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Before COVID-19 occurred, I was planning on going to Japan in December 2020. However, with things escalating, I decided to not give in and book a flight when I almost did. I know Japan has closed their border from the United States. I was looking at flights in December and the prices are really enticing. I wanted to know if I can book a flight for December 2020. It is kind of risky given the idea of when Japan will open their border from the United States. I wanted to know if there is a way for me to get a potential full refund or about 75% back if I find out at the end of November 2020 that Japan is not opening their borders? The flight is Air Canada.

  • I think you could be able to buy travel insurance with a Cancel for Any Reason clause. – jclever.634 Sep 2 at 23:03
  • Can you suggest such a policy that doesn't explicitly exclude issues related to the pandemic? I can't see any insurance company taking that on! – user105640 Sep 2 at 23:34
  • FWIW, it's extremely unlikely that you will be able to enter Japan as a tourist in December. They've yet to open any "green lanes" for business travellers, and until very recently even permanent residents were not allowed to return. – lambshaanxy Sep 3 at 13:04
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We can't say when Japan will open their borders. If the flight you book departs but you can't fly because you don't qualify to enter Japan then the airline policy is clear: it's your problem and no refund will be offered.

You can, of course, book a fully refundable ticket but not, I suspect, at the price that's tempting you right now.

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    Some airlines are offering more refundability/changeability than usual on their inexpensive tickets, so it is worth reading the website of the airline you're considering flying to see if you can, in fact, get a ticket which is sufficiently refundable for a tempting price. (Of course, if the airline goes out of business, all bets are off.) – mlc Sep 3 at 0:02
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A lot of airlines have made provisions for their customers in case the Covid-19 restrictions of various countries impede with their travel plans. A quick search on AirCanada’s website shows that they too have implemented Covid-19 goodwill policies – likely because they prefer a booking in hand than not. The exact text reads:

We have implemented highly flexible and expanded booking options. You can make a one-time change without a fee for all new or existing bookings made through September 30, 2020 for original travel between March 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021. If you booked directly with Air Canada and you need to cancel for any reason, you can convert your ticket to an Air Canada Travel Voucher that has no expiry date or to Aeroplan Miles with an additional 65% bonus miles.

Therefore, as it currently stands you can book your flight in December as planned (until 30th September) and if it becomes obvious that Japan is not sufficiently opening its borders you can choose whether to change the dates without a fee or get a travel voucher refund.

Do note that Air Canada is likely under no legal obligation to provide this service except as stated in the terms and conditions of your actual booking (the contract). Most importantly, there may be clauses asking you to pay a price difference between your original flight and the one you change to; and Air Canada will most likely refuse to give you a cash refund rather than a voucher in the event that you cancel (except if the ticket itself includes cancellation – but then it is unlikely to be cheap).

I am sure that the agents at Air Canada’s hotline or other members of their customer service team will be happy to answer any additional questions about this policy that you may have – specifically concerning the caveats I mentioned above.

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