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Air Canada quietly offers refunds to some passengers with cancelled flights

Last Updated Jun 25, 2020 at 9:42 am PDT

FILE -- Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on Wednesday, April 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Summary

Air Canada has changed its refund policy to allow some customers whose flights were cancelled due to the COVID-19

Customers with planes departing from the European Union, Switzerland and Iceland due to the pandemic likely eligible

Air Canada's apparent shift would make it the second major Canadian carrier to offer refunds

MONTREAL — Air Canada has quietly changed its refund policy to allow some customers whose flights were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic to recoup their cash.

A document recently posted to its website says customers with planes departing from the European Union, Switzerland and Iceland due to the pandemic are “entitled to receive a refund.”

The post — made on June 15, according to the metadata — cites an EU regulation that grants passengers “the right to choose between reimbursement, rerouting or rebooking the flight at a later date” if their trip is called off by the airline.

Air Canada’s apparent shift would make it the second major Canadian carrier to offer refunds rather than credit to passengers whose flights were nixed as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

Earlier this month, WestJet Airlines Ltd. spelled out a refund offer in a document sent to travel agents and obtained by The Canadian Press that applies to flights with a U.S. or U.K. city as the destination or origin.

The change follows months of backlash as consumer advocates and thousands of passengers continue to demand their money back for services paid for but never rendered.

On Monday, an Air Canada executive told the House of Commons health committee Monday the carrier has given about $1 billion back to customers who bought more expensive refundable tickets, but still has some $2.6 billion in advance ticket sales in its coffers.