Here's what you need to know about changing or canceling your travel plans due to the coronavirus, as outbreaks spread to every continent except Antarctica

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  • As the coronavirus continues to spread, with outbreaks appearing in South Korea, Italy, Iran, and elsewhere, travelers and travel providers are being forced to rethink plans and make adjustments.
  • If you're concerned about the virus, your options for a cancellation or refund may be limited, but as the situation continues to develop, refund policies are likely to change as the virus moves closer toward pandemic status.
  • Here's what you need to know about canceling or changing your travel plans during the coronavirus
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

As the coronavirus continues to spread around the world, travelers are starting to rethink work trips and vacations.

The global tourism sector is bracing for a major slowdown as countries other than China struggle to contain outbreaks, travel restrictions and airline cancellations are reaching new markets.

"If there was previously a temptation to view the coronavirus as a China or Asia issue, then developments this week must force a shift in mindset," Nick Wyatt, head of travel and tourism research at GlobalData said in an email to Business Insider. "With the news that 12 towns in Italy are on lockdown and countries like Austria and Croatia announcing their first cases, it is readily apparent that the impact is likely to be felt on a more global scale than was perhaps previously envisaged."

The spread of the virus has been swift, with new hotspots popping up around the world almost daily. In addition to China, outbreaks have been found in Italy, Iran, and South Korea.

If you're scheduled to travel to a country with a confirmed outbreak, you may be able to cancel your trip and get a full refund.

Airlines around the world - including the major three US airlines, American, Delta, and United - have suspended routes to China.

However, refund policies vary tremendously between different airlines, and depending on your destination.

If you're simply canceling a trip because you're worried about the virus, odds are, you won't be able to get a refund - even with travel insurance, whether you purchased it separately or used your credit card's coverage.

"The only travel insurance that would be helpful in that scenario is when you pay extra for a 'cancel for any reason' plan," Ted Rossman, an industry analyst at CreditCards.com, told Business Insider. "If you're just canceling out of fear of traveling and getting sick, that's not a good enough reason."

People who get sick before their trips and are worried about traveling with a weaker immune system may be able to invoke their insurance plan's trip cancellation coverage, provided they have a note from a doctor, Rossman said.

While travelers may have better luck asking their airline and hotel for a refund or cancellation, most travel providers are only offering that if you're scheduled to fly to the most heavily impacted regions - China, South Korea, and starting this week, Italy.

If you're absolutely set against traveling during the coronavirus spread - even if you're going somewhere without the virus - Rossman suggested that instead of walking away and losing the whole value of your trip, paying a change fee to reschedule it for the summer, or to another destination.

"Even if you're really worried and you don't want to travel, look into changing plans rather than canceling them, because usually the fees are better in that instance. Maybe you could reschedule your trip for later, or pick a different destination," he said. "You'll probably pay some fees, but you won't lose the whole trip."

The situation is fast-changing, and as new hotspots and outbreaks are reported, it's likely that airline and travel policies will continue to evolve.

We've rounded up the refund and rescheduling policies of major airlines below, and the impacts that the virus is having across their routes. We'll continue to update this page as the situation develops, so be sure to check back.

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Delta became the first US airline to expand travel waivers and cancellations beyond China.

Delta became the first US airline to expand travel waivers and cancellations beyond China.

Delta suspended its direct flights to China earlier this month, with low demand making the operation of the flights commercially unfeasible.

For anyone whose flights were not affected (for instance, passengers booked on Delta but transiting with a partner airline through another country), Delta has issued a travel waiver, allowing passengers to change flights without a fee, or cancel them altogether.

On Wednesday, Delta added Seoul-Incheon Airport, South Korea to the travel waiver.

Delta also issued a travel waiver for travel to certain cities in Italy, where a new outbreak of coronavirus was recently identified.

Passengers who choose to cancel their flights won't get a refund — instead, they can apply the value of their ticket to a new flight within a year.

If a passenger's flight is cancelled by Delta, the airline will reach out with instructions, including how to claim a refund.

If the travel waiver applies to your itinerary, you can change or cancel your flight by visiting the "My Trips" section of Delta's website, clicking on "Modify Flight," and choosing the relevant option.

The full China and South Korea travel waiver applies for travel scheduled between January 24 and April 30. Trips must be rescheduled or cancelled before May 31, 2020 for the waiver to apply. The travel waiver applies for passengers scheduled to fly to, from, or through:

  • Beijing, China (PEK or PKX)
  • Shanghai, China (PVG)
  • Seoul-Incheon, South Korea (ICN)

The Italy travel waiver applies for travel scheduled between February 25 and March 2. Trips must be rescheduled or cancelled before March 2 for travel by March 31. The travel waiver applies for passengers scheduled to fly to, from, or through:

  • Bologna, Italy (BLQ)
  • Milan-Linate, Italy (LIN)
  • Milan-Malpensa, Italy (MXP)
  • Venice, Italy (VCE)

American Airlines issued a new travel waiver for South Korea, in addition to mainland China and Hong Kong.

American Airlines issued a new travel waiver for South Korea, in addition to mainland China and Hong Kong.

American Airlines similarly cancelled its flights to China as demand fell, tentatively planning to resume flying in late-April.

For passengers scheduled on flights that were still operating, or who were flying to certain other affected areas, the airline has issued a series of travel waivers.

Travelers to mainland China and Hong Kong can change their flights, postpone travel, or cancel their tickets without a change or cancellation fee.

Those traveling to Seoul, South Korea can change or delay their flights, but will still have to pay cancellations fees if they decide to call the trip off altogether. They can also change their origin or destination city to Tokyo.

Passengers can make a one-time change online as long as they aren't changing origin or destination city by visiting the "Find your trip" page and selecting "change trip" in the toolbar.

For any other changes, passengers should contact reservations at 800-433-7300 from the US, or at the relevant phone number listed on this page.

The full mainland China travel waiver applies for travel scheduled between January 24 and April 24, as long as tickets were bought by January 24. Trips must be rescheduled for travel by June 1, 2020 for the waiver to apply. The travel waiver applies for passengers scheduled to fly to, from, or through:

  • Beijing, China (PEK or PKX)
  • Shanghai, China (PVG)

The Hong Kong travel waiver applies for travel scheduled between January 28 and April 24. Trips must be rescheduled for travel by June 30, or cancelled before the originally scheduled date.

The Seoul Incheon, South Korea travel waiver applies for travel scheduled between February 24 and April 24. Trips must be rescheduled for travel by June 30.

Visit this page for full details on the travel waivers.

United similarly added a South Korea travel waiver.

United similarly added a South Korea travel waiver.

Although United has also cancelled its own flights to China and Hong Kong, it issued several travel waivers for passengers scheduled to travel to the region. It added a South Korea waiver this week.

The airline is allowing passengers to change or delay their flights without fees. Passengers scheduled to fly to China and Hong Kong can also choose to cancel their flights and receive a full refund.

The full China travel waiver applies for travel scheduled between January 24 and April 30. Trips must be rescheduled for travel by June 30, or cancelled before the original travel date, for the waiver to apply. The travel waiver applies for passengers scheduled to fly to, from, or through:

  • Beijing, China (PEK)
  • Chengdu, China (CTU)
  • Shanghai, China (PVG)

Similar terms apply for flights to, from, or through Hong Kong, for travel scheduled between January 28 and April 30.

Passengers scheduled to fly to, from, or through Seoul Incheon, South Korea between February 24 and June 30 can change their flights without a fee for travel by June 30. Refunds are not available for Seoul travelers.

To change or cancel your flights, visit the "view your reservation" page and select "Change Flight." If you're eligible for a refund, you can request it at this page.

You can see the full travel waiver details here.

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