Update: Michael Shapray says Air Canada has given him a refund since this story was published. Read the background below.
VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A Vancouver-based lawyer and media legal analyst is upset with Air Canada after the airline cancelled a work flight he’d booked and won’t offer a refund.
Longtime NEWS 1130 contributor Michael Shapray says he was supposed to fly from Cranbrook to Vancouver at the end of the week, but Air Canada scrapped the flight, claiming it was because of an advisory.
The airline re-booked him on the next available flight the following day.
Shapray says he doesn’t want the expense of another night in Cranbrook, and despite the cancellation coming from the airline itself, Air Canada wouldn’t give him his money back.
Instead, they offered only a voucher for future travel.
“They said, ‘Well, you didn’t book a refundable ticket, so therefore, all you can get is a future travel credit,'” Shapray recalls. “That’s the situation I was stuck in. Of course, there is another airline luckily that flies back from Cranbrook on the Friday afternoon, so I was able to book a ticket on that airline.”
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Shapray says he was firmly told there was nothing else they could do, an answer he wasn’t satisfied with.
“I think the position is that, obviously, this is a little different than the situation with a lot of flights that couldn’t run because of COVID earlier in the pandemic — March, April, May — and I know there’s a lot of consumers upset about flights not running and only credits being offered, and I think that’s a different issue because we’re well into airline travel, at least, recommencing within Canada. This isn’t a situation where there was some sort of outbreak in Cranbrook or anything like that,” he tells NEWS 1130.
“You can’t go into business, you can’t order food from a restaurant and then show up and have them say, ‘Well, you know what, we weren’t getting enough orders tonight so we’ll give you your food tomorrow.'”
Shapray believes Air Canada is “bullying consumers” by telling them they aren’t eligible for a refund because their tickets are non-refundable, even though the company hasn’t warned them of potential cancellations.
“I think the reason that I call them a bully and a monopoly is because they probably assume that when everything does get back to normal, if it gets back to normal, that consumers will have no choice but to travel on Air Canada, and they will have control of the market.”
Shapray says he had “a very long call” with the company’s customer service department, to no avail. He also says there has been no advisory issued between Cranbrook and Vancouver.
NEWS 1130 has reached out to Air Canada for comment.