Air Canada changes course and offers refunds to certain passengers whose flights have been canceled due to COVID

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Air Canada has quietly changed its refund policy to allow certain customers whose flights have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic to recover their money – but not passengers whose journeys began in Canada.Customers whose flights originated in the European Union, Switzerland and Iceland due to the pandemic are “entitled to a refund,” said a document recently posted on the Air Canada website.

The post-made of June 15, according to metadata, cites an EU regulation that grants passengers “the right to choose between reimbursement, re-routing or new booking of the flight at a later date” if their trip is canceled by the airline.

“For customers with routes from the EU, Air Canada also recently added a refund option for non-refundable tickets. This decision follows extensive discussions among EU members on appropriate remedies given this unprecedented global crisis and our own review of the applicable regulations in a changing regulatory environment, “said Air Canada in a email Thursday.

Customers with “non-refundable tickets” can choose between travel credit with no expiration date or convert their reservation to Aeroplan points with 65 percent more bonus miles, the airline said.

Months of play

Air Canada’s shift makes it the second major Canadian carrier to offer refunds rather than credit to some passengers whose flights have been canceled due to the coronavirus crisis.

Earlier this month, WestJet Airlines Ltd. said a larger offer of reimbursement in a document sent to travel agents that applies to flights with an American or British city as destination or origin.

The change follows months of reaction as consumer advocates and thousands of passengers continue to demand reimbursement for services paid for but never rendered.

An Air Canada executive told the House of Commons health committee on Monday that the carrier returned approximately $ 1 billion to customers who purchased more expensive refundable tickets but still had some $ 2.6 billion dollars in presale in his coffers.

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