Airline stocks fell Monday, the morning after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that older adults and those with underlying health issues avoid long plane trips and crowded spaces amid the coronavirus outbreak.
As a result, a number of airlines have shared updated safety and cleaning precautions, cancellation policies, and other coronavirus prevention tips on their websites and in emails to flyers.
Both Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian and United Airlines Holdings CEO Oscar Munoz sent out emailed updates to their respective customers. Southwest Airlines Chief Marketing Officer Ryan Green and JetBlue Airways Vice President of Loyalty Don Uselmann signed similar emailed updates.
All the airlines emphasized cleaning procedures and communication with medical professionals and relevant health organizations.
“Hard surfaces such as lavatories, tray tables, window shades and armrests are thoroughly wiped down with a high-grade disinfectant and multi-purpose cleaner,” United’s Munoz wrote.
He added that when the CDC informs them a person who traveled on board is exhibiting coronavirus symptoms, the aircraft is taken out of service and put through a decontamination process.
Airline cancelation policies for coronavirus:
For flights scheduled through March 31, United is offering free changes for travel through the next 12 months.
Delta says it waived many change fees and is working with customers to adjust travel plans.
American is also extending change fee waivers for travel purchased through March 31
JetBlue has extended a temporary no change fee or cancellation fee policy for bookings made between March 6 and March 31 on travel through Sept. 8. It’s offering full credits that are valid for one year after cancellation.
Alaska Air Group suspended change and cancellation fees and is offering flexible travel options for new ticket purchases between now and March 31 for travel through Feb. 28, 2021. “We understand that information about the coronavirus is creating confusion and anxiety for some,” Alaska Airlines Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Harrison said. “Our first goal is to keep our guests safe, and offer peace of mind when it comes to flying with us.”
Spirit Airlines spokesman Erik Hofmeyersaid that the company has been offering flexible travel options to guests who reach out about Covid-19 concerns since January. “We will continue to monitor the situation, comply with federal and international requirements, and follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines,” Hofmeyer said. “Our Guests are welcome to reach out to us any time if they have questions.”
Though airline stocks have trailed the market in the past month as the coronavirus sell-off materialized, the opposite was mostly true Monday.
Delta Air Lines
(ticker: DAL), Alaska Air Group (ALK), Southwest (LUV), Spirit Airlines (SAVE), and
Airways (JBLU) all beat the S&P 500 index’s 7.6% drop. United Airlines Holdings (UAL), on the other hand, was down 10.2% to $46.78 Monday, while American Airlines was down 7.6% to $14.75.
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