This story was originally published on March 11th and will be continuously updated in the coming days.
In an unprecedented move, the Coachella music festival in Indio, California has been postponed until October. Following the cancellation of South by Southwest and closures at the Google, Facebook, and Twitter offices, the companies behind the Coachella music festival are exercising an abundance of caution to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
But anyone who has planned a trip to Coachella knows it’s more than just tickets. Festival-goers can spend up to a few thousand dollars on flights, accommodations, and transportation to-and-from the venue, in addition to outfits, food, and events. You've likely already packed some version of a head-to-toe pink cowgirl look that you can't really wear on any other occasion, especially not in October. If you are one of these folks, you're probably wondering what to do about the money you spent on flights you're not going to take and how to cancel your Airbnb without losing a few hundred dollars in fees.
So while you might not be able to return the spray tan or colored highlights you got ahead of Coachella, here is the latest news on how to get the rest of your money back.
Coachella Tickets Refunds
Update: On March 13 wristband-holders received an email from Coachella that offered them full refunds through May 1, 2020. The refunds include ticket prices as well as fees, however, merchandise orders are non-refundable. Refunds are expected to take about one to two weeks to process and are only available for full orders (you cannot request a partial refund for your order). Additionally, it is offering the chance for people to swap October weekends for people looking to exchange weekend passes.
The main challenge, however, still remains: Who will take the stage in October. In an email to wristband holders, Coachella says that "there are inevitable scheduling conflicts to work through and a few loose ends to tie up."
Per the March 10 announcement, Coachella ticket holders will have their April tickets honored for the new October dates. The first weekend will be on October, 9, 10 and 11 while the second will follow on October 16, 17, 18. Coachella’s sister festival, Stagecoach, has been pushed to October as well.
A spokesperson told Refinery29 that as of March 13, Airbnb expanded its Extenuating Circumstances, which allows guests to cancel eligible reservations without penalty of fees, to apply to bookings in the United States.
On of March 10, Airbnb announced its "More Flexible Reservation" suite of tools. It’s a series of policies and incentives the company has put in place to make bookings and cancellations less financially burdensome in times like these. It rewards flexible hosts for giving full refunds and waiving the usual service and cancellation fees. Airbnb will waive the standard 3% host fee for new bookings through June 2020.
Travelers will be able to filter their searches to focus on flexible bookings. For bookings made starting now through June 2020, Airbnb will also refund guest service fees as travel coupons that can be used for future bookings.
All of this to say, if you booked your Coachella accommodations with Airbnb, you do stand to lose some money. Plenty of Airbnb listings are subject penalty-free cancellation and you can also contest cancellation or service fees under the "extenuating circumstances" cancellation policy, which was recently expanded.