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Money Air Canada revises refund policy amid growing anger over cancelled flights

01:05  23 may  2020
01:05  23 may  2020 Source:   msn.com

Man who got voucher instead of refund targets Air Canada's COVID-19 cancellation policy in U.S. class action

  Man who got voucher instead of refund targets Air Canada's COVID-19 cancellation policy in U.S. class action A New York man whose trip to B.C. for a family wedding was cancelled because of COVID-19 is trying to launch a class action lawsuit against Air Canada over the airline's refusal to refund his tickets. In a civil complaint filed in the Southern District of New York last week, Emilio Vozzolo says Air Canada has an obligation to give him back the $1,942.90 US he spent on five tickets from Newark to Vancouver.

None of Canada 's major airlines are offering to return cash to passengers for the hundreds of thousands of flight cancellations since mid-March, opting instead to dole out 24-month vouchers that have left many customers frustrated over a service they paid for but have not received.

Canadians are increasingly showing signs of being fed up with airlines, which are offering travel vouchers rather than refunds to passengers whose Canada is an outlier among Western countries on the issue of refunds , with the European Union and the United States requiring airlines to offer them.

a large sign in a room © Provided by The Canadian Press

MONTREAL — Air Canada is revising its cancellation policy amid mounting customer frustration, offering travellers the option of a voucher with no expiration date or discount Aeroplan points if the airline cancels their flight due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The airline says the new policy — the previous one capped travel vouchers at 24 months, with no Aeroplan option — applies to non-refundable tickets issued up to the end of June, with an original travel date between March 1 and June 30.

Related video: Employment lawyer advises flexibility during pandemic (Provided by CityNews) 

Growing number of Canadians furious that airlines won't reimburse for travel cancelled due to COVID-19

  Growing number of Canadians furious that airlines won't reimburse for travel cancelled due to COVID-19 OTTAWA — A growing chorus of voices is demanding Ottawa force airlines to reimburse cash-strapped travellers the cost of trips that were cancelled because of the pandemic, rather than offering a 24-month travel credit. Just on Wednesday, support for a House of Commons petition demanding the federal government require airlines to refund trips jumped from 500 in the morning to well nearly 5,900 by late afternoon. The petition was initiated by Marie-Ève Dumont of Option Consommateurs, a consumer rights advocacy group in Montreal, and sponsored by Bloc Québécois MP Xavier Barsalou-Duval.

Air Canada , for example, is extending its cancellation of all flights between Canada and China to April 10, as previously reported by Global News. O’Shea also said the tourist industry recommends following government travel advisories. “If the government says something, it can inform whether

Trudeau addresses growing frustration with airlines over refund policies . Canadians are increasingly showing signs of being fed up with airlines, which are offering travel vouchers rather than refunds to passengers whose flights have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Air Canada's fresh tack comes as consumer advocates and thousands of passengers continue to demand their money back for services they paid for but have not received.

Three petitions with more than 89,000 signatures are calling for full refunds to be implemented before financial aid is handed out to airlines, two of which were presented to the House of Commons over the past 11 days.

"Air Canada continues to skirt its obligations to refund the approximately $2.6 billion dollars it owes to passengers," said passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs.

Canadian airlines could 'fail' if forced to refund passengers, says transport minister

  Canadian airlines could 'fail' if forced to refund passengers, says transport minister Transport Minister Marc Garneau says that Canadian airlines could go bankrupt if the ailing industry is compelled to refund passengers billions of dollars for flights cancelled due to the pandemic. "I have said many times that I have enormous sympathy for those who would have preferred to have a cash refund in these difficult circumstances. It is far from being an ideal situation," Garneau told a press conference earlier today. "At the same"I have said many times that I have enormous sympathy for those who would have preferred to have a cash refund in these difficult circumstances. It is far from being an ideal situation," Garneau told a press conference earlier today.

OTTAWA — A growing chorus of voices is demanding Ottawa force airlines to reimburse cash-strapped travellers the cost of trips that were cancelled Border shutdowns around the world over the past two months have hammered Canadian airlines’ bottom lines. In a memo last Friday, Air Canada

Air Canada cancelled the flight a few days ago. "How can you say if I can't make it, I lose my money, but if you can't make it, I lose my money again?" Air Canada 's website says the airline is issuing travel credits instead of refunds because "those cancellations that are caused by COVID-19 are

Lukacs said the law requires airlines to refund customers, adding that fares may well go up in the coming year, reducing the value of travel credit.

Air Canada said it has refunded nearly $1 billion to customers since Jan. 1, largely to travellers who paid for refundable tickets.

"While the world is making great progress against COVID-19, we know we must remain vigilant, which includes being flexible," chief commercial officer Lucie Guillemette said in a release Friday.

The loyalty points option allows customers to convert their booking into Aeroplan miles "and get an additional 65 per cent bonus miles," she said.

None of Canada's major airlines tout policies offering to return cash to passengers for the hundreds of thousands of flight cancellations since mid-March, opting instead for vouchers — typically with a timeline of two years.

Pressed on the issue Thursday at his daily media conference, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government needs to have "some very careful discussions with airlines" as well as Canadians to maintain a balance where travellers are "treated fairly'' and the sector stays intact.

Would-be passengers get around airline refund policies via credit card chargebacks

  Would-be passengers get around airline refund policies via credit card chargebacks Would-be passengers get around airline refund policies via credit card chargebacksThe 23-year-old University of Manitoba student had booked seats for himself and his girlfriend on a Swoop flight from Winnipeg to Las Vegas in May for a week-long trip with friends. But in March, the airline cancelled the flight along with thousands of others as border shutdowns and quarantine rules prompted carriers around the globe to ground most of their fleet amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canadian airlines are telling grounded passengers without travel insurance they won't be getting a refund for flights cancelled because of COVID-19 WestJet and Air Canada have implemented the same policy . "I don't think it's fair," said Wilson, who points out many of the people who had booked

Refund Services. Contact Us. Air Canada on your Mobile. If you’re cancelling a fully refundable fare, this will automatically initiate your refund process. All refund assessments are based on Air Canada ’s tariffs and policies as well as the terms and conditions of your purchase.

Several decisions by the Canadian Transportation Agency over the past seven years seem to affirm air travellers’ right to a refund regardless of whether a flight cancellation is beyond the airline’s control, Lukacs said.

A 2014 decision reiterates "the right of passengers to be refunded for the unused portions of their tickets if the carrier is unable to provide transportation on its services or on the services of other carrier(s) within a reasonable period of time."

A 2013 ruling concerning Porter Airlines found that "it is unreasonable for Porter to refuse to refund the fare paid by a passenger because of its cancellation of a flight, even if the cause is an event beyond Porter’s control."

Airlines have been sending repatriation flights and offering customers vouchers, but typically they advertise no refund policy for cancelled routes.

WestJet’s website highlights future travel credit for cancelled flights, but says: "We are not processing refunds to original form of payment at this time."

The disclaimer comes despite the company's tariff — the contract between airline and passenger — which states that "the unused portion of the passenger’s ticket(s) will be refunded" in the same form as it was purchased, "should the alternate transportation proposed by the carrier not meet the passenger’s satisfaction."

Bill Kelly: Where’s the fairness for airline customers?

  Bill Kelly: Where’s the fairness for airline customers? Passengers who might only fly once or twice a year, or maybe even less frequently, don't want credit for cancelled flights — they want their money back, Bill Kelly says.The airline industry wants us to know that it's been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lifestyle News. Air Canada revises refund policy amid growing anger over cancelled flights . Tech giants are embracing remote work. Use of this Website assumes acceptance of Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy .

Travellers entering Canada by air or by land must: provide basic information using the traveller contact information form, available through If you are Canadian or a permanent resident, and you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you may still enter Canada by land, rail or sea.

On Friday, Air Canada also said it will bolster its summer schedule, which nonetheless remains more than 50 per cent smaller than last year as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to pound the airline industry.

The 97 destinations compare with 220 last summer but mark an improvement from the past six weeks, when 95 per cent of its flights were still suspended.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 22, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:AC)

Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press

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