Travelers who booked trips through Brussels have options while the airport in the Belgian capital works to resume operations after last month’s bombings.
Brussels Airport said it plans to partially reopen Sunday, but the limited number of flights by Brussels Airlines following a 12-day shutdown is meant to be largely symbolic. The airport plans to be back up to 20 percent of capacity by Monday.
In the meantime, passengers whose flights on U.S. airlines are canceled can get a full refund. The airlines are also allowing passengers to rebook without paying the usual ticket-change fee, but the terms differ by carrier.
Customers who want to rebook or request a refund should call the airline rather than do it themselves online in order to avoid surprise charges or fare changes.
Once the airport reopens, it will take time for flights to build back up. British Airways says it won’t fly to Brussels until Tuesday at the soonest.
The good news is that April is a slower travel time than the peak summer months, and there are seats available to many other European destinations. Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport Co, said Saturday he hopes full service can be restored by the end of June or the beginning of July in time for the summer vacation season.
Here are the latest Brussels policies for several major airlines:
- Delta suggests customers reroute to or through Paris, Amsterdam, Dusseldorf or Luxembourg. Passengers with Brussels tickets through April 18 can rebook with no penalty - although the fare could be higher - if they begin their rescheduled travel by April 30. Or they can cancel their reservation and apply the ticket’s value toward a new ticket for one year, according to Delta’s website, although they could incur change fees and higher fares.
On Saturday, the airline said it was suspending service between Atlanta and Brussels until March 2017 due to continuing uncertainty around the re-opening of the airport and weakening demand. But it said it planned to resume service between New York’s John F. Kennedy airport and Brussels once it gets clearance to do so.
- United says it will waive change fees and any difference in fare for passengers who reschedule a Brussels flight through April 30 if the new trip follows the same route or goes to or from London, Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf or Luxembourg. For trips after April 30 and within a year of the ticket’s purchase, United says it will waive change fees but the fare could increase.
- American has canceled its Brussels flights through April 15. It is waiving change fees for Brussels trips that were bought before March 29 and scheduled to fly through April 22 on American, British Airways or Iberia. Passengers can rebook to or through several other European cities - London’s two main airports, Paris’ two main airports, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, and Liege Bierset, Belgium - with no change fee. In some cases, American says it will waive any change in fare as long as the passenger flies in the same class of seat covered by the original ticket.
- Air France says that passengers who bought tickets to Brussels before March 23 for travel through April 18 can get a refund or rebook their trip through April 18. Rebooked travel must be completed no later than April 30.
- British Airways passengers booked for Brussels flights through April 9 can claim a refund, rebook a later date at no extra charge, or pick another destination. The airline says it will operate flights to and from Liege, Belgium, through Monday.
- Lufthansa has canceled flights to and from Brussels until at least Wednesday and is offering passengers flights from Munich and Frankfurt to Liege instead. It has a shuttle service between Frankfurt and Brussels. Passengers whose Brussels flights on Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Germanwings or Eurowings have not been canceled can rebook in the same class for travel before Oct. 31.
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