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59 million have lost money on canceled plans due to Coronavirus

Over six in 10 canceled plans due to pandemic.

NEW YORK – Coronavirus’ impact on future travel and social plans is unprecedented – events have been postponed, rearranged and canceled worldwide. According to a new survey by, 62% of U.S. adults have canceled plans or no longer plan to attend upcoming events because of the coronavirus outbreak. This includes celebrations such as a wedding or graduation party (31%), hotel stays/lodging (27%), flights (23%), concerts (18%), sporting events (16%), live theater (14%) and something else (12%). Of those who canceled plans, nearly 4 in 10 (37%), or 59 million people, lost money. 

Cancellations are the hardest-hitting for higher-income households and those who live in the West and Northeast. More than three-quarters (77%) of higher-income households ($80k+) reported canceling trips or calling off plans to attend events versus 64% of middle-income households ($40k-$80k) and 53% of low-income households (under $40k). Additionally, 68% of Westerners and 65% of Northeasterners have canceled or otherwise called off something, compared with 59% of Midwesterners and 58% of Southerners.

Millennials (24-39) are more likely than Gen Xers (ages 40-55) and baby boomers (ages 56-74) to have canceled existing plans in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Sixty-five percent of millennials said they canceled plans versus 60% of Gen X and 56% of boomers.

Among all U.S. adults who had laid out money for canceled plans, only 30% received/will receive a full refund. Nearly one-quarter (24%) got or expect to get most of their money back, 11% got or expect about half of it, 7% got or expect less than half, 13% got or expect none and 15% don’t know.

“My best advice for a refund is to start by contacting the company that you purchased from – whether that was an airline, a travel agency, a ticket marketplace, etc.,” said analyst Ted Rossman. “Start wherever you made the reservation or bought the tickets. Most of these companies are being very generous with their refund policies. If you can’t reach a satisfactory resolution with them, then I think you should bring in your card company as a backup.”

Of those who canceled plans/events and paid money ahead of time, 68% say they contacted a company for a refund (32% hotel/other lodging, 28% airline, 25% entertainment ticket seller, 18% credit card, 7% other). Of those who spent money on a canceled trip/event and asked a company for a refund, half have received a refund in the form of future credit (a voucher for a future flight, hotel stay, sports ticket, etc.) and 47% have gotten actual money back. Fifteen percent received nothing for at least one trip/event and 12% say at least one situation is still unresolved.

Rossman adds, “If you feel that the travel provider or ticket seller treated you unfairly, file a dispute with the card company and see if they can help you get your money back. With long phone waits reported, try to do this online if you can.”

Looking ahead, more than half (51%) have no plans for the foreseeable future, speaking to the uncertainty of the situation. Among those with existing plans, 76% are thinking about canceling something (34% celebration, 32% hotel/other lodging, 30% flight, 22% concert, 18% sporting event, 17% live theater, 8% something else).

Tatiana Rokou

Tatiana is the news coordinator for TravelDailyNews Media Network (, and Her role includes monitoring the hundreds of news sources of TravelDailyNews Media Network and skimming the most important according to our strategy.

She holds a Bachelor's degree in Communication & Mass Media from Panteion University of Political & Social Studies of Athens and she has been editor and editor-in-chief in various economic magazines and newspapers.