MANILA -- Passengers with flights to select destinations in China could change their bookings free of charge if they so wish in light of the fast-spreading new strain of coronavirus, local airlines said Monday.
Effective immediately, passengers with booked tickets issued on or before Jan. 24 to Xiamen, Jinjiang, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong and Macau for travel between Jan. 24 to Feb. 29 may request for rebooking, rerouting or refund without charge, Philippine Airlines said.
Cebu Pacific passengers with flights between the Philippines and Shanghai, Canton, Beijing, Shenzen Xiamen, Hong Kong and Macau booked on or before Jan. 24 and traveling until Feb. 29 can also rebook, refund in full or store the ticket value for future use free of charge, the airline said in a separate statement.
"We are carrying out this move to give our passengers with flights to and from China the flexibility to make adjustments in their travel plans," PAL said.
Rebooking and rerouting are allowed for travel until June 30 without penalties but with applicable fare difference, PAL said. For queries, passengers may reach PAL hotline (+632) 8855-8888.
Cebu Pacific customers may visit official social media pages for assistance, it said.
Refund fees are also waived but those who purchased through travel agencies should contact their agents for changes, the airlines said.
As a precautionary measure, cabin crew of flights to and from China wear masks. Passengers can request for masks if they wish, PAL said.
Travelers are also encouraged to adhere to the following preventive measures as advised by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Bureau of Quarantine:
1. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water and use alcohol-based hand rub
2. Cover mouth with tissue when coughing or sneezing
3. Avoid close contact with anyone with colds or flu-like symptoms
4. Thoroughly cook eggs and meat
5. Avoid unprotected contact with wild or farm animals
6. Drink plenty of water
7. Use a face mask for added protection
Philippine Airlines advised passengers experiencing respiratory problems, cough and colds, flu, high body temperature, shortness of breath and difficulty in breathing to postpone their trips and to seek medical attention immediately.
Airports worldwide have heightened safety protocols to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus that has reportedly infected over two thousand.
Transport services to and from Wuhan in China, believed to be the origin of the virus, have been shut to contain its spread.