Terrorist attacks in Brussels: What you need to know if you’re planning to fly to Europe

People bring flowers and candles to mourn at the Place de la Bourse in the center of Brussels after bombs exploded at the city's airport and one of the metro stations Tuesday. More than 34 people died in the blasts.

People bring flowers and candles to mourn at the Place de la Bourse in the center of Brussels after bombs exploded at the city’s airport and one of the metro stations Tuesday. More than 34 people died in the blasts.

(Martin Meissner / Associated Press)

Travelers who have plans to fly to Belgium and other European countries after three deadly terrorist bombings Tuesday may be able to change or cancel flights without penalty.

More than 34 people died, and more than 80 were injured after two bombs went off at Brussels Airport and a third bomb exploded at the Maelbeek metro stop in the city. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The airport and the city’s metro were shut down Tuesday as Brussels remains on alert.

In the aftermath, some airlines have eased rules that allow passengers to reschedule or cancel flights without additional charges.


American Airlines will allow travelers who were planning to fly between Tuesday and March 29 to reschedule their flight without charge, one time only; or they may request a refund. Check rebooking rules at American Airlines Travel Alerts, (800) 679-8215.

The policy applies to those flying to Brussels, Amsterdam, Dusseldorf and Frankfurt in Germany, London and two Paris airports, Charles de Gaulle and Orly.

In a statement, American said that the bombings didn’t affect its departure hall at Brussels Airport and that all passengers and staff had been accounted for.

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United Airlines will waive change fees one time for passengers ticketed Tuesday through Thursday who want to reschedule. Passengers also may postpone travel until April 1 or later without paying a change fee, but you may have to pay the difference in airfare prices.

Passengers whose flights are canceled may receive a refund. Check United Important Notices for more details.


Delta Air Lines says passengers flying between Tuesday and March 31 may request a refund if their flight “is canceled or significantly delayed.”

They also may make a one-time ticket change without penalty, though changes in fares would apply. Check Delta’s website for more information on rebooking tickets. The policy applies to those traveling to Brussels, Paris (Charles e Gaulle) and Amsterdam.

Check with your airline about its rebooking policy if you are concerned about an upcoming trip.

People who bought travel insurance policies that cover terrorism before March 22 may be able to cancel their trip to Brussels, according to Florida-based travel insurance website Squaremouth.

Some conditions to note: Your departure date must be within seven to 30 days of the date of the attacks, and you must be traveling to Brussels or within 50 to 100 miles of the city.

Of course, if you have a “cancel for any reason” travel insurance policy, you can decide not to go, even if you’re just afraid to travel right now.


For more details about travel insurance policies, check the company’s Brussels Attacks and Travel Information Center.

Before Tuesday’s attacks, the U.S. State Department updated its Worldwide Caution for Americans traveling internationally. It’s a broad warning about violence linked to terrorism and provides advice by regions of the world.

The section on Europe says “credible information” indicates terrorist groups such as Islamic State and Al Qaeda and its affiliates continue to plot attacks in Europe. Specifically, it warns Americans that likely targets are subway and rail systems as well as airports and ports.


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