PAL request hub. In line with this, PAL has also announced additional measures to ensure passenger safety pre-departure and during flights.





Cebu Pacific

All Cebu Pacific and Cebgo domestic and international flights remain cancelled until May 31 due to MECQ in Metro Manila. Customers whose flights were cancelled from May 1 have three options to consider: (1) avail of free rebooking with a date set within three months from the initial schedule; (2) transfer their ticket’s equivalent value into a travel fund valid for one year and which has a refund option if the travel fund is unused for one year; and (3) get a full refund. Due to the high volume of requests, take note that it could take three to four billing cycles for processing of online payments such as credit and debit cards. Bookings can be managed here. Cebu Pacific are also putting in place specific safety measures in preparation for the resumption of flights.




AirAsia

AirAsia is following the same direction for all their domestic and international Z2 flights and this includes flexibility measures for those affected by the cancellations—in particular, passengers who booked their trips prior to May 12 with a departure date between March 23 and July 31. Customers may convert their ticket into their AirAsia BIG Member credit account for longer validity and convenience or change their flight date before October 31 on airasia.com or support.airasia.com. Similarly, AirAsia will also enforce safety measures in line with World Health Organization requirements for safe travel amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The company has also expanded their customer service team to attend to the needs of their passengers more efficiently during this time. To know more, check out this complete guide posted on their website. 


Jetstar Asia

Jetstar Asia has extended its temporary suspension of flights until June 30. Passengers with a Jetstar Asia booking from March 15 until June 30 “will be offered a refund to the full value of their untraveled booking in the form of a travel credit voucher.” Instructions on how to request a voucher may be arranged via the Jetstar Manage My Booking page. For more info, check out their FAQ (frequently asked questions) sheet here.

Jetstar Asia


AirSWIFT Airlines

AirSWIFT flights to and from El Nido, Palawan are still suspended until May 31, in compliance with MECQ in Metro Manila and following the closure of El Nido airport, as per Palawan's Local Government Unit mandate. That said, customers can convert their tickets to travel fund with a 1-year validity, rebook their flight with waived penalties and fare difference. Requests for refund are also accepted. Booking changes can be done via email at info@air-swift.com or by phone at +639178592816, +639178592760, +639178065745, +639178168763, or +639178222141.



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Aman

Aman has been busy helping guests with postponing and cancelling their bookings due to the outbreak. In the meantime, they are upholding their commitment to bring light to everyone by sending e-mails on self-care, sharing positive messages on Instagram with the help of their wellness practitioners, and providing wellness resources for guests through their website. For questions and concerns regarding Aman, get in touch with them at reservations@aman.com







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Achieving balance between mind, body and spirit is the common goal of many of the world’s wellbeing philosophies, from Ayurveda to Traditional Chinese Medicine. The Aman approach to wellness shares the holistic outlook of these ancient systems, focusing on instilling harmony between all aspects of the self. When we neglect the health of the body, our mind can lose clarity and our emotions become turbulent. In this time of instability, taking care of our physical selves is integral to finding mental strength and maintaining a sense of calm. ⁣ ⁣ See the link in bio as #AmanWellness practitioners worldwide share their favoured recipes for health-boosting tonics, soups and teas, as well as self-massage techniques and movement practices to maintain fitness at home.⁣ ⁣ #TheSpiritofAman #wellbeing #mindfulness

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Freshly picked from #Amanpulo’s organic farm, the nutrient-rich aubergine takes centre-stage in chef Michele Bellotto’s caponata. His recipe makes the perfect partner to a fish entrée (such as his much-loved fish en papillote), and a satisfying snack in its own right. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ To make aubergine caponata at home: Brown 500g of diced aubergine in a pan. Soften 125g diced white onion in olive oil, then leave to cool. Blanch 250g vine tomatoes in boiling water, cool rapidly in iced water and remove the skin. Quarter, remove seeds and dice into 1cm cubes. Combine aubergine and onion with the tomato and 300g diced celery. Add 30g toasted pine nuts, 30g raisins and a handful of chopped basil. Season with 1tbsp white wine vinegar, 1½ tsp olive oil and 1tbsp salt (or to taste). Leave in the fridge for a few hours to allow the flavours to blend, then serve either at room temperature, or hot as a side dish.⁣ ⁣ #AmanFoodie #stayinghome #stayinghealthy

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Marriott Hotel Manila

Customers who booked a room at Marriott Hotel Manila within the enhanced community quarantine are allowed to cancel or make changes in their reservation by June 30, 24 hours before their arrival date. While the management is updating their website regularly in line with their availability and exclusions, they have decided not to accept bookings for now to keep their guests and employees safe from coronavirus.

Marriott Hotel



Discovery Suites

Likewise, Discovery Suites is not accepting dining and room reservations during the lockdown. “We look forward to welcoming you back soon when we’re all safe from this current situation,” the management wrote in a Facebook post. Guests may e-mail their questions and concerns to the hotel’s reservations team at reservations@ds.discovery.com.ph. However, 22 Prime has opened its kitchen for takeaways! The hotel has also offered online flairtending classes for interested guests. 




Hilton Manila

“As it has always been, the safety and security of our guests and team members remains our highest priority,” Hilton Manila said in a statement, adding that they have strengthened their operating protocols by increasing the amount of their cleaning agents and making sure their public areas are sanitized on a regular basis. Other than offering refunds to those affected by the current situation, they are also allowing free cancellations of reservations made before June 30, 24 hours before their slated arrival. This can also be applied to bookings labelled as “non-cancellable.” For further assistance, Hilton Manila can be contacted at their contact support page or global support numbers

Hilton Hotels



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TRAVEL-RELATED SERVICES

Traveloka

Travel booking app Traveloka has also come up with flexible options such as rescheduling, cancellation, and refund, varying with each product and service. Customers may ask their queries on its updated policies at the Traveloka app message center or e-mail them at cs@traveloka.com. "Our users' safety is our main priority. Rest assured that we will do everything within our power to accommodate our users' requests,” Traveloka said in a Facebook advisory. With the number of cancellations on flights and bookings, it may take a while for them to respond to requests and queries. Nevertheless, Traveloka is committed to addressing each customer's issues and concerns at the soonest time possible.


Traveloka COVID-19 Update page


Klook

Promising flexibility and consideration in the time of COVID-19, affected Klook users have been given the option to reschedule their plans or get a refund on their purchases. Should they have any concerns, they may send in their queries here. The Klook blog has extensive information on refund and cancellation policies for bookings made through their site, as well as travel information that would be most pertinent for Filipino travelers.


Klook COVID-19 page



Sweet Escape

Sweet Escape customers can either cancel or reschedule their photoshoots for free as long as they follow the company’s policies, which include submitting their request at a maximum of four days before the agreed photoshoot date and informing the team about it on the SweetEscape app immediately.






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Dear all Escapists around the world,⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ At SweetEscape, we recognize the role we play in the milestones of your life. As the situation around coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve, I want to take a moment and share an update to all of you.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ We are in the middle of a global pandemic that puts travel on hold for many of us. In difficult times like this, I would like to share a heartfelt message and let everyone know that our thoughts and prayers are with all our customers and photographers around the world.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Your safety and health is our utmost priority as we are tracking the information provided by public health agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). Our photographers are following strict safety protocols before doing sessions. If you–our customers–feel unwell or uncomfortable, please do not hesitate to follow our cancellation & reschedule policies.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Our teams are making decisions based on the most recent information provided by the CDC, WHO, local public health agencies and government officials, while keeping the health and safety of our employees, our network of photographers and our customers in mind.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ We understand many of you may be feeling isolated as public health officials encourage us to distance ourselves from others. I encourage you to continue to find ways to connect with your loved ones during this time. Make a phone call or video chat with a friend, make moments with your family at home and don’t forget to capture those moments. A photo is worth a thousand words as well as the beginning of more wondrous stories to come.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ As you take precautions to keep your family physically healthy, don’t forget to take a moment for yourself. SweetEscape is committed to helping you capture life perfectly, and we are here for you during the good times and tough times.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Lastly, please enjoy each moment, live in the present, and always be grateful to be alive. Stay safe and healthy, everyone!⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Warmest Regards,⁠⠀ David Soong⁠⠀ CEO & Co-Founder SweetEscape

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