Plane travelling customers of some airlines, including those serving the Caribbean, are being given the opportunity to refund their ticket to visit countries where cases of Zika virus have been confirmed. Some of the airlines include United Airlines, American Airlines and British Airways.
As to date, the mosquito-borne virus has surfaced in Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Paraguay, Panama, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname and Venezuela. The international health authorities have indicated that Zika will likely spread to all countries in the Americas.
British Airways posed that pregnant customers with flights to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, or to Mexico City or Cancun (Mexico), could change their booking free of charge, delay their journey or choose an alternative destination. As for American Airlines, they have presented that pregnant passengers may choose a full refund if they provide a doctor’s not showing proof that they are unable to fly to: San Salvador (El Salvador), San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa in Honduras, Panama City and Guatemala City. The United Airlines said that they will be giving any customers who are traveling to the affected regions the opportunity to rebook at a later date or receive a full refund.
According to the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and Caribbean Hotel and Tourism association (CHTA), there are already reports of travel cancellations in the Caribbean due to Zika. The virus has been linked to increased cases of microcephaly – a neurological disorder that causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads – in newborns of women who contracted the virus while pregnant, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning pregnant women against travel to areas affected by the outbreak.