Flight advisory: Coronavirus, (Covid-19), compensation for cancelled and delayed flights

The coronavirus (Covid-19) erupted in December 2019. We hoped that it would burn itself out and go away. Sadly, it has not.

We must note here, that the virus has not been gendered. Cyclones tend to be feminised. Ships are referred to as “She” and so on. The virus is a non-binary “it”. Anyway, “it” is here.

There is no cut-off date, when “it” will abate.

Major events are being cancelled. Yesterday (March 3, 2020), Google announced the cancellation of Google’s Developers Conference which was scheduled for March 13, 2020 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View in the San Francisco Bay Area. A digital event is likely to happen. See https://developers.google.com/events

Facebook has cancelled its annual F8 software developer conference.

Where does one stand in terms of compensation for cancelled or delayed flights?

In South Africa, as I write, March 4, 2020, we seem to be relatively okay. The panic has not reached our shores and as far as can be ascertained, there have not been reports of infected people in SA. However, there are travel plans to consider: Work, family, play.

Breaking news alert coronavirus in South Africa: March 5, 2020

The first case of a person infected by the coronavirus has been reported in SA.  It is reported that a group returned from Italy on March 1. The patient is apparently in isolation in KZN. Statement:


A reader of TheCapeRobyn – shares her cancellation experience:

A reader recently shared her experiences. The family had booked a cruise. The cruise was cancelled. It was scheduled to stop in China and Singapore. The cruise was cancelled – by the operators – and that was refunded. It was the flights and hotel reservations which was the issue –and is ongoing.

This is her experience: “We had booked flights on Kenya Air into China, out of Japan. They cancelled the leg into Guangzhou, then after two further exasperating changes which we chose, when a Cathay connecting flight was cancelled we opted to cancel Kenya in total and they agreed to refund. Haven’t seen refund yet. They said about four weeks. We are trying to cancel on Singapore Air but have not had joy. There’s a huge cancellation fee BECAUSE Singa hasn’t cancelled any part of flight. Our hotel in Singapore pre cruise was prepaid… after much correspondence, and using the phrase ‘extraordinary circumstances beyond our control’ they have agreed to refund – reluctantly. Very decent because their T & Cs say no refund!. Obviously if a flight cancelled outright you get refund but the hotels etc – that is a mission.”

Credit card refunds?

As to whether credit card companies provide refunds for cancelled flights, in theory yes, if a flight is cancelled but that may depend on other factors. Many people take out additional travel insurance which is bundled with the credit card service and that may cover you and it may not.

It is complicated and getting worse as the virus spreads and people are scrambling to recover the money that they have laid out.

Accessing help via the GIVT website

TheCapeRobyn has been receiving queries about flight compensation – cancelled and delayed flights. A website, GIVT, has been sending out copious mailers regarding compensation for flight cancellation and delays. A form is provided on the website, for claims. Check it out. This is not affilate marketing; sharing this as a resource for readers of TheCapeRobyn.

What does GIVT offer?

This is from GIVT’s website: “We obtain compensation from airlines for delayed and cancelled flights, as well as in cases of denied boarding. We act swiftly, efficiently and by the book. In order to make it easier for our customers to receive the money they are due, we use relevant technological solutions and invest in task automation systems, machine learning and advanced big data. GIVT is made up of experts in the fields of aviation, finances, new technologies, consulting, digital marketing and legal services.”

Who is GIVT? What does GIVT stand for? Who is ‘we’?

TheCapeRobyn initially received an out-of-office reply with the following: “Dear Sender, I’m out of the office (sick leave) from 27th of February to 6th of March. For urgent cases reach me out on my mobile.”  Hhhm, okay. Kind of worrying to get this message – in the context of corona.

Patrycja Glapa, Marketing & Content Specialist e-mailed a response. She says: “’We’ means “GIVT”. GIVT is a company founded in Poland and created by many experienced specialists from various industries, including aviation, financial, legal and modern technologies. Our name refers to the giving of a gift, which means that pursuant to Regulation (EU) No. 261/2004 we successfully obtain compensation for passengers in the amount of 250, 400 or 600 euros for cancelled or delayed flights. Our lawyer, Kamila Szczygieł, answers the most frequently asked questions in this press release regarding the disruptions of flights due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.”

No information was supplied as to who funds GVT. As far as I can see there is no charge levied to the claimant. If you lodge a claim, it does not look like you will be billed.

Trawling through GVT’s site, I see a logo for The European Union but it is unclear what this signifies.  It looks like a useful site to explore, particulary if you encounter road blocks on the compensation trail.

Water safety on airplanes- oy!

Very interesting intel on the site regarding travel matters – for instance – safety of water on flights. Drinking (potable) water must be offered by airlines but is it safe to drink? 

GVT cites results from a survey. It appears that water provided – as drinking water – is often not safe to drink and may be contaminated.

What to do? TheCapeRobyn advisory- drink only from sealed bottles of reputable brands. Do not accept water poured from an unlabelled and open bottle.

GVT looks like a useful resource which provides info about airline liquidations, travelling tips; What Can Airport Baggage Scanners See? Lost luggage and damaged bags and so on.

Let us hope that the coronavirus burns out. Travel safe. Practice good hygiene standards and if you do not feel well or have any flu symptoms, please consult a doctor or report to a medical facility, before travelling – domestically or internationally.

Image credit: Supplied.

Flight advisory: Coronavirus, compensation for cancelled and delayed flights-


✔ GVT: Website geared to assist travellers in applying for compensation for cancelled and delayed flights; useful info and tips regarding travelling. https://givt.com/en/