As a data point, United Airlines has canceled all flights into the DR for the entire month of April. (They normally fly here to four airports: SDQ, STI, POP, PUJ). On their website, the first date they are showing flights into the DR is May 4th.
Obviously that could change.
And United is also running what some might consider a “bait and switch”.
United has been actively promoting their new “flexible booking policy thru March 31st”. It says something to the effect of “we know your concerned about possibly having to change/cancel your travel plans. We hear you and therefore you can change or cancel without penalty any tickets you purchase by March 31st. Even ‘non-refundable’ fares qualify for this”.
So United is hoping you’ll go ahead and buy tickets prior to March 31st for say Thanksgiving travel in November, or a Christmas trip is December. Or your regular month long trip to the DR in January, confident that if you have to cancel the trip because of virus concerns (or any other reason) you will get your money back.
And now this is where, IMO, the scam comes in. Because recently United also changed its refund policy. Now, if you cancel your trip, instead of refunding the money to your credit card, United will issue an Electronic Travel Certificate (ETC). The ETC is good for future travel on United for the next 12 months. Only if you don’t use the ETC during that 12 month period will United then issue a refund to your credit card.
Here’s a practical example.
United has currently cancelled all their DR flights for April. But they are showing a full DR flight schedule for May.
So today (March 28th) you buy a ticket for a 2 week ticket to the DR from say May 10th-May 24th,2020 for $500.
The on April 30th, United cancels “all DR flights for May”. They issue you an ETC “valid for travel on United until April 30th, 2021”. You don’t use the ETC during that period, so then on May 1st, 2021, United (finally) issues a $500 refund to your credit card.
So even though they know right now that they will most likely cancel their flights to the DR in May, they are still offering tickets for sale for May. That’s the “bait”.
But when they do cancel those flights, the earliest you can actually get your money refunded will be in 12 months. That’s the “switch”.
So in the example I gave above, United basically received a $500 interest free loan from you for over 13 months (March 2020 -May 2021). Bad for you, but it helps their short-term cash flow.