Facing dozens of customer complaints to the US Department of Transportation, Air Canada is fighting back. While the carrier has only filed one response publicly so far the contents suggest that passengers may well come up short in their efforts to get their money back. Not only does the airline intend to not provide refunds to passengers on flights it canceled, but it now also suggests that the DOT should not and can not regulate such policies.
The Enforcement Notice and the Department’s COVID-19 Refund FAQS are guidance documents only; they were not promulgated through a formal rulemaking process under the Administrative Procedures Act, and they do not have the effect of law.– Part of Air Canada’s defense against not providing refunds to passengers
In response to a complaint filed by Charles Cervinka regarding a trip from
Toronto Montreal to Chicago. The flight was cancelled by the carrier but rather than provide a refund, as was typically the carrier’s policy, Air Canada changed its rules on 19 March 2020. Refunds were no longer an option. Instead, only credits are to be granted. In insisting that the US DOT butt out of such policy enforcement the carrier cites a four-pronged argument:
- Air Canada is complying with its published Contract of Carriage and fare tariffs
- The DOT’s “reminder” to airlines to pay out refunds isn’t really law
- The policy is neither unfair nor deceptive
- The DOT holds no authority to enforce any regulations on this transaction
The Contract of Carriage
Air Canada’s policy for non-refundable tickets does not allow for refunds. Not surprising, of course, but also not uniformly enforced. Indeed, Air Canada acknowledges that it historically did provide full refunds to passengers in similar situations. But that was “a goodwill gesture” that the carrier “generously” offered to passengers, not a requirement. And when the carrier chose to stop extending that goodwill it was simply reverting to the letter of the contract, not its more generous typical behavior.
Certain customers with reservations for flights that were cancelled due to events outside of Air Canada’s control (including COVID-19) before March 19, 2020 may, as a goodwill gesture, have generously been offered a refund despite having booked reservations at a non-refundable fare. This approach was established as a matter of goodwill for customers, but was at no time required under Air Canada’s Conditions of Carriage, Tariff, Canadian Transportation Agency (“CTA”) regulations or, in the case of non-refundable tickets, the applicable fare rules.
Moreover, Air Canada claims that the decision to cancel the flight from Toronto to Chicago was outside of its control. As such, Canada’s Air Passenger Protection Regulations (“APPR”) require only that the airline provide alternate travel arrangements, not a refund. It is unclear if the argument that the cancellation was a non-controllable event holds water, but Cervinka did not explicitly state that in the complaint so Air Canada appears to be getting away with that claim.
In this manner the airline suggests that the policy is reasonable and well known; as such, no enforcement action is warranted.
Read More: Jilted travelers get aggressive in seeking airline refund enforcement from the DOT
The DOT points out that for its policy, “The focus is not on whether the flight disruptions are within or outside the carrier’s control, but rather on the fact that the cancellation is through no fault of the passenger. Accordingly, the Department continues to view any contract of carriage provision or airline policy that purports to deny refunds to passengers when the carrier cancels a flight, makes a significant schedule change, or significantly delays a flight to be a violation of the carriers’ obligation that could subject the carrier to an enforcement action.”
In other words, the DOT believes such CoC clauses are a violation as written. That the airline seeks to enforce them, therefore, should be actionable by the DOT. But executing that enforcement might be harder than the DOT wants it to be.
DOT policies cannot and should not be enforced
Air Canada further points out that the DOT Enforcement Notice and the Refunds FAQ are merely guidance documents, not new regulations. As such they cannot supersede existing policies. And Air Canada claims that existing policies support its position. As such, they should not require a refund be issued.
The carrier also cites an Executive Order issued on 19 May 2020 that suggests “Agencies should address this economic emergency by rescinding, modifying, waiving, or providing exemptions from regulations and other requirements that may inhibit economic recovery…” The airline believes its need to hold on to that cash rather than pay out refunds to consumers should qualify for this exemption, should the DOT disagree with its initial claim that the policy requiring refunds does not really exist.
Further, Air Canada argues that the transaction is outside the purview of DOT regulators. The passenger in question is a Bermudan citizen and the ticket was purchased from Air Canada’s Canadian website. That is happens to be for a flight to the USA is, to the airline, inconsequential.
To the extent the transaction did not occur in the United States or via a website that was marketed to U.S. consumers, any attempt to apply the Enforcement Notice or 49 U.S.C. § 41712 to Mr. Cervinka’s purchase would be an unwarranted extraterritorial application of U.S. law.
The carrier goes further to point out “there are no international agreements nor is there any Presidential or Congressional action that authorizes the Department to regulate foreign air carriers in this manner.”
Other complaints filed by passengers may not have the benefit of the foreign point-of-sale argument, but that is significant in the carrier’s position here.
This last argument could have much broader impact than just on the need for airlines to issue refunds on canceled flights. Since the policies on full-fare advertising and a 24-hour “cooling off period” for purchases took effect airlines around the globe – including Air Canada – have accepted that they are obligated to follow those rules on flights to or from the USA, regardless of the point of sale. Indeed, many other airlines responded to the US DOT’s guidance with a softer stance, allowing refunds on those cancelled flights. But not Air Canada.
This may be the first time an airline is choosing to fight back against the DOT in this manner, raising the stakes well beyond a few hundred or thousand dollars owed to affected passengers, beyond the millions of dollars that adds up to in aggregate.
Should the DOT concede this point it could have much broader reaching implications on the overall state of airfare policies related to US-bound travels.
UPDATE: To anyone looking for advice on how to file a similar claim (despite the airlines still fighting against it) a group of Canadian law school students have a template now available to help automate the process.
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The DOT should ban AC from operating flight to and from The US until they comply.
100% mate, bye bye Air Canada
The US DOT policy has no teeth. Apparently in Canada a criminal cabal runs the government — otherwise AC would not be able to get away with criminal behavior. It’s completely unethical to withhold refunds when services were not rendered. Even my credit card company, Bank of America, refuses to go up against these scoundrels in doing a charge back. There’s no way an individual can exercise their rights when the corporations own government officials. I think it’s called inverted totalitarianism.
Because you’re not getting exactly what you want when you want it, does not mean there is some grand conspiracy or they’re being unethical. You may want to check your entitlement at the door. Bank Of America is not doing anything because you received a voucher. The End…. You’re not losing anything and spare me that couple of hundred dollars for the plane ticket is going to stop you from being on the streets.
This was a Canadian transaction, the U.S. doesn’t appear to have any standing in this case. Canada has its own courts, take it there. The U.S. is not the end all be all of anything.
So many entitled, arrogant people during all this. I would offer you a refund and put your paperwork to the bottom of the pile and keep it there.
Charles Cervinka says
Lucky for me you don’t practice contract law. Failure/inability to provide a service frees me from the obligation to pay for that service. DOT has jurisdiction because the flight went to Chicago.
Steve G says
Now you’re cooking with gas!
Having worked for several airlines over a 10-year period, I can safely say they are top-heavy corporations that hire-in “talent” to sit in the corporate offices and hyper-analyze the most ridiculous crap you can imagine. It blows my mind how many thousands of analysts and lawyers they have for a hundred airplanes (give or take). Talk about a waste of money!
When one zooms out and looks at the “big picture” here, you have to ask yourself how much $$ they are shelling out, having their attorneys write these lengthy responses and do all this research, as opposed to the cost of just giving the damn refunds. Sometimes it’s just the cost of doing business, right? Me thinks the younger lawyer pool might also have something to do with it as well. Could be some young, dumb attorneys not realizing the potential consequences of playing hardball with this. Obviously the other airlines are taking a more cautionary approach.
We’ll see how this plays out…
And? You bought the ticket in Canada, you’re not a U.S. Citizen.. So what it was going to the U.S. . What about Canadian law, you know where you actually had the transaction occur? You seem to think that the U.S. Courts should reach across borders to foreign companies, it doesn’t and shouldn’t.
As I stated, the U.S,. is not the end all be all of anything and they need to stay within their own borders. Otherwise this will turn into a tit for tat game in which everyone loses. I hope at the end of all this, other countries start implementing rules on U.S. Carriers, we’ll see then how people complain.
Take the voucher and be quiet Bob. You’re ridiculous.
Why the name calling now? You are entitled to your opinion and I respect that. Neither of us decides what the laws and regulations are so we’ll just let the DOT sort this out. I’m sure they will refer to their foreign carrier licensing authority requirements and make a sound determination based on that. I’m no lawyer but I’m pretty sure AC had to agree to abide by the DOT’s rules somewhere in there in order to have a license to operate in the USA.
Finally, a bunch of actual American citizens are filing the same complaint I did so that dubious argument about extraterritoriality won’t hold up for long.
Dean really has a hockey stick up his butt.
The U.S. Gov should cut off Air Canada’s access to the largest consumer market in the world, it will cost them a lot more than the several hundred thousand dollars in refunds they could have just paid.
And then we won’t have to run into Dean in Canada.
In December, I paid for an international trip to Europe and back through Air Canada. They have had an interest free loan on my more than $4,000.00USD since then. They have canceled and they have rebooked my flight on a different day, turning my 18 hour trip into a 43 hour trip and I cannot get a refund? That is not arrogant of me. They are just wrong!
I booked & paid $ 6785.00 for a round trip flight from Phoenix,Az to Paris on Dec. 1,2019. Air Canada Cancelled my flight April 1,2020. Air Canada has had my monet INTEREST FREE for over 7 1/2 months now. Air Canada REFUSES to refund my money,they are offering me a voucher. A voucher that I most likely will never be able to use. I DO NOT live in Canada and have never had any desire to go there. Multiply my fare by 20,000 or possibly more bookings and they have literally made a fortune. This has turned into a bait & switch scheme.
Seth Miller says
I’d try a CC dispute if you still can, though based on the purchase date it might be too late.
The USA government issued an ordinance to provide refund to customers whose flights were canceled due to COVID-19. However, AirCanada claimed that it is not US company and the US law is not applicable to it. I guess US government should ban business operations to the companies that do not follow US law. Otherwise company like Air Canada will turn into money pumps sucking money from US customers.
Charles Cervinka says
1- I filed my reply today. Enjoy the reading. AC’s position is weak.
2- I am a Bermuda resident but Canadian citizen
3- the executive order was promulgated on May 19, more than a week after my travel date
4- I can’t imagine the DOT will let a foreign carrier dictate US policy
Seth Miller says
I saw your reply earlier and gave you a shout-out on Twitter: https://twitter.com/WandrMe/status/1277716487374082050.
I think you’re in a pretty strong position as the facts go. Especially pointing out that AC not only changed the rules after the fact, but filed a brief with the wrong version. If I made the rules that would be an immediate forfeit on their part.
But it is also unclear what willingness the DOT has from an enforcement perspective. Maybe if only to prevent others from piling on to ignoring the policies, but that’s a tough diplomatic position. And, FWIW, Sunwing filed a similar response suggesting that the DOT has no authority in a separate case.
Charles Cervinka says
Thanks! I totally agree.
Last change: flight was Montreal-Chicago
Thanks for spreading the word
I suspect that since the covid will keep re-occurring for at least another year, probably 3, the airlines will all file for some sort of bankruptcy protection. Voucher holders will lose the ticket value, as unsecured creditors.
In the interim, the usage deadline for issued vouchers won’t be extended, so what if it’s unsafe to book?
An expectation… the voucher isn’t legally rejected by a passenger before the flight would have happened, then it will be deemed to have been accepted, and no chargeback.
Seth Miller says
While there are no guarantees and the voucher holders are definitely unsecured creditors, there’s also some precedent that they are not always wiped out in a bankruptcy.
I sill would fight to not have one in most cases, but it isn’t a certain loss.
Excellent article. Well written. Thank you.
Just ban them from flying to the USA until they start paying back refunds. That’ll sort the thieving bastards out quick smart.
People are going to remember bad behavior Air Canada. I know I will never fly with you people again. This is intolerable behavior. Theft! So stop being smart-arses, refund passengers their money when applicable. Next we all know what will happen, AC will go broke, they’ll scream like stuffed pigs, get a taxpayer funded bailout, from the same taxpayers they are stealing from now and that pip-squeak loonie PM will grant it for his mates.
I don’t understand airlines sometimes. Why put yourself through all this crap. Simply give back the people their money and avoid al this.
Bastian Kossmann says
Banning them is wrong.
Just impound their planes on the runway when they come to the USA until they cough up the refunds
We have Air Canada tickets to Europe and am waiting for the flights to be cancelled. Even if they aren’t, we won’t be going. It’s simply too risky to become ill while on vacation. Air Canada is offering points or a voucher to those who have to cancel their plans due to COVID-19, but We’ve decided that we’ll take a cash refund — minus a huge penalty — just so we’ll never, ever, ever again have to fly on that airline. The service is deplorable. They care nothing about their passengers and tenaciously adhere to policies they create to protect themselves at all costs.
Interesting article. I’m one of the dozens of others who have filed a DOT complaint against Air Canada. I bought my ticket in January for a flight from Indianapolis to Vancouver when their policy was to refund tickets on cancelled flights. I can’t see how they can subsequently change the rules and refuse a refund. For now I have a temporary credit from my credit card company so we’ll see if that holds up.
Josh Williams says
I have been trying to get a refund since April. All my flights to Europe were cancelled. According to the DOT if the flight departed from the US I was entitled to a refund not a credit. I will continue to try and get a refund. Thanks for the article.
Constantin Ciorogariu says
Air Canada if they want to continue doing business in the US they need to play by US DOT rules
As of right now they are leaving it up to the travel agencies to ripoff US customers stating that they do not know how much the customers paid for the tickets. I HAVE THE INVOICES AND THE CREDIT CARD RECEIPTS.
While Air Canada is holding back, the travel agencies are imposing all kind of outrageous fees on the customers ranging for $100.00 to $200.00 per ticket. Something needs to be done about this.
Gaby Blue says
To be totally honest I admire Air Canada for taking the stance it has taken. For the great majority of people who choose to fly the air ticket element is the least of their costs. Air travel until the pandemic has been open to people across all economic groups which is clearly indicated by the continual dropping of air fares. Think of the cost of a promotional type fare in real terms today and compare it with those in the 70s and 80s. Most of us can access air travel which wasn’t the case all those years ago.
With few exceptions I do not buy the fact that people need a refund in order to survive due job losses and the economic downturn and for those who do they can proceed with their refund request as in such cases, if a letter is correctly positioned, a refund will be forthcoming.
Airlines are risky businesses and rely on high seat load factors in order to break even. Air Canada does not say tickets are lost but instead is allowing rebookings without penalty.
Once air travel picks up again, most Canadians will be back on planes but perhaps this time they will refrain from complaining as many do with the believe that they have the inherrent right that everything goes to plan.
Seth Miller says
I find it hard to admire a company that changes the terms of a contract unilaterally after the deal is done. And I’m very aware of the cash flow challenges airlines face. I just don’t think they should get to take advantage of their customers as a result.
Charles Cervinka says
Let’s keep it simple and stick to basic principles with universal applicability. Customer pays for X, company cannot provide X, customer gets his money back. All the other nonsense about entitlement (customer’s or airline’s) is background noise.
Steve G says
It’s funny, because the concept around credit cards is just that: Get what you pay for, or you don’t pay. The banks’ policy says that. US credit card regulation says that. For decades, that was the beauty of using credit cards, having that enforcement mechanism to use against lazy or unethical merchants.
But…now no one wants to do their job. Their job is still defined on paper, but there’s no easily-accessible vehicle with which to hold them accountable and make them fight on your behalf. The bank is technically required to fight your claim on your behalf and does have ultimate control of the transaction as the card-issuing-bank. But, since they don’t want to do their jobs anymore, we either have to accept that, or bring a claim against them somehow. Obviously they’ve gotten smart and put binding arbitration in their contracts now, limiting how much damage their lazy, unethical behavior can actually rack-up since you can’t sue them in a real court, or even threaten to do so.
On the flip-side, the airlines now have the exact same mindset, and have laid-down many barriers to keep the customer from being able to reasonably exercise what little rights they may have left in today’s contract of carriage. Basically, put you through hell until you give up entirely and forfeit your money, or take some lesser offering after hours (or days) of abuse.
Steve G says
Having worked for several carriers for 10 years, here are some facts that stand out:
1) in the 70s and 80s, airlines treated customers with a hell of a lot more respect than they do now. High fares for luxury service back then; cheap fares for crappy service in 2020. Either way, they did it to themselves because they — themselves — converted the industry into the low-grade beast it is today.
2) the argument of refunds vs credits would not be such a big deal if airlines didn’t give customers hell when it comes time to actually USE that credit. In a lot of cases, those credits are NOT the same as cash, even if issued electronically, have too many strings attached, and may not apply towards a particular type of fare that a customer wishes to purchase. This happened to my parents last month. They did not fight for their refund, and when they went to use the credit voucher, they were told “rules…policy…you can’t use the credit towards basic economy tickets.” Which is exactly the same class they were booked on the original itinerary.
Absent the airlines’ behavior, your arguments really would make a lot of sense. But the airlines are their own worst enemy. They’ve bloated-up their organizations and let run-away policy-making and bureaucracy create a freakshow experience for the customer. Not to mention outsourcing customer service to cheap-labor who can barely speak english. Is that fair put those poor foreign workers through that just so upper management can pad their paychecks even more?
Will WestJet be next? After 3 months, WestJet finally agreed to allow a refund – however, it states the OTA must process it “due to PCI compliance issues”. And Priceline claims WestJet has disabled its refund capability. I suspect WestJet is simply stalling. If other airlines can take over an OTA issued ticket and issue a refund why can’t WestJet? Don’t fly any Canadian airlines or if absolutely necessary, buy a codeshare on United or Delta.
Terence M says
Best way to convince Air Canada that they are being dishonest is to spread publicity of their deceptive practices on social media. When people stop buying tickets on their flights perhaps they will wake up.
Chris Smith says
“it is unclear if the argument that the cancellation was a non-controllable event holds water” .. bingo! Airports were still open and there were other carrier connections to complete most itineraries. The decision to cancel was completely within Air Canada’s control. They needed to offer those options. It would then have been the customer’s decision to cancel or not. AC’s decision to cancel when it was not out of their control, and then not offer alternative ways to complete the itinerary means that under Canadian regulations, they need to process a refund.
I expect this will only become firmly established in court.
I booked on June 3rd & paid for a return flight to Las Vegas with AC. I got an email yesterday that AC had cancelled my flights. Of course they are refusing to give me a refund & using the bogus excuse of Canadian Government Covid restrictions. The thing is the Canadian Government has not at any time restricted AC from flying to or from the US & AC flies daily to the US along with many other airlines. I will do all I can to avoid using AC in the future & will spread the word far & wide for others to avoid using AC.
Seth Miller says
I’d try a CC charge back given the timing. At least you’ve got a chance.
Also booked an AC flight from DAL to FRA back in February for September that was cancelled in June. Of course they refuse to offer a refund and will only offer credit good on AC, which doesn’t fly domestically in the US. My bank has initially refused the chargeback so I’m waiting to hear back from their CEO after a month of complaints have gone unanswered (USAA). It appears 2020 is the year of just getting dicked, or I may just be stuck in purgatory, in that case I probably earned it.
Seth Miller says
I’m surprised to hear a US CC did not allow a charge-back on an itinerary originating in the USA. That’s unexpected.
After sending them Visa’s policy and the DOT enforcement notices with the pertinent information highlighted they initiated the dispute, after a month of back and forth.
I also received confirmation of the law from the DOT in en email that affirmed my right to a refund.
If everyone stays calm and logical I should have a positive outcome.
Could you paste the body of the email here withw date and DOT person’s name please? People can then reference this is their own battles.
This responds to your communication regarding your reservations. The U.S. Department of Transportation seeks to ensure that all airline passengers are treated fairly. Complaints from consumers are helpful to us in determining whether airlines are complying with the law and to track trends or spot areas of concern that warrant further action.
Generally, passengers who purchase non-refundable tickets on a flight that is still being operated without a significant delay are not entitled to a refund. A passenger is entitled to a refund if an airline cancels a flight and the passenger chooses not to accept an alternative flight on that airline. A passenger is also entitled to a refund if the airline makes a significant schedule change or significantly delays a flight and the passenger chooses not to travel due to the significant change or delay. Additionally, passengers may be entitled to a refund based on the terms of an airline’s contract of carriage.
We will forward your complaint to the airline and or agency and will ask the company/companies to respond directly to you. Airlines are required to acknowledge receipt of a consumer complaint within 30 days and provide a substantive response to the complainant within 60 days. If you have not received a reply within this time frame please let us know. If you need to contact me, please include your name and case number (see above).
We have entered your complaint in our computerized industry monitoring system, and it will be counted among the number of complaints filed against this airline in our monthly Air Travel Consumer Report. This report allows consumers and air travel companies to compare the complaint records of individual airlines and tour operators. The data in this report also serve as a basis for rulemaking, legislation and research. Consumer information for air travelers, including the Air Travel Consumer Report and our pamphlet Fly-Rights, a Consumer’s Guide to Air Travel, can be found on our website, http://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer. Thank you for taking the time to contact us.
Kimberly C. Hargett
Aviation Industry Analyst
Office of Aviation Consumer Protection
Office of the General Counsel/Office of the Secretary
U.S. Department of Transportation
George Selden says
As a US based travel agent, I take exception to responses made back in June by Dean. All of my activity transpires in the US. The purchase in the days exchange rate to US $, paid to AC through ARC, a US clearing house for any payments done by US Agents to Airlines that are members of and agree to be paid by this consortium of most international airlines that are members.
There is another body belong to Iata which is a consortium of All International Airlines and they agree to settle payments through BSP which is every other country excluding the US for payment Settlements. Air Canada is a member of this also for tickets sold in CANADA or anywhere beside the US.
This point is very important in that any tickets sold in the US (which mine are) through my in house travel distribution system. All airlines receiving payments from ARC are bound by these US Rules including DOT from the US.
I propose that Dean keep his Socialists leaning opinions to himself when making blanket statements!
Sell in the US in US$ refund per our rules.
The rest of the world can fend for themselves including Canadians
I added some new information to my complaint today. Air Canada is advertising travel to the US despite the travel restrictions they used to justify cancelling my flight still being in place. Nothing has changed since my flight was cancelled. This proves that they cancelled my flight for business reasons, i.e. due to reasons within Air Canada’s control.
Jeff S. says
I know this is several months old now but I came across it when looking for any updates – I’m in a similar situation, having purchased 3 one-way tickets on AC from the U.S. to Canada (DTW-YYZ-YVR). I have en open DOT complaint as well: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=DOT-OST-2020-0074.
In summary, I purchased my tickets last August (2019), when the International Tariff (the terms and conditions that apply) explicitly called for refunds for cancellations for any reason when the passenger could not be rebooked. (AC’s claim that their T&C always only called for refunds for cancellations within their control is a lie; that may be the case for domestic tickets but that language was only added to the International Tariff on January 6, 2020.) As you all know, Air Canada’s response to DOT complaints argues that the DOT enforcement notice is merely a suggestion and not law, and that the contract is the final arbiter of the terms. The airline acknowledges that the contract as of the date of my ticket purchase apply, but they’re still arguing against refunding based on the later contract.
A voucher would be useless to me as Air Canada’s service to my hometown has been suspended indefinitely. The fact that a competitor (Delta) has continued to operate this route ever since certainly calls into question AC’s claim that the cancellation was due to “government regulations” – flights are not prohibited from operating and never were.
Prior to my DOT complaint, I submitted a refund request through Air Canada’s website, which said responses may take 6 to 8 weeks. They took 12 weeks to respond, by which time I had already filed a chargeback, so my refund request was denied because a chargeback had already been filed. American Express reversed the chargeback when the airline sent them a copy of my ticket stub with “nonrefundable” highlighted. I submitted a response acknowledging the ticket was nonrefundable and explaining that only means the customer could not cancel for a refund, not that a refund would not be owed in the event the airline cancels. I enclosed the DOT enforcement notice and Air Canada’s own International Tariff as of August 2019 as proof. There were 3 separate chargebacks as each of the 3 tickets was charged separately. On one, AmEx found in my favor and closed the issue. On another, they issued a temporary credit pending the airline’s response. And on the third, they sent a message saying the merchant had already supported its position and “we are not in a position to investigate this further”. I don’t blame them for the first reversal, but that response is a pretty poor – why have the option to reopen the dispute with additional information if they’re going to ignore it? And why are they unable to investigate this dispute further but they are for the other two?
Jeff S. says
Just to provide an update on my situation, Air Canada didn’t respond to the two follow-up chargebacks, and the deadline has now passed, so they should be permanent. I’m still looking for a way to reopen the chargeback that AmEx refused to reopen, now that AC has not defended its position in two identical ones.
I filed a complaint with the DOT, and Air Canada replied back to the forwarded complaint. I have a REFUNDABLE ticket and they said that I could get a refunded, minus a $300 cancellation fee. I didn’t cancel my flight, they cancelled it on me. Basically they are saying there is no difference between you cancelling the flight and the airline cancelling it, either way they get $300 from you. This would have been my first time flying with them, and I will never bother flying with this company. I really feel like there should be a lawsuit against Air Canada. I have never been so upset with a company.
Jeff S. says
A Canadian law firm filed a class-action on 3/27 against all of the airlines, though all but Air Canada have since relented, at least for flights to the U.S,.U.K., and E.U. There’s a thread on Flyertalk with a link to the details and scores of replies with similar stories: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/air-canada-aeroplan/2014593-master-thread-air-canada-refunds-vs-credits-class-action-lawsuit-filed.html.
It’s especially galling that AC seems completely unconcerned with the mountains of negative publicity they’re getting. This would have been my first trip on them as well, and I’d have been more than willing to rebook the same itinerary for next year had they treated me right, but now instead I’m going to fight tooth and nail for my refund and then never deal with them again. I guess they’re close enough to a monopoly that Canadian travelers don’t really have a choice but to take it.
I hate this company so much. Shady ass hoes. I honestly want them to go bankrupt. They are the absolute worst embodiment of a corporation I’ve ever had to deal with. Forced me to take vouchers, and now 4 months later still have not even issued the vouchers.
Anonymous Californian says
Was able to somehow get a refund in July 2020. Not sure which specific action led to it, but these things helped:
– Multiple complaint tickets to Air Canada
– DOT ticket ruling in my favor
– Complaint on file with California Attorneys General Office (contact your state’s attorney general, and encourage them to information share case counts with the CA AG’s Office who holds records of their own complaints for this specific matter on file)
– Multiple twitter and social media threads denouncing company
– Following up on original Air Canada complaint ticket documenting the actions I took
You could also mention to them that you are working with other consumers in the same position to build a grassroots anti Air Canada movement on forums like this one.
Best of luck travellers.