How the coronavirus is affecting KC—from dinner reservations to flights

The coronavirus outbreak has brought cancellations of all kinds across the world, from SXSW festival in Austin to St. Patrick’s Day parades around the world to Miami’s Ultra Music Festival.

Although there is only one positive case of COVID-19 in the Kansas City area, businesses are still seeing the effects of the epidemic. Numerous restaurants, particularly in Country Club Plaza and downtown, have seen an uptick in restaurant reservation cancellations due to fears around the outbreak. Jimmy Frantze, owner of JJ’s on the Plaza, says the restaurant is “discussing it with all the managers and even talking to staff because it’s going to impact everybody’s income.” Fine dining restaurants closer to downtown, such as Affare, have noticed fewer reservations on the books, but are hoping patio weather will get KC folks out and about. Chain restaurants in Kansas City, including Jack Stack and Cooper’s Hawk, have sent out mass communication about best practices and health concerns regarding the virus.

Movie theaters like B&B Theatres and Alamo Drafthouse in Kansas City haven’t really felt the impact on their operations. Alamo sent out a company message on Monday informing all employees of new sanitation policies, which include wearing gloves while busing tables, eliminating self-service water carts and employing hand sanitizing stations at all locations. The Kansas City Repertory Theatre stated that they “encourage [their] patrons to stay home if they are feeling unwell and therefore have made [their] ticket exchange and refund policies more flexible.”

Many airlines are also changing their policies due to the coronavirus outbreak. International and domestic flights are being canceled at a rapid rate by spring breakers and other travelers. In the wake of this, many airlines have waived cancellation and change fee policies. Here are eight  airlines that have changed their policies due to the epidemic:

Delta Airlines

If you have booked or plan to book through Delta between March 1 and March 31, you can make one flight change with no fee. If you cancel the flight entirely, you have one year to use the credit.

Hawaiian Airlines

If you have purchased Hawaiian Airlines tickets between March 1 and March 16, the airline will let you change the flight with no fees.

Frontier Airlines

If your flight is between March 3 and March 16th, Frontier will waive all flight change and cancellation fees. However, new flights must be made by June 1 of this year.

American Airlines

If you book a flight on American and want to cancel, the airline is offering travelers a free flight change if the flight was bought between March 5 and March 31. The usual fees associated with changing a flight will be waived.

JetBlue Airways

JetBlue has waived change and cancellation fees for flights booked from March 6 to March 31 for travel anytime between now and September 8, 2020. If you completely cancel your flight, you will get a flight credit with the airline.

Alaska Airlines

Anyone with Alaska Airlines’ tickets purchased between March 9 and March 31 can change or cancel their flights prior to the scheduled departure date without any fees. You either book a new flight or cancel completely for a credit with the airline, which must be used by February 28, 2021.

United Airlines

If you have bought or plan to buy a flight through United between March 6 and March 31, the airline is allowing passengers to change their flight for free for the next twelve months. Passengers can also cancel their flight entirely, and United will credit them that money for a future flight if booked within a year after the original flight’s purchase date.


If you are a frequent Southwest traveler, you already know the deal. Southwest does not charge change fees, so its policy remains the same.


To learn more about the economic and societal impacts of the coronavirus, join the World Trade Center—KC, Healthy KC and the International Relations Council on March 11 at Union Station. More information can be found here.

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