Coronavirus travel refund battles expose deposit shell game


The Grand Palladium resort in Punta Cana was a swank respite in March for Leigh Anne Belcher and her daughter until they got a call to stop by the front desk about a billing question. 

Their travel agency, swamped with coronavirus cancellations, had abruptly closed its doors and disconnected its phone lines – and refused to pay the hotel for the room even though Belcher had already paid the agency in full for the trip.

On the spot, Belcher had to come up with thousands of dollars to pay the upscale hotel, which threatened to call authorities and also advised the front-gate attendants to make sure no one escaped without paying. When she and her daughter tried to head home to Lexington, Kentucky, they had to shell out more money; their flight had been canceled and the airline wouldn’t allow them to change it since it, too, was booked

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Would you risk getting coronavirus for unlimited flights?

Despite conclusive evidence that COVID-19 can spread rapidly on flights, airlines are attempting to woo passengers back onto planes with unlimited flight promotions.

Carriers globally have been all but decimated by the coronavirus pandemic. Here in the US, industry unions representing many major airlines, including Delta, American and United, have pushed for billions in bailout grants and loans from Congress. Many others, such as Virgin Australia and Colombia’s Avianca, went bankrupt weeks or months ago.

All told, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimated the industry will lose at last $314 billion due to the pandemic.

Hoping to stay afloat, airlines are launching unprecedented deals. Air Canada recently launched their Infinite Canada Flight Pass: a ticket to anywhere, anytime for one flat fee of $2,260 per month, which can be purchased in one-, two- or three-month blocks.

These preferred customers will also enjoy added flexibility, with clearance to change or

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New Jersey’s Coronavirus Travel Advisory Back to 35 ‘Hotspots’

TRENTON, NJ — New Jersey’s self-quarantine travel advisory list has grown to 35 states and territories — the highest total since August 18 — with the addition of Arizona, Minnesota, Nevada, Rhode Island and Wyoming.

Individuals traveling to New Jersey are asked to get tested for the coronavirus and self-quarantine for 14 days if they traveled from these 33 states and two territories: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

The advisory applies to anyone coming into the Garden State on train, bus, car, airplane or any other method of travel. Officials said areas considered “impacted states” for the virus have a positive COVID-19 test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or have

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Airlines remove hot food, blankets, magazines and more amid coronavirus outbreak

Frequent flyers will have to do without amenities like blankets, pillows and hot meals on some flights to and from China for the foreseeable future, as several airlines have removed the niceties over coronavirus contagion concerns.

China Airlines, Mandarin Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airways have all cracked down amid the ongoing outbreak, which has killed at least 170 people and sickened 7,711 others as of Thursday morning.

Airline officials hope to contain the viral disease by decreasing personal contact to protect passengers and crew, Reuters reports.

China Airlines, Mandarin Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airways have all cracked down amid the ongoing outbreak, removing amenities over coronavirus contagion concerns.

China Airlines, Mandarin Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airways have all cracked down amid the ongoing outbreak, removing amenities over coronavirus contagion concerns.
(Getty Images)

On Monday night, China Airlines and its subsidiary Mandarin Airlines eliminated hot foods, blankets, pillows, towels, magazines and newspapers on Hong Kong and cross-strait flights. The carriers also replaced linens with paper towels and will only supply drinks and disposable

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Nevada among states removed from New York’s coronavirus travel advisory

Nevada is among several states that have been taken off New York’s 14-day quarantine travel restriction list, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration announced this week.

a group of people standing next to a person in a military uniform

© Provided by Washington Examiner

The announcement means Nevadans are able to experience freer travel between Nevada and the Empire State. Nevada joins California, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, and Ohio in being removed from New York’s travel restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic

“When other states and territories make progress fighting COVID-19, that’s good for New York and while I am glad to see areas removed from the travel advisory list, it still remains far too long,” Gov. Cuomo said in a statement.

According to the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, the state has seen a slight increase in reported COVID-19 cases and deaths from complications related to the coronavirus disease. As of Tuesday, there are 226 new cases and 26 more

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Nevada again added to New York’s travel advisory list | Coronavirus

LAS VEGAS (FOX5) — Nevada has once again been added to New York’s travel advisory list.

The move to add Nevada back on the list comes only one week after it was removed. California, which was removed off the list last week as well, remains off of the list.

In addition to Nevada, four other states were added to the list: Arizona, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Wyoming.

The advisory applies to individuals also traveling to New Jersey or Connecticut, as these states are in a tri-state coronavirus travel advisory with New York.

The advisory requires individuals who have traveled to New York from areas with significant community spread to quarantine for 14 days, the governor’s office said in a news release.

“The quarantine applies to any person arriving from an area with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or an area

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Asia’s coronavirus ‘travel bubbles’ fail to form, and travelers face a long winter at home

With the end of the year approaching, travelers holding onto hope they may still get to enjoy a quick winter escape in Asia are facing some hard truths right now.

a small boat in a body of water: In this photo taken on August 18, 2020 a taxi boat is anchored along an empty beach in Chalok Baan Kao Bay in Koh Tao island in the Gulf of Thailand.

© ROMEO GACAD/AFP/AFP via Getty Images
In this photo taken on August 18, 2020 a taxi boat is anchored along an empty beach in Chalok Baan Kao Bay in Koh Tao island in the Gulf of Thailand.

Christmas on the beach in Phuket? Highly unlikely — unless you’re willing to quarantine in a hotel for two weeks first.

Lunar New Year in Bali next February? Don’t book those flights just yet.

a group of people lying on a sandy beach: Though closed to international tourism, Bali remains open to domestic tourists.

Though closed to international tourism, Bali remains open to domestic tourists.

The list of countries in the region that are off limits to most leisure travel remains long and, according to the experts, is likely to remain that way for some time yet.

In early

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U.S. cruise lines plan coronavirus tests for all passengers, crew

»RELATED: Major cruise lines worry new virus restrictions too tough to turn profit

The safety plan requires testing of passengers and crew but doesn’t specify the types of coronavirus tests that companies must use, CLIA Chairman Adam Goldstein said. Passengers and crew must test negative to board.

The plan permits limited shore excursions and requires passengers to wear masks and stay apart from other people during those excursions. Passengers who don’t comply won’t be allowed to reboard.

The plan also requires ships to increase the amount of fresh air in their ventilation systems and use advanced filtration methods where feasible.

»RELATED: Virus survived on cruise ship surfaces for more than 2 weeks, CDC reports

Cruise company executives said the limited resumption of cruising in Europe and elsewhere over the last few weeks has convinced them that cruising can be done safely. Costa Cruises, which is owned by Carnival Corp., has

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Norwegian CEO sees lower 2021 bookings, hopes for an ‘OK’ year, as cruises try to resume despite coronavirus

Cruise bookings for 2021 are down, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Lines Frank Del Rio told CNBC on Tuesday, acknowledging the sustained impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on global travel and the industry. 

Cruise executives have previously painted a rosier picture of future bookings, touting pent-up demand as the pandemic has left ships stationed in ports and brought the industry to a trickle for most of 2020. Del Rio said future bookings are “truly remarkable,” considering what’s happened to the industry this year, but he added that the company doesn’t expect 2021 bookings to be in line with past years. 

“We’re behind last year. There’s no question, but not as far behind as you would think given what’s been going on,” he told CNBC’s Seema Mody on “Power Lunch.” “Pricing has held up well. No one is discounting the product, rightfully so. And so we’re hopeful that 2021 can be

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