Summary of airline travel waivers due to the earthquake in Japan

The U.S. State Department had previously issued a travel alert advising citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Japan through at least April 1, 2011 due to the earthquake. That advisory has been lifted, but all airlines have some type of travel waiver in place to enable rebooking or cancelling current trips to Japan for a full refund, and I have compiled a summary below. Please note this is a fluid situation and you should contact your airline to confirm the waiver. I will attempt to update this chart as frequently as possible.

[Above chart updated Friday March 25, 2011]

Let me break down, for example, the first row. If you have a ticket on American to Tokyo between March 19th and April 30th, and you purchased your ticket on or before March 24th, you’re entitled to a full refund in the form of a travel voucher. If you still want to travel, you can change your ticket without a change fee (fare differences apply) if you travel by July 10th.

Also, notice American, Delta and Japan Airlines only covers flights to Tokyo (both Narita and Haneda airports) for a full refund, whereas ANA, Continental, Singapore and United cover the entire country. Continental is generously waiving both change fees and fare differences through April 30th, and American had done the same through March 18th. United is waiving the change fee and *may* waive the fare difference.

These waivers may continue to be adjusted with the changing conditions in Japan, and I’ll do my best to keep this chart updated. My deepest thoughts and support continue to be for everyone impacted by this awful tragedy.

Comments

  1. Dear Madam/Sir:
    We have not yet received a refund from Singapore Airlines for a round trip to Japan, We made reservations for two for a round trip to Japan on Singapore Airlines with a 5 day hotel stay through Gatewaty Tourist, Los Angeles. We canceled our reservation for the flight and hotel on March 14 2011 because of the earthquake in Japan
    A total of $2802 was paid on about 2-24-11 for Singapore flights (Leave LA on 4-2-11 and return on 4-22-11) , and hotel reservations. So far they have not issued a refund even though the airline’s website says we should receive one. It has been two months since we canceled the reservations. Please check on this problem.
    Thank you.
    Sincerely,
    Robert & Mariko Arnold

  2. Hello Robert & Mariko,

    I’m sorry to hear of your troubles in getting a refund for your cancelled trip to Japan. I would start with your travel agent, Gateway Tourist, if you haven’t already done so. I would imagine they would be the party responsible for the total refund of your airline & hotel reservations. If you have attempted directly with them and have not received a response, I defer and recommend contacting Christopher Elliott, who often champions getting issues like yours resolved. Unfortunately, I have no experience in this area.

    Christopher can be reached via his website at http://www.elliott.org/ or via email at elliottc@gmail.com.

    Hoping you find success in eventually getting your refund.
    Best regards,
    Darren

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