CONSUMER CATCH-UP: U.S. Senator writes open letters to airlines, urging them to drop fees; airlines update policies in light of coronavirus outbreak

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- U.S. Senator calls on airlines to waive fees for travelers in light of coronavirus outbreak

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) is calling on airlines to waive all flight change and cancellation fees in light of health concerns regarding the coronavirus outbreak.

Sen. Blumenthal wrote open letters to American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Spirit Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, and JetBlue Airways. In them, he urges the airlines to allow travelers to "make the best decision for their health without the burden of high fees."

Though some airlines have already begun to waive fees for changed or canceled travel plans, some are still restricting the waivers to flights with certain destinations, or flights within a short time frame. Sen. Blumenthal called on the airlines to "cover all tickets purchased for an extended time frame."

These are some of the latest updated airline policies, according to MarketWatch on Tuesday:

American Airlines: Change fees will not be charged for flights booked between March 1 and March 16, with travel dates between March 1 and January 26, 2021. Changes must be made 14 days in advance, and new travel must be completed within 1 year of the original ticket issue date. Customers will be responsible for any difference in the cost of the old flight versus the new flight.

United Airlines: United is suspending service to Beijing, Chengdu, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as some flights to Tokyo Narita, Osaka, Singapore and Seoul. They're also allowing refunds for all unflown flights to Wuhan, China between January 22 and March 29, 2020. Full refunds and waived change fees are allowed for flights to Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai and Hong Kong, if the flights fall between January 24 and June 20, 2020. Refunds are not being offered for destinations in South Korea or Northern Italy, although change fees are being waived. New travel must be completed within 1 year of the original ticket issue date.

Delta Air Lines: For customers with tickets to Beijing, Shanghai, Incheon, or any Italian destination, Delta will allow a one-time change with no fee, or customers can cancel and receive a credit for a future flight. Date restrictions for original travel dates and rescheduled travel apply.

For additional details, visit your airline's web site. For the full list of airlines and their policies, visit MarketWatch.

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