The airlines’ updated travel alerts were announced amid concerns over a COVID-19 outbreak in the country, which, as of Wednesday, had reported 11 deaths and over 1,200 infections from the novel coronavirus, according to The Associated Press.
American Airlines announced Monday that passengers with scheduled travel to Incheon International Airport (ICN), which serves the greater Seoul area, will be able to change, delay or cancel their trips without incurring additional fees. Only passengers who purchased their tickets prior to Feb. 24 for travel before April 24 are eligible; those that wish to change or delay their flights must rebook for flights leaving before June 30. Passengers can also swap out their destination airport in South Korea for the two major airports that serve Tokyo, Japan.
Delta Air Lines is offering similar waivers for travel to Incheon, offering to waive “any applicable change fees” for passengers scheduled to travel to the South Korean airport before April 30. Those wishing to cancel their flights may apply the value of their canceled boarding passes toward future travel.
Delta also announced a reduced schedule to Incheon's airport, suspending all service between Minneapolis/St. Paul and ICN between. Feb 29 and April 30, and reducing its service to ICN from Atlanta, Detroit and Seattle to just five weekly flights through April 30.
United, too, is offering to waive any applicable fees, as well as the difference in airfare, for travel to ICN that is rebooked on flights leaving before June 30. For passengers wishing to change their departure or arrival cities, United is waiving change fees for passengers who rebook within one year of the ticket issue date (fare differences still apply).
All three airlines had previously extended waivers to passengers traveling to China amid concerns over the coronavirus outbreak. The carriers later announced the temporary suspension of all flights to the region — a suspension that is currently ongoing.
On Monday, the CDC issued a Level 3 warning to American travelers, urging them to avoid “nonessential travel to South Korea” amid the outbreak. On Saturday, the U.S. State Department had updated its South Korea Travel Advisory, which is currently at a Level 2, meaning travelers should “exercise increased caution.”
As of Wednesday, the novel coronavirus had claimed over 2,700 lives and sickened some 81,000 across the globe.