Many airlines are adjusting or temporarily suspending flights to South Korea and offering free refunds to travelers who have booked flights there after Taiwan yesterday announced new entry restrictions on travelers from that country.
Starting this week, all travelers entering Taiwan from South Korea will have to be quarantined for 14 days because of the sharp escalation of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday.
In response to the announcement, Tigerair Taiwan, a subsidiary of Taiwan's China Airlines, said it will cancel all flights departing from Taiwan to South Korea starting Tuesday.
All returning flights, on the other hand, will operate as usual until Thursday, with the exception of Wednesday's flight from Jeju Island to Taoyuan, which has been canceled, the airline said.
Round trip flights to the country are scheduled to resume on April 1, although the Incheon Taoyuan route will reopen a day later, Tigerair said.
Passengers whose flights have been canceled will be able to change or refund their tickets for free before 9 p.m. on March 1, the airline said.
EVA Airways, one of Taiwan's two biggest carriers, said a portion of its flights to Incheon would be canceled, and that information on specific flight changes would be available on the coronavirus information page on its website.
Passengers whose flights are affected will be entitled to free ticket changes and refunds before May, the airline said.
EVA Air will also make changes in its in flight service on trips to and from the country to ensure hygiene, including offering disposable earphones and napkins instead of reusable ones, and not making newspapers or magazines available.
In addition, flight attendants will have their temperatures checked when arriving to and leaving from work, and they will wear surgical masks and gloves throughout the flights, the airline said.
Taiwan's other major carrier, China Airlines, said it will also cancel some of its flights to South Korea but has yet to release any specific details on schedule changes.
It did say that travelers with tickets to the country for flights scheduled before May that were issued before Feb. 24 can have their tickets changed or refunded free of charge.
Meanwhile, top South Korean carriers Korean Air and Asiana Airlines announced Monday that travelers with unused tickets departing from Taiwan to any location will be eligible for full refunds. ■