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Air Canada - Fighting For Refund


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I am enquiring of CC folks who have to deal with cancelled Air Canada flights...due to a cancelled Celebrity cruise but also the closing of the border.  AC cancelled my flight.

 

I have filed a credit card dispute and contacted AC to get a refund (Canadian airlines "say" they do not have to provide a refund - not like in the EU and the US, Canadian government and airlines are very anti-consumer). They will only provide points or a travel voucher, supposedly.

 

Does anyone have a successful case to share with me and others who are likely in the same situation?

 

I am totally appalled how Canadian consumers are being treated - I will do my best not to ever book with a Canadian airline again leaving from Canada.  Point to note, another one way flight from Paris to Toronto on the Canadian airline Air Transat was fully refunded because it originated in the EU..........

 

I would appreciate your assistance.

 

Regards,

 

 

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Wouldn't give me a refund, but offered a future flight credit or a credit to purchase something from their store. As I had a "nonrefundable" fare and plan to use them in the future I took the flight credit. Thought they were fair since I booked outside the cruise line and I chose the nonrefundable fare.

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We booked through our credit card agent and are supposed to get a voucher which, like a gift card, can be used any time, in any amounts, no expiry date and can even be given to our children. (or anyone else!). We were told it would take 6 weeks, but I think it is more than that. If we don't get it by the end of August, I will again contact the credit card agent.

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Air Canada cancelled our flight from Vancouver-Las Vegas and has adamantly refused to give us a refund. I have filed a complaint with the DOT since they fall under their rules as it is to/from a US city. They responded to the complaint saying they were in compliance with the DOT enforcement letter which they clearly are not. 

 

Our complaint has been escalated to the Office of Aviation consumer protection which will tell Air Canada they are violating the US order and will take enforcement action if the refund is not issued. 

 

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND EVERYONE FILE A COMPLAINT WITH THE DOT AGAINST AIR CANADA IF YOU ARE REFUSED A REFUND:

 

https://airconsumer.dot.gov/escomplaint/ConsumerForm.cfm

 

 

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Air Canada is playing hardball in this situation.

 

Other than a credit card dispute, and a complaint with the DOT, there is little you can do.

 

Not sure it is worth a small claims legal case, but ask an attorney friend if you can.

 

Let your wallet speak for you in the future, and take your business elsewhere.

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In March, we cancelled our April cruise to Hawaii as well as our AC flights to Vancouver and return from Honolulu. We received a full refund within days from AC. Sometimes it's worthwhile paying a bit more for the refundable fare. That said, I'm not sure that AC would withstand a court challenge, and I've been waiting to see if there might be a class action lawsuit initiated on behalf of the thousands of consumers like you owed billions of dollars. In the mean time, the credit card dispute mechanism seems to be your best bet, and I wish you the best of luck. Do get back to us with the outcome.

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In the UK its irrelevant if its non refundable as "they" cancelled the flight.. Our return from Quebec was obviously cancelled and later so was the UK to Boston section... Only offered a voucher.. I Claimed against the Credit Card - refunded in 3 days and then a follow up email saying it wasnt being challenged.

 

Lesson learnt will never use them again - United have been much better to deal with.

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Where was your flight starting and ending? If you flight started or ended in the US and AC cancelled the flight they must provide a refund to you according to US DOT regulations. You can try filling a compliant with DOT. https://airconsumer.dot.gov/escomplaint/ConsumerForm.cfm  I have read that even when AC has been told they must provide refund by DOT AC has been refusing in some cases. Good luck and I hope you can get your refund.

 

Edited by Ski-Lady
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Given this recent headline in the National Post “Transport Minister Marc Garneau defends decision not to force airlines to offer COVID-19 refunds” I suspect you are out of luck unless there is a successful court challenge.

 

I have a friend who had two Air Canada flights cancelled and they received a future flight credit, not a refund.

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15 minutes ago, RickT said:

Given this recent headline in the National Post “Transport Minister Marc Garneau defends decision not to force airlines to offer COVID-19 refunds” I suspect you are out of luck unless there is a successful court challenge.

 

I have a friend who had two Air Canada flights cancelled and they received a future flight credit, not a refund.

Same here. Flights from Victoria thru Vancouver to US cancelled. Air Canada offered future flight credit.  Obtained refund from my credit card company.  Air Canada did not respond in a timely manner and credit was made permanent.

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We had an April cruise to Hawaii cancelled and air was booked through Choice Air.  Was a combo of Air Canada and United Airlines flights.  I had some issues in even figuring out who to contact to request a refund.  I escalated to a supervisor who was able to secure a full refund for us.  Here is info from my email exchange in case it helps:

 

Good Day

 

Hope this email finds you well

Great News !!!!!

 

We were able to work with the airline and  receive a refund for  the amount of $2009.90

 

I have sent a request to our Accounting team for processing refund for the above amount to credit card on file.

 

 

Best Regards,

Erica Popkin Green

Team Lead I Guest Travel Services

Royal Caribbean International® | Celebrity Cruises ® | Azamara Club Cruises ®

2901 SW 145th Ave, Miramar, FL 33027

Tel: 316-554-5413 epopkingreen@rccl.com

 

 

Hi our cruise has been cancelled and per the letter we received from Celebrity we were advised to contact the carrier regarding refund of our flights since they are non-refundable.  However, the information on the Air Canada site directs us to contact our travel agent.  I attempted to complete a form on Air Canada to request a refund but the form requires ticketing info and our flights were not ticketed.

 

Are you able to assist with the refund for the flights? 

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I am the OP. The Air Canada flight cancelled was from Ottawa (Canada) to New York City (USA) - this was a trip to meet friends in NYC before we all would drive to Florida for a Celebrity cruise. 

 

Everyone has been great - we are all consumers and up against world wide corporations. Fight on.

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, Arizona Wildcat said:

Same here. Flights from Victoria thru Vancouver to US cancelled. Air Canada offered future flight credit.  Obtained refund from my credit card company.  Air Canada did not respond in a timely manner and credit was made permanent.

 

Thanks Arizona Wildcat. Your flight configuration is the same as mine - Air Canada Canada to US. I am waiting for my Master Card to confirm the credit card dispute. May I ask what credit card you used?

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8 hours ago, Nachosdelux said:

Air Canada is playing hardball in this situation.

 

Other than a credit card dispute, and a complaint with the DOT, there is little you can do.

 

Not sure it is worth a small claims legal case, but ask an attorney friend if you can.

 

Let your wallet speak for you in the future, and take your business elsewhere.

 

Nachpsdelux, I will not patronize the arrogant Air Canada again. I will drive to the dear American border and fly from the US to the US. Consumers are so screwed in Canada, not a business friendly country.

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from AC site:  https://www.aircanada.com/ca/en/aco/home/book/travel-news-and-updates/2020/covid-19.html#/flexibility

You can make a one-time change without a fee or cancel your existing booking and rebook later if your original travel is between March 1, 2020 and August 31, 2021.

If you booked with a travel agent or any online travel agency (for example, Expedia or Priceline), kindly contact them directly for changes or cancellations. Each partner has a unique booking system that we are unable to access in order to adjust your booking.

If you booked with Air Canada Vacations, click hereExternal site which may not meet accessibility guidelines. for contact options.

For Aeroplan bookings, click here for contact options.

If you booked directly with Air Canada (including aircanada.com, the Air Canada Mobile App, and our Contact Centres) or Kayak, Google Flights, and Skyscanner, you can change or cancel your booking by visiting Manage My Booking.

If you booked with Air Canada for Business, click here for all updates.

Terms and Conditions

  • Ticket must be issued on or before August 31, 2020.
  • For original travel between March 1, 2020 and August 31, 2021.
  • If you need to change any flight, your new travel must be completed by August 31, 2022. No change fee will apply.
  • If you booked directly with Air Canada and you need to cancel any flight, you will soon be able to can convert the remaining value of all tickets in a booking to an Air Canada Travel Voucher that is fully transferrable and never expires or to Aeroplan Miles with an additional 65% bonus miles. No change fee will apply. Learn more.
  • Booking can be changed or cancelled up to 2 hours prior to departure.
  • Refundable tickets will be refunded as per the fare rules; a cancellation fee may still apply.
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12 hours ago, ABoatNerd said:

I have filed a credit card dispute and contacted AC to get a refund (Canadian airlines "say" they do not have to provide a refund - not like in the EU and the US, Canadian government and airlines are very anti-consumer). They will only provide points or a travel voucher, supposedly.

 

I had an issue like yours with a RT Air Transat flight to London from Montreal.  The airline cancelled the flight and offered only vouchers for a future flight.

 

I contacted my credit card company, Chase Sapphire Reserve, and they credited the charge within 24 hours.  The credit just recently became finalized after two billing cycles.

 

Incidentally, I ran my issue by Peter Greenberg, the travel writer.  As an aside he mentioned that Canadian airlines are governed by US law when their flight itinerary includes stops in the US.

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Having had less than stellar experiences with AC in the past we usually fly out of a nearby US city.  We were booked on a Westjet flight from Barcelona to Toronto in April but we had booked through ChoiceAir and were refunded without issue.   Hope you end up with a positive resolution. 

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Had a August cruise canceled so we had to deal with the AC flights out of Phoenix Arizona to Vancouver. We had non-refundable airfare so I waited until August to deal with the situation. I wanted to see AC say they would give credit to the end of August. This was not fault of ours and no fault of AC. Two days ago I went on line and canceled the flight and got a notification that I would receive a voucher. The money involved was not that much but at least AC gave us a chance to use a credit for next summer. By the way for those just wanting to know AC had changed our travel times twice. One the last time they backed up the flight by 24 hours. This was reason enough to ask for a refund but trying to get hold of a real customer service agent in this environment would be a waste of my time. I hope this information helps those in the same situation as ours. It could have been a worse case situation.  

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We had nonrefundable tickets on Air Canada for a June Las Vegas - Vancouver flight but were eventually able to get a refund.

 

Initially, Air Canada cancelled and would only give a travel voucher.  The AC agent acknowledged the US-DOT position but said "it didn't matter and all you are getting is a voucher".  She did offer to refund the seat fees.  

 

US-DOT has been very clear that COVID-19 is NOT a valid reason for refusing a refund when an airline cancels or substantially changes a flight.  US-DOT has been getting a ton of complaints about Air Canada. 

 

Here's what I did:

  1. Filed complaint with US-DOT.
  2. Filed complaint with Air Canada.  Received the standard "it's COVID-19...." response.
  3. Filed dispute with credit card company. Air Canada responded with "well, we are giving out a voucher so that is delivering the service that the customer paid for."
  4. Updated US-DOT with Air Canada response.

Lo and behold - on Canada Day - we received permanent credit on our card for the tickets.  So, it's worth the effort to file a complaint with the US-DOT (and anyone else that you can think of).   Be persistent. How about your political representatives?  There's always an election just around the corner.

 

 

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3 hours ago, ABoatNerd said:

 

Thanks Arizona Wildcat. Your flight configuration is the same as mine - Air Canada Canada to US. I am waiting for my Master Card to confirm the credit card dispute. May I ask what credit card you used?

Chase Visa. Filed dispute immediately. Air Canada did not respond.  Thus credit issued.  No idea if being a US card helped.  FWIW had cancelled flight with American - easy refund and United - future credit. Since under $100 not worth fighting.

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Thanks to everyone who has posted. This is the power of the internet to enable and help consumers.

 

I am also going to share everyone's excellent information with Canadian groups fighting the airlines.

 

I am off on stage 2 of the battle - filing with US-DOT first, then the Bank of Montreal who are dragging their feet.

 

I will pour a glass or 2 of a nice chardonnay along the way AND will hoist it to all of you.

 

Kindest Regards

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13 hours ago, ABoatNerd said:

I will drive to the dear American border and fly from the US to the US. Consumers are so screwed in Canada, not a business friendly country.

 

I am sorry about the trouble you are having in getting a refund and hope you are successful.  You've gotten great information above -- the key in your case is the U.S. DOT rules.   I know you've gone beyond Air Canada now, but did you ever go up the chain to a supervisor there and quote the DOT rules to them?    

 

As an American, I just want to add that our country is not all that consumer friendly either.  Our airlines, for example, will do whatever they can to screw over their customers and, in this particular situation of cancellations by the airlines, avoid issuing refunds even though the DOT requires them to.  Some of the airlines have been so bad about this that DOT in the spring had to issue warnings to the airlines about complying with the refund rules.  

 

https://liveandletsfly.com/dot-refund-warning/

 

My wife and I were booked on a TA in October out of Italy.  Months ago, United cancelled our non-stop to Rome, and, without notice to us or our consent, re-booked us on a connecting itinerary that would have added nearly six hours to our trip.  Under the DOT rules, we were absolutely entitled to a refund (not only because our original flight had been cancelled, but also because adding nearly six hours to our travel was a "significant" change [DOT's language]), but the phone rep with whom I spoke claimed we were not entitled to a refund.   I escalated the matter to a supervisor  -- it's a matter of luck here whether you get a good one, and I did --  and read her the DOT's rules.  She tried to tell me that while United was not required to give us a refund (yeah, right), they would make an exception for us.  We got the refund.   But that required that we knew the rules and were willing to be persistent.  Far too many consumers don't know the rules, and get screwed.

 

Good luck!!

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17 hours ago, ABoatNerd said:

 

Nachpsdelux, I will not patronize the arrogant Air Canada again. I will drive to the dear American border and fly from the US to the US. Consumers are so screwed in Canada, not a business friendly country.

 

While I'm not a fan of AC, it's the exact same situation with all the airlines in the US and the world in terms of trying to get a refund during the pandemic.

 

The rule is for all the airlines if you bought a non-refundable ticket:

- You will get a credit if YOU can cancelled the flight.

- you will get a refund if the flight was cancelled.

 

Since AC cancelled your flight, you can indeed request for a refund. Their accounting/billing department have always been slow. Pre-covid, it usually takes about 3-5months for them to process the refund, the tickets just sits there as they are always backlogged. Where as my experience with Delta is like 48hr (pre-covid) as it's all done by one person.

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Coincidentally, The Wall Street Journal ran a story yesterday with the following headline:

 

Airlines Are Withholding Billions in Refunds—That’s Billions With a B

Passengers with trips canceled months ago struggle to get refunds from some carriers or travel agencies, even with U.S. law on their side

 

Unfortunately, the story is behind a pay wall so not everyone will be able to read it.  https://www.wsj.com/articles/airlines-are-withholding-billions-in-refundsthats-billions-with-a-b-11597238005

 

 

 

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