Unfortunately, many airlines are bleeding cash, so they are mostly offering credits. And that is fine if they can make sure people can rebook far in the future. For instance, Emirates has put all open tickets on a 24-month rebooking hold. No questions asked! Others, are playing plain and simple shady (Icelandair is one of them).
They know they can’t fly, and they won’t cancel flights until the last minute. That way, they hang on to their cash as long as possible. You see, if YOU cancel, you basically forfeit your rights. If THEY cancel, they owe you a refund (per the U.S Department of Transportation rules. Don’t let them tell you otherwise).
Talk to your agent or tour operator. Confirm with them what they plan is to safeguard your payments. For instance, at Art in Voyage, we have a strong internal insurance coverage and escrow policies in place. We have been prepared for this type of downfall, mostly based on a recession scenario that was due to arrive soon)
Remember the little guys: In some instances, your payments were probably going to local suppliers and vendors. So if you can, instead of flat out canceling, agree to a new date, or agree to a credit for future travel. You will do your part safeguarding small businesses at your destination, and that’s a “feel good” moment.
If you’re unable to travel and credit won’t work, talk to your booking agent and discuss your options. Preferably, options that won’t negatively affect you or the agent.
In doubt, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org – I am always happy to assist, even if you did not book through us.