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My Experience With Korean Air Flights Cancelled Due to Covid-19 Coronavirus

First of all I’m pushing out this post as my travel plans have also changed due to the Covid-19 situation. I’ll briefly explain my situation, looking into what is happening connections between Europe and Korea. The reason why? I am looking into this situation for myself, so I am aware of what is going on with Korean carriers.

My Situation

I had booked for my wife and myself a flight from Rome to South Korea. We had planned to go separately, with 2 weeks between her departure date and mine. Her departure date was scheduled for the first days of April and mine for the last days of that same month.

Korean Air A330 Parked at Incheon Internatioanl Airport
Korean Air A330 Parked at Incheon Internatioanl Airport

As we all know from the first days of 2020 onwards there has been the spread of the coronavirus covid-19 epidemy. Two of the most heavily hit countries for number of found cases are Italy and Korea. So I did have the feeling that something was coming our way.

In the past days Korean Air (the airline I booked our tickets with) had suspended its flights to Milano for the entire month of March. And yesterday the news arrived that Korean Air and Asiana flights between Rome and Seoul have been suspended.

Asiana has, for the time being, suspended flights until the 28th of March. Korean Air’s measures were a bit more drastic, with flights suspended until the 25th of April. This is not only limited to flights to Rome, but it extends to many flights across Europe and the world.

Here are the links for you to check which Asiana and Korean Air flights have been suspended or reduced:

What Is Happened For Our Bookings

Because the schedule variation involves only my wife’s booking, her’s was the one where things started to change. Her flight Rome-Incheon flight was cancelled and the airline automatically placed her on a flight from Paris to Incheon on the same departure date. We then had to try to get in touch with the airline to understand what our options were.

It was impossibile to get in touch with the airline for the first 24 hours after the news was announced. We tried several times but the call center system was overloaded and kept rejecting our calls. Today (4th of March) we finally got through to the English language call center and things were much clearer.

The Solutions offered

For my wife’s flight we were offered a few of options:

  1. Accept the flight change from Rome to Paris, but with no means provided to get to CDG airport.
  2. Change the flight departure date to the same day as me free of charge.
  3. Get a full refund for the reservation with no penalty appied

The full refund is provided in money and is credited to the payment means used at the moment of booking. For instance I paid for our reservations using my credit card, so i will be refunded the amount to that same credit card. From what I was told it is possible to request a full refund up to 24 hours before the flight.

We also asked, what would happen if we decided to change my wife’s flight reservation to my same flight and then that flight was cancelled as well? The answer we got is: you’d be back in the situation you are now. You would be eligible for a full refund or an itinerary or date change free of charge.

For my flight instead, it being still confirmed we can only get a partial refund according to my fare. Which in my case means paying a cancellation penalty. The situation is continuously evolving so there might be extensions in the suspension of flights.

So I’ll have to wait it out and see how things pan out in the next few weeks and see if I will be able to get a full refund for my flight too.

Other Flights

Flight filling factors for trips in Europe are pretty low these days. This means that many flights are running with many empty seats, which in turn translates to flight reductions and flight cancellings. So if you have an upcoming trip with any airline, particularly for Europe and Asia, make sure to check your reservation for possible variations.

I hope this article was helpful with your situation.

About the author

Alex Achille

Ex Cabin Crew with Emirates, I've always loved travelling and other cultures. In this website I'll be sharing my experiences along with my reviews of the latest Korean Dramas and TV Series I've watched.

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