Following a string of high-profile tourist deaths in recent months, several airlines are waiving change fees for travelers who are second-guessing their visits to the Dominican Republic.
Both Delta Air Lines and JetBlue Airways are offering travelers with upcoming flights to the Caribbean vacation destination the option to change their flight destination without paying the change fee, which can range from $75 to $200 per person.
Travelers will, however, will still have to pay any difference in fare between the original ticket to the Dominican and the new ticket.
Passengers of Delta and JetBlue who don’t want to rebook immediately and would rather cancel their vacation will receive a credit for a flight in the future. JetBlue won’t charge a change fee for those opting to use the credit, but Delta will.
“The safety of our customers and crewmembers is our first priority,” JetBlue spokesman Philip Stewart wrote in a statement to USA Today Thursday.
“While JetBlue’s flights to the Dominican Republic are unaffected, we are working with the U.S. Embassy and local authorities to stay updated on developments. To support our customers, we are currently waiving change fees when rebooking flights to/from the Dominican Republic. For customers who wish to cancel their flights, we are waiving the cancellation fee and issuing a credit for future JetBlue travel. For additional questions, customers can call 1-800-JETBLUE.”
Delta said only that it is offering the waivers “due to recent events in Punta Cana.”
The most recent death in the Dominican of Vittorio Caruso, a 56-year-old man from Long Island, New York, marks the 10th confirmed American to have died this year in the Dominican Republic. While concerns have been raised about whether travel is safe to the vacation destination, local officials insist the country is safe.
“The Dominican Republic is a safe country,” Francisco Javier Garcia, the minister of tourism in the Dominican Republic, told reporters at a press conference Friday.
Garcia also emphasized the fact that the U.S. State Department currently rates the Dominican Republic as a level two (AKA “exercise increased caution”) out of four on its Travel Advisory alert system, which, he noted, is the same as Spain, France, and multiple other countries.
Several other airlines that offer flights between the U.S. and the Dominican Republic said they are working with customers on a case-by-case basis.
A spokeswoman for Air Canada told Daily Hive that they are “monitoring the situation closely and are in constant contact with our destination representatives as well as hotel partners to ensure the comfort and well-being of our customers.”
Additionally, WestJet stated that at this time, they do not have any advisories posted for the Dominican Republic.
Anyone will questions or concerns are urged to contact the airlines directly.
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