Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Travellers and travel agents alike are increasingly frustrated with refund policies and customer service at Canadian airlines amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

A petition calling on Ottawa to refuse bailouts to any airline that does not refund customers for cancelled flights now has roughly 3,000 signatures.

Toronto resident Bob Scott launched the petition last week.

He notes that Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds — amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars in effective loans to airlines from passengers.

Barbara Broomel, a New York-based travel agent who works with Canadian clients, says Air Canada has been “very hard” to reach, leaving her “in agony” about whether a tour group should make their final $6,000 payment for a European trip that may yet be cancelled.

Air Canada, which has cut flying by about 90 per cent for the next two months, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Natalie Rahey and Blair Skrupski, a Halifax couple whose wedding in Mexico later this month is now on hold after Air Canada Vacations cancelled their flight, say they and their nearly three dozen guests are now out a total of more than $50,000. Rahey says she is “incredibly disappointed” that their voucher requires them to rebook at the same resort for the same price or more within the next two years, even if cheaper options become available.

While U.S. and European Union officials have ordered airlines to reimburse customers for cancelled flights, a statement on the Canadian Transportation Agency website says airlines are not obliged to refund passengers for flights suspended due to the novel coronavirus or other reasons outside a carrier’s control.

READ MORE: As 240K apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

The Canadian Press

Leave a Comment
Share
Published by
The Canadian Press

Recent Posts

Demonstrators call for end to police violence at rally for UBCO nursing student Mona Wang

Protests held in Kelowna, Vancouver, Richmond and Surrey

5 hours ago

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

15 hours ago

30 years after Oka crisis, Kanesatake land claims remain unresolved

Serge Simon, the current Grand Chief of Kanesatake, vividly remembers the events of July 11,…

15 hours ago

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

16 hours ago

CFL submits revised financial request to federal government: source

CFL and CFLPA in talks to amend current collective bargaining agreement to allow for an…

16 hours ago

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary…

16 hours ago