Booking a holiday can be stressful, and most travellers try to be extra careful that they don’t get misled or ripped-off when it comes to spending money on flights, hotels and general holiday-deals online. That's why one passenger was shocked when she reportedly found Air Canada charged her in US dollars for a domestic Canadian flight. Unfortunately, her case proves when you are spending hundreds, and potentially thousands of dollars online to book your travels, it is important to check the small print, and then check it again, to ensure you know exactly what you are paying for.
Canadian Kelly Wishnoski believed she was getting a pretty good deal when she booked a return flight with Air Canada from Winnipeg to Kelowna. At just $382, Wishnoski thought she’d found a bargain and went ahead and paid for her flight. However, when Wishnoski later discovered she had been charged the $382 in US dollars, which would make the price closer to $500 Canadian, she was horrified.
Speaking to Global News, Wishnoski said, “Me being Canadian, and it being a Canadian flight, US [dollars] never even entered my mind.”
While it is not clear exactly how Wishnoski ended up being charged in U.S. dollars rather than Canadian dollars, this is not the first case of Canadians being charged in American dollars for a Canadian service.
In December last year, Doreen Hucal bought two return tickets from BC to Los Angeles. Hucal was expecting to pay what she believed was $618.91 Canadian for each ticket. However, when her credit card statement arrived, she was mortified to learn the price was actually in US dollars, meaning the conversion was $826.02 CAD. The total cost ended up being $414.22 more than Hucal originally believed she had paid.
When she complained to Air Canada, their representatives insisted that Hucal was at fault, claiming she had been charged in US dollars from the outset and had booked her tickets using the US version of the Air Canada website. Hucal disputes this, saying she used the app.
Air Canada also claims that they had sent Hucal an invoice receipt immediately after purchase with the total in American dollars, which she could have used to cancel the flight, but Hucal said she didn’t open it.
In 2017, the Government Competition Bureau advised consumers to double-check the type of currency being used by airlines, as these kinds of issues have the potential to arise. The bureau noted that some websites simply use the "$" symbol, which could represent either Canadian or American dollars, and it is important for consumers to check carefully before making purchases.
Both the Air Canada app and website come in a Canadian edition and an American edition, that have their national currencies reflected within. Usually, when visiting the website, users are given the option to choose Canada or the United States as a country of residence, although both Hucal and Wishnoski say they were not asked to pick.
If you’re planning to book a summer getaway, or are eyeing up bargain flights for the end of the year, make sure to be extra vigilant when checking the prices! If you have any concerns or questions related to the currency of the airline in question, the best thing to do is contact them directly to confirm the price before booking.