Airlines, cruise ships revamp policies for travelers as coronavirus concerns grow

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The growing threat of the coronavirus has a number of cruises and airlines changing policies to create flexibility in bookings to high-risk countries.

Travel agent Felicia Balek, of Number One Travel, says she's been fielding calls from clients worried about their travel plans amid the coronavirus outbreak.

"Every day we get callers that call all the time," says Balek. "They're just trying to find out to see what are their options."

Some airlines are waiving, changing or canceling fees on new tickets for travelers who are planning to go away or who have already scheduled a trip for the near future. Most of the policy changes are effective through the end of March.

Coronavirus Prevention: What you can do to protect yourself

"They're not allowing people necessarily to cancel, if you're traveling in November," says Balek. "But if you're traveling immediately they will allow some changes."

Some cruise lines are also changing policies due to travelers' concerns. Travelers should check with their cruise company or airline carrier for specifics on changes in cancellation fees and switching itineraries.

GET INFORMATION: Coronavirus details from the CDC

Travel agents recommend that people stay informed about the impact the virus may have in the country they're planning to travel to. The STEP program website provides health and terrorism alerts about various countries.

Balek says travelers should not cancel out of fear because travel insurance will not cover that. She says people should be patient, ride it out and see what happens.

PHOTOS: The impact of coronavirus around the world

 

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