As the coronavirus spreads outside of China and causes concerns of a worldwide pandemic, American hotels and airlines are expanding options for customers to make new plans for travel. The U.S. told Americans to start getting ready for the coronavirus to spread within the nation amid growing outbreaks in Italy, South Korea and Iran, causing worries over an impact to worldwide travel demand, Reuters reported.
Hyatt Hotels, in one case, noted that it would let customers from Italy, South Korea and Japan cancel or modify their hotel reservations at no cost. (That marks an expansion of the policy from Hong Kong, mainland China, Taiwan and Macau.) The reservation changes or cancellations at the hotel company are valid for bookings made through March 31 per the hotel company on its official WeChat account.
Delta Air Lines Inc., for its part, said reservations on flights to Milan, Bologna and Venice can be rescheduled. In addition, Air Canada has put portions of Italy onto its list of locations that are eligible for rescheduling. Large airlines have also putout waivers, taking away change fees, for flights to South Korea. American Airlines Group Inc. and United Airlines Holdings Inc. noted on Tuesday (Feb. 25) that they were still following developments in Italy.
U.S. airlines have, at this point, only cancelled flights to China. That move came after the decision of the U.S. State Department to escalate a travel advisory to there to the same level as Iraq and Afghanistan.
The news comes as the U.S. stock market is spiraling downward, with the S&P 500 losing $1.737 trillion during a massive sell-off prompted by mounting fears due to the coronavirus per reports on Wednesday (Feb. 26). As investors became anxious about news that the virus was spreading, the Dow Jones industrial average sank 879 points on Tuesday (Feb. 25).
The Dow’s two-day, 1,900-point fall was the worst two-day percentage loss in two years.