Can You Get a Refund on Airfare for Refusing to Take a Crowded Flight?


With many across the country shocked to find themselves on crowded flights, others are wondering if they'll even feel safe flying knowing they could be in close proximity to someone who is potentially infected with coronavirus.

So what happens if you get on a flight only to find that it's too crowded for comfort? Can you get your money back?

NBC senior business correspondent Stephanie Ruhle told TODAY that many airlines are relaxing their policies on canceled flights with the coronavirus pandemic and the fears of consumers in mind.

Here's how each airline's policies stack up:

Alaska Airlines

According to the Alaska Airlines website, passengers have the ability to change or cancel a flight without risking a fee. However, passengers must make the request prior to the flight's departure.

American Airlines

American Airlines told TODAY that they are "waiving change fees for all customers who have travel booked through September 20, 2020." This rule applies to customers who have already checked in for their flights.

Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines is aiming to get ahead of the problem by capping their capacity at 50% for first class and 60% in all other cabins. If the customer still feels unsafe, they have the ability to change their flight for no extra charge.

Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines is also trying to get ahead of the problem by blocking off a selection of middle seats in various rows. The company did not indicate if they would let travelers change their flight after checking in, TODAY reports.

Hawaiian Airlines

Consumers who made their reservations between March and May have the ability to change their flights free of charge. Passengers who do not take their scheduled flight will be credited for the future.


JetBlue told TODAY that any customer who wishes to change their flight at the airport may do so and either reschedule their travel plans or receive credit for a future flight.

Southwest Airlines

Those who purchase nonrefundable tickets have the option of putting their airfare towards a future flight if they decide not to fly. The change is redeemable up to a year after the original flight.

Spirit Airlines

While Spirit intends to accommodate those whose travel plans were affected by COVID-19, they did not indicate whether or not they would allow a change of flights based on the capacity of the original plane.

United Airlines

United Airlines will allow passengers to change their flights if the passenger feels the plane is too crowded. They will allow the passenger to pick a different flight or receive travel credit.

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