Canadians who couldn't go on their planned trips this year have even more to be frustrated about. Canada's airlines are still refusing to offer cash refunds for cancelled flights. This week, several airlines spoke once again about their decision to refuse some refunds.

In a House of Commons health committee meeting held on June 22, executives from the country's three major airlines (Air Canada, WestJet, and Air Transat), defended their policies of offering vouchers instead of cash refunds, according to CTV News.

"We do believe that refunding and reimbursing with travel credits is an appropriate response in exceptional circumstances," Jared Mikoch-Gerke, manager of aviation security at WestJet Airlines Ltd. said, as reported by the National Post.

WestJet is one airline that is offering some cash refunds for flights but only on trips that include the United States or the U.K. in their route.

Refunds to the original form of payment will only be given to customers who booked their travel directly with WestJet or through a travel agent.

The other two airlines have not taken the same route, though. 

Air Canada has offered extended travel vouchers for people whose flights were cancelled due to the pandemic. 

The company has also always included an option to make new tickets refundable for an additional fee. If original flights were purchased without this option, customers can only be refunded via travel vouchers.

Air Transat has not offered its customers a cash refund option either.

Global News reports that Howard Liebman, senior director of government and community relations for Air Transat, said "There’s no industry that can go without operating for three months and still meet all of our obligations."

Air Transat has, however, announced that it will resume flights to some international locations starting on July 23.

For example, Toronto passengers will be able to travel to Athens, Glasgow, London, Manchester, Porto, and Rome.

While passengers have clamoured for cash refunds on their cancelled flights, Canada’s Transport Minister Marc Garneau has said that this could be devastating to the industry.

"If airlines had to immediately reimburse all cancelled tickets, it would have a devastating effect on the air sector, which has been reeling since the COVID-19 pandemic started," he said.

The prime minister has spoken about Canadian airlines refusing to refund passengers but has not committed to taking federal action on the matter.

Start the Conversation
Account Settings
Notifications
Favourites
Log Out