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Airlines offer travelers ‘flexible travel policy’ for Zika-affected destinations

By KTVA CBS 11 News 4:58 PM February 1, 2016

For those planning on heading south of the border to escape winter over the next few weeks, news of the spread of the Zika virus through many South and Central American countries have some changing their travel plans. If you’ve already bought tickets aboard Alaska Airlines, they are offering a “flexible travel policy” for certain southern destinations.

Refunds or flights changes at no extra costs are available for passengers with tickets dated between Jan. 28 and Feb. 29 for the following destinations:

  • Liberia, Costa Rica (LIR)
  • San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO)
  • Cancun (CUN)
  • Guadalajara (GDL)
  • Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo (ZIH)
  • Loreto (LTO)
  • Los Cabos (SJD)
  • Manzanillo (ZLO)
  • Mazatlan (MZT)
  • Puerto Vallarta (PVR)

The listed destinations have been flagged by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as locations affected by the Zika virus, a mosquito-borne illness with symptoms that include a fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes, according to a statement from Alaska Airlines.

“One in five people who get infected will develop symptoms,” Alaska Airlines officials wrote. “The illness is described as mild, with symptoms developing two to seven days after infection, and lasting anywhere from several days to a week.”

Women who are pregnant or believe they may be pregnant are discouraged from traveling to affected regions, as the Zika virus has been linked to birth defects.

Additional fare and taxes may apply to some ticket changes, depending on the new destination. Anyone with questions regarding their flights can contact Alaska Airlines reservations at 1-800-252-7522. Any new or modified travel plans must be made before Feb. 29, according to Alaska Airlines.

Delta Airlines has issued a similar notice to their customers, noting that some may qualify for “a change to alternate destinations, travel dates or a refund.”

To speak with a Delta Airlines reservations spokesperson, call 1-800-221-1212 before Feb. 29.

American Airlines said on their website that pregnant women and those traveling with them can request a refund for their flight outside the U.S.

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