passengers whose flights were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic – even if they previously received a travel credit from the airline – thanks to a bailout package from the Canadian government.
The catch: You’ll need to act in the next few months and make a request by June 12 to get the amount refunded to your original form of payment.
Air Canada tweeted about the new policy, which covers flights between Feb. 1, 2020, and April 13, 2021, and applies to flights that customers canceled as well as those flights canceled by the airline.
The Canadian government is giving the airline a bailout package meant to help it cope with massive losses due to the pandemic. Some of the funds are earmarked so that “any customer of Air Canada who wants a refund will receive one for certain pandemic-related cancellations,” the government said.
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Customers can request a refund on Air Canada’s website. Those who used a travel agent or online booking agency must contact the company they booked through to request the refund.
Air Canada has faced sharp criticism from consumers for how it handled COVID-19 cancellation refunds. A report by USA TODAY found that among foreign airlines, the U.S. Department of Transportation got the most complaints about Air Canada for its handling of cancellations.
The Arizona Republic, which is part of the USA TODAY Network, spoke to Ellen, an Arizona woman in her 80s who asked not to share her last name, who was out more than $1,000 for airfare for herself and her husband after Air Canada forced the couple to take a travel voucher instead of a refund.refund they are entitled to under U.S. law. They were forced to accept a voucher, which was problematic because Ellen was not sure their health would allow them to travel even when it is safe to do so.
Ellen filed a complaint with the Department of Transportation, which recently replied with an email saying it would bring the complaint to the attention of the airline to address the issue.
That response and the news from up north give her some hope she might soon see her money refunded.
“We’re not people that, you know, have all kinds of money. We could put it towards some important things we need to take care of,” Ellen said.
If your ticket was for travel between Feb. 1, 2020, and April 13, 2021, Air Canada’s new cancellation policy makes you eligible for a refund even if you already accepted a travel voucher. You’ll need to submit your request by June 12, 2021.
Air Canada has set up a website for people who would like to get a refund. You’ll find it at www.aircanada.com/refundrequest.
If your travel was canceled before Feb. 1, 2020, you may be eligible for a refund depending on the fare class you purchased. Contact the airline to see if you qualify.
If you bought your ticket through a travel agent or online ticket agency like Expedia or Orbitz, contact the company you booked with to process the refund. If the travel agency went out of business, submit your request directly to Air Canada.