Coronavirus: Bay Area families canceling trips amid outbreak

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in the Bay Area was announced one week ago. In the days since families with travel plans to visit China have been scrambling to cancel their trips and to get refunds.

"Our most recent trip was to Tokyo," said Steffany Carrabino as she pointed to a collection of maps mounted on her office wall. "So we have been to Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Sea."

RELATED: Coronavirus outbreak: Tracking latest developments of viral infection in US

She and her family are just two parks shy of visiting all of the Disney resorts around the world. They were due to visit Shanghai and Hong Kong Disneyland resorts in a week. Both parks have been closed temporarily, and their flights have been suspended.

Travel agents have been giving a lot of refunds this week. Joni Gingrich is a travel consultant at Travel Leaders in San Jose.

"For people who are traveling two, four, six weeks from now, it's very easy and now is the time to do it," she said. "For people who are not traveling yet for another six more months, we're going to wait just a little bit before we pull the trigger on changes, cancellations or refunds."

That's because no one knows when flights might be restored, depending on controlling the outbreak. Travel to other Asian countries could get complicated, depending on measures taken to isolate the virus. While airlines and hotels have been urging travelers to book directly, using a travel agent can expedite the refund process.

RELATED: Coronavirus outbreak: Flight with evacuees from China departs Travis Air Force Base

"I will do the work for you," said Joni Gingrich. "I'm the middleman between you and the airline, you and the cruise line, you and your travel insurance company."

14-year-old twins Chloe and Cole, 12-year-old Lily, Mom and Dad Carrabino have gotten refunds, except for one flight. They will need to wait for another chance to go to China.

"Our original plans were bought on a really good deal from Black Friday, so we're having to search again for those great deals," said Mrs. Carrabino. "We're sure it'll happen."

Disney is the parent company of ABC7.

See more stories related to coronavirus here.
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.