Air Canada is now offering refunds to some customers whose travel was cancelled during the COVID-19 pandemic, PAX has learned.
The revelation makes Air Canada the second major Canadian airline to offer refunds at a time when airlines have favoured travel vouchers to cope with the unprecedented losses associated with halting air travel due to COVID-19 restrictions.
WestJet was the first to break rank when it quietly updated its refund policy on June 5th to reflect cancelled flights between Canada and the United States and the United Kingdom
According to a document that was posted on June 15th to Air Canada’s website, passengers that departed from the European Union, Switzerland and Iceland, and whose flights were cancelled during the pandemic, are “entitled to receive a refund.''
The post sources an EU ruling that grants passengers “the right to choose between reimbursement, rerouting or rebooking the flight at a later date'' if a trip is cancelled by an airline.
In a statement to PAX, Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick confirmed that customers with itineraries originating out of the EU do indeed now have the option of a refund for non-refundable tickets.
“This decision follows extensive discussions among EU members of appropriate remedies given this unprecedented, global crisis and our own review of the applicable regulations in an evolving regulatory environment,” Fitzpatrick told PAX.
The refund policy applies to itineraries originating out of Switzerland and Iceland as well, Fitzpatrick confirmed.
Air Canada has, notably, been providing refund options to customers with refundable tickets, as per these fares’ terms and conditions.
Since the beginning of 2020, Air Canada has refunded more than $1 billion in refundable tickets, the carrier reports.
Customers holding non-refundable tickets are offered the choice of a travel credit with no expiry date that is fully transferable, or to convert their booking into Aeroplan Miles and get an additional 65 per cent bonus miles.
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