Airlines Further Reduce Flight Schedules Amid COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

Airlines have been forced to suspend more routes and further reduce capacity in the wake of additional travel restrictions put in place by governments around the world to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Multiple carriers announced schedule modifications on Friday, including United Airlines, which is reducing its international schedule by 95 percent for April. United will temporarily suspend all flights to Canada effective April 1 and is drawing down its remaining trans-Atlantic, trans-Pacific, Central and South American operations in the days ahead.

The airline’s revised international schedule will be viewable at starting Sunday.

Meanwhile, in addition to reducing capacity by at least 20 percent from April 14 through June 5, 2020, Southwest Airlines is canceling approximately 1,000 of its nearly 4,000 daily flights from Sunday until the revised schedule begins on April 14.

Southwest will suspend service to all of its international destinations after Sunday and hopes to resume normal operations by May 4.

“During this unprecedented time, we will continually assess the real-time, market demand for Southwest’s service with the goal of canceling flights that have alternate flight or route options and that affect the fewest number of customers,” the low-cost carrier stated. “Additionally, we’ll implement the cancellations on a rolling, multiple-day basis to provide customers with advance notice of changes and alternate flight options.”

Delta Air Lines also announced revisions and new schedule changes on Friday, with service between Atlanta and Bogota, Colombia and Atlanta and Cartagena, Colombia set to be suspended by Monday. Plus, flights between Atlanta and Bermuda and Aruba will operate as exit-only for customers returning to the U.S. in the coming days as service will be suspended after March 24 and March 25, respectively.

Delta also suspended service to Lagos, Nigeria on Friday and is operating a limited schedule of flights from the Dominican Republic back to the U.S. The airline will also operate exit-only service from Bonaire back to the U.S. through Sunday.

American Airlines announced Friday that it has extended its offer to waive change fees for customers who purchased tickets prior to March 1 for travel through May 31. “The offer is available for any of American’s fares and customers have until December 31 to rebook travel for future flights,” the carrier stated. “Additional updates on existing travel alerts, including international travel waivers that are available for travel through May 31, can be found on”

Airlines are asking customers who are not scheduled to travel in the coming days to hold off on calling reservations teams so that they can prioritize those that require immediate assistance.

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