After a number of highly-publicized deaths of U.S. tourists, Delta and JetBlue are offering official travel waivers for passengers traveling to the Dominican Republic in the months ahead. Meanwhile, American and United are offering “re-accomodation” on a case-by-case basis.
The Dominican Republic has been rocked by a string of media reports suggesting it is unsafe for U.S. tourists to visits. Delta issued the waiver “due to recent events” but refused to elaborate on what those events were. Nine tourists have been reported dead in the Dominican Republic since April, some under mysterious circumstances. Meanwhile, the Dominican Republic calls the recent media frenzy “fake” news.
These are not complete travel waivers. Neither Delta nor JetBlue are offering full refunds for cancellation, only future credit without a cancellation fee. On Delta, rebooked travel must take place before November 20, 2019 to qualify for a fee waiver. Details on the travel waiver here.
The JetBlue waiver is not posted on its website, but a JetBlue spokesperson told ABC News:
To support our customers, we are currently waiving change fees when rebooking flights to or 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.
Meanwhile, the Delta travel waiver applies only to Punta Cana at the moment, even though Delta also flies to Santo Domingo and Santiago. For those traveling to other cities:
Delta will work with our customers on an individual basis using situational flexibility to adjust itineraries on flights.
American and United offered similar language, promising to work with customers on a case-by-case basis to potentially re-accommodate, but not issuing an official waiver.
Personally, I would not let these deaths get in the way of a trip to the Dominican Republic. I’m not convinced that the recent headline-making deaths are so far outside the norm to warrant fear. Nevertheless, reach out to your airline if do not feel safe traveling to the Dominican Republic and see what they can do. If you don’t like the answer you receive, be courteous, hang up, and call again. At least with American and United, you’ll need to find a sympathetic agent.