Guidelines for travel impacted by COVID-19

Guidelines for travel impacted by COVID-19

Due to concerns over the COVID-19 epidemic, many conference organizations are taking precautionary measures and cancelling conferences. In addition, many travelers are not comfortable traveling during the epidemic. Below are the guidelines we suggest.

When a conference is canceled, contact the conference organizer for direction on obtaining conference fee refunds.

If a conference is not canceled, but a traveler chooses to not attend, please work with the conference to obtain a refund of registration fees. If no refund is possible, it is acceptable for the unit to simply absorb the cost and allow the traveler to not attend.

All travel reservations not being used must be cancelled. Whether airfare was direct billed or paid out of pocket, lodging paid via MSU Travel Card or personally, this must take place. The expectation is that travelers will work with travel providers to obtain refunds or waivers.

Booking airfare through the MSU Travel Program (online via Concur or through a Preferred Travel Agency) is always best. Michigan State University has strong partnerships with contracted airlines, hotels, and ground transportation. The MSU Travel Office has been working in conjunction with our Preferred Travel Agencies and these partners to leverage our relationships to obtain refunds on behalf our travelers. Please do work with your Preferred Travel Agency (Conlin Travel, STA Travel, and Anthony Travel) for assistance with cancellations, refunds, and waivers.

Airline tickets must be cancelled before the scheduled outbound flight. For airfare booked through Conlin Travel and Concur, please contact Conlin Travel agents (884-9400) for assistance. Conlin Travel will leverage our airline contracts to work towards refunds (best) or waivers of change fees when the unused ticket is applied to purchase a new ticket on that airline.

If the ticket was purchased outside of the MSU Travel Program, travelers are responsible for contacting the airlines to seek refunds or waivers. When travelers book tickets outside of the MSU Travel Program and/or pay for airfare with their personal credit cards, there is no support that MSU can provide. The traveler is the only one who can use the ticket; therefore, the ticket should be cancelled and rebooked at a later date. It is unlikely that MSU will cover the cost of personally purchased airfare because the university cannot take ownership of the ticket.

Hotel reservations should also be cancelled prior to arrival to mitigate no show charges. Travelers need to explain the situation to the hoteliers and Airbnb, whichever is applicable, and ask for refunds and/or waivers of any charges.

If hotels were booked through a Preferred Travel Agency or Concur, and travelers cannot get the hotel to refund deposits or waive fees, please contact your Preferred Travel Agency for assistance. They may have some leverage in negotiating full refunds. If travelers booked the conference hotel, we strongly recommend that they reach out to the conference planners for assistance. We are confident that they are receiving many inquiries and may have already worked something out with the hotel on behalf of attendees staying at the conference hotel.

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