Now that financial support has been announced by the Government of Canada for Air Canada (April 12), Air Transat (April 29), Sunwing (June 25), and Porter Airlines (June 30), how will the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) deal with complaints related to refunds it received against these four airlines during the pandemic?
As a condition of the financial support announced by Ottawa, Air Canada, Air Transat, Sunwing, and Porter are required to reimburse passengers following certain flight cancellations related to the pandemic. In fact, eligible customers have until today (July 12) to submit an application to Air Canada; until August 26 to Air Transat; until August 27 to Sunwing; and until August 29 to Porter.
10,311 refund complaints
At the same time, the CTA reports that, between March 15, 2020, and June 29, 2021, it received more than 16,551 air travel complaints, of which 10,311 are related to reimbursement issues arising from the pandemic.
• 4957 complaints were filed against Air Canada, 2,514 of which were related to a claim for reimbursement;
• 1725 complaints were filed against Air Transat, of which 1,431 related to a claim for reimbursement;
• 1665 of these complaints were filed against Sunwing, of which 685 related to a claim for reimbursement;
• 106 were filed against Porter, of which 91 related to a claim for reimbursement.
(The other complaints deal with other issues, such as flight delays or baggage problems...)
So how will the CTA deal with the more than 10,000 refund-related complaints it has received against these four companies?
"It is anticipated that individuals who request a refund in their complaint to the CTA may be entitled to a refund as part of the measures that Air Canada, Air Transat and Sunwing will have to implement to obtain their financial support," the CTA explains.
The Agency notes, however, that the process for receiving a refund through the financial assistance program for Air Canada, Air Transat, Sunwing and Porter is separate from the CTA's complaint resolution process.
"We will make sure that passengers who have filed complaints with us have successfully resolved them with the airlines," he said.
CTA will continue to handle complaints
The CTA will therefore continue to deal with complaints – unless passengers are informed that they no longer wish to pursue their case further (for example, if a passenger receives a refund and does not wish to pursue other remedies).
The CTA clarifies that, in the interests of fairness, it handles most complaints on a first-come, first-served basis.
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