Airlines allowing passengers to back out of travel to countries with Zika virus cases

Published on : Thursday, January 28, 2016

flying planeUnited Airlines, American Airlines and British Airways are allowing passengers to back out of travel to countries where cases of the Zika virus have been confirmed. Some airlines, including those serving the Caribbean, have started offering refunds to these passengers.

British Airways said pregnant customers with flights to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, or to Mexico City or Cancun (Mexico), could change their booking free of charge, delay their journey or choose an alternative destination.

American Airlines is offering pregnant passengers a full refund if they provide a doctor’s note showing they are unable to fly to: San Salvador (El Salvador), San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa in Honduras, Panama City and Guatemala City.



Meantime, United Airlines said it is giving any customers who are traveling to the affected regions the opportunity to rebook at a later date or receive a full refund.

So far, the mosquito-borne virus has surfaced in Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Paraguay, Panama, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname and Venezuela, even though international health authorities have indicated that Zika will likely spread to all countries in the Americas.

The virus has been linked to increased cases of microcephaly – a neurological disorder that causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads – in newborns of women who contracted the virus while pregnant, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning pregnant women against travel to areas affected by the outbreak.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and Caribbean Hotel and Tourism association (CHTA) have said there are already reports of travel cancellations in the Caribbean due to Zika.

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