WestJet has updated its refund policy to reflect flights between Canada and the United States and the United Kingdom that were cancelled during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a document sent to travel advisors.
The move makes WestJet the first major Canadian carrier to offer refunds instead of travel credits to customers whose trips were cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis.
WestJet spokesperson Morgan Bell confirmed the update in an email to PAX on Friday (June 5th):
“We have now begun processing refunds to original form of payment for guests holding some international itineraries that were cancelled by WestJet due to the COVID-19 crisis. Guests with eligible tickets who booked directly with WestJet will have the option of changing their flights, receiving the full value of their flight in Travel Bank or accepting a refund to original form of payment. We are proactively contacting those guests with eligible flights who have already had their refund processed to Travel Bank to allow them this additional option,” Bell said in a statement.
Guests with eligible tickets who booked through a travel agent will also be provided with the option of retaining their full ticket value for a future flight or refunding to original form of payment, Bell wrote.
A refund would, in turn, recall any travel agent commissions.
WestJet is currently processing reimbursement requests for flights scheduled to take place in March. Requests for flights that were planned in the first half of April will be accepted from June 16th, while those for flights in the second half of April will be from July 1st.
“This is an option for some guests with international itineraries that were cancelled by WestJet due to the COVID-19 crisis,” Bell noted. “We are carefully monitoring the regulatory frameworks in all its operated jurisdictions. As this is a rapidly evolving situation, we encourage guests to check our website regularly for up-to-date information pertaining to COVID-19.”
Air Canada and Transat have not yet indicated if they are planning to follow this model.
“WestJet has consistently provided change/cancel options to all guests impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, including the ability to rebook flights with no change fee, to refund the full value of their flight to a WestJet Travel Bank valid for use within 24 months for bookings made directly with WestJet or to retain their full ticket value for a future flight for bookings made with travel agents,” Bell noted.
The refund policy does not include itineraries within Canada or to continental Europe, Mexico or the Caribbean.
It also doesn't apply to passengers who chose to cancel their trip ahead of time.
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