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Sunday,  May 26, 2024 11:03 PM 

Couple denied reimbursement for cancelling booking on an already cancelled pandemic flight

  • Air
  •   05-14-2024  11:16 am
  •   Pax Global Media

Couple denied reimbursement for cancelling booking on an already cancelled pandemic flight
(Ekaterina Pokrovsky/Shutterstock)
Pax Global Media

Four years after hundreds of thousands of flights were cancelled during the pandemic, there is still debate over whether or not airlines owe passengers refunds.

And even with the changes made to regulations that mandate refunds when flights are cancelled for reasons outside airlines’ control—including the pandemic—some Canadians are still receiving rejections to their reimbursement requests.

According to reporting from The Canadian Press, a recent ruling from the regulator found that one couple would not receive a refund because they cancelled their 2020 booking when the airline had already cancelled the flight.

In a confidential decision obtained by The Canadian Press, a complaints resolution officer at the agency said the two passengers only qualified for a voucher because of their choice to cancel their reservation with WestJet.

“Although WestJet announced a route suspension, this does not change the terms and conditions of the ticket when the passenger initiates the cancellation first,” the officer wrote on the Dec. 28 document obtained by The Canadian Press.

But those conditions, which are available on the company’s website, stated that, in those circumstances, the customer “will be refunded” in the original form of payment unless they accept an alternate travel route.

The couple in question asked to remain anonymous due to legal concerns, but described the situation to The Canadian Press as a “nightmare” and said they are still out about $4,000.

To us, that’s no small amount,” one said.

“How can you cancel a flight that’s cancelled?”

The couple also noted that the lengthy complaints process was weighing on them.

The pair originally filed their complaint with the regulator in March 2022 and say they only received a decision in January 2024.

The backlog of complaints at the agency reached roughly 71,000 in late April.

WestJet did not respond to questions about that case.

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