Canada Transportation Agency: No Refunds On Cancelled Flights And Stop Asking Us To Resolve Your Airline Disputes

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While US lawIsraeli law, and European law all state that airlines must give refunds if the airline cancels a flight, Canada is taking another stand.

The CTA (Canada Transportation Agency) released a statement that says they believe airlines can issue vouchers in lieu of a refund as issuing refunds could ruin the viability of airlines. They recommend that vouchers be valid for 24 months.

The CBC covers the story here.

The CTA also announced that they are suspending dispute resolution between passengers and airlines through June 30th and that they may extend that date.

Shame on Canada for allowing airlines to refuse refunds and for suspending dispute resolution.

Here’s hoping the US DoT doesn’t follow their lead.

Unfortunately the system is rigged against consumers. If a passenger needs to cancel a flight, the airlines will laugh at them and charge a small fortune just to make a change.

But now airlines are refusing refunds when they cancel flights.

 

It seems like sheer arrogance that airlines are asking taxpayers to bail them out, while refusing to refund passengers booked on flights that they cancelled. That’s exactly why I created a Whitehouse.gov petition for a traveler’s bill of rights. You can read more here.

Hopefully European, Israeli, and US regulators will force the airlines to offer refunds based on existing laws. Many passengers have received refunds by asking nicely, explaining extenuating circumstances, and by speaking to supervisors, so definitely start with that.

Remember that if you are being refused a refund:

  • You can dispute the charge with your credit card. Just note that if you used a personal travel agent you’ll be taking the money out of their pocket rather than the airline’s pocket.
  • You can file a complaint with the US DoT or with the relevant local complaint board.
  • If those options fail, you can take the airline to small claims court.

Have you run into roadblocks trying to get a refund? What steps have you taken?

HT: ploni3

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51 Comments On "Canada Transportation Agency: No Refunds On Cancelled Flights And Stop Asking Us To Resolve Your Airline Disputes"

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Ed Travel

West Jet did that to me. They just gave me a “credit” which is not very useful…

joe

Shame on Canada’s CTA agency!
I will stop flying after this epidemic with any airline that is based in Canada and goes by the CTA (Canada Transportation Agency) even its way cheaper upfront.

Chaim

Any flight taking off or landing in the United States is bound by the US department of transportation laws.

Shaul Yaakov Morrison

What about if you fly Air Canada US-Toronto-Vancouver. Is only the first segment under DoT or all segments under the same PNR?

exShoYoGuy

Is there any hope for a refund for a flight that wasn’t cancelled for a conference to a random city that was cancelled and next year will be a different city so getting a free change won’t help because I’ll never fly there? Flight is with AA and Delta back.

History Buff

I just signed the petition and am passing it on. I still don’t see how an airline can cancel a flight and refuse a refund. They are pretty cagey about it. I bought tickets from Air Canada for my Canadian kids to join me in Orlando for Pesach with returns on West Jet. West Jet isn’t even flying yet are offering only a credit. Air Canada switched the non-stop to a 12 hour flight with a stop. If it’s not convenient for the kids they are happy to cancel the reservation and offer a credit.

OD

oh no you think US will follow suit?

also any merit to CTA logic that airlines need to stay afloat at this most unprecedented time?

OD

oh so this does not apply to any flight touching US soil? even if canadian airline and candadian destination or departure?

Chaim

Correct

zvi

um this is going to be unpopular but here’s my two cents…
Let’s look at it this way, the major airline companies are not going bk. Fact. Stop fantasizing otherwise.
the ? is who will bail them out. in the US every taxpayer will have to carry the burden through govt bailouts and deflationary policy. in canada my understanding is that the govt isn’t going to be nearly as generous so the onus will fall on the ones who fly. Sorry, I realize that on a travel website this will seem extremely unfair but if you wouldn’t be the ones on the wrong side you would probably think otherwise.

Sam

I get what you are saying, but it’s still not fair. Imagine buying birthday cake for someone’s birthday and the bakery just canceled your order. The birthday has now passed and they just gave you a credit to the bakery.

The onus can be on flyers going forward if Canada wants to handle it that way. That way people can make the choice to fly in the future, but they shouldn’t be penalized for the part they had no control over.

History Buff

I have no sympathy for the airlines. For years now they have treated passengers as a money machine and opted to maximize their income at the expense of a pleasant travel experience. If they did go bankrupt you would never notice. Someone would buy their assets for pennies to the dollar, keep the name, and be ready to fly when the environment allows.

Steve in CT

Airlines bought by others in bankruptcy, as has happened so many times before. If the US does bail out any industry/company, the equity holders should take a major haircut.

nirc

porter airlines AND AirCanada both refusing refunds for my tickets where flights were cancelled. have absolutely no use for credit, so attempting chargeback with little hope.

asher k

I kinda like that, its a good compromise, you bought a ticket, we have to give you a flight but we can’t rn. Ultimately though, it should be like 72 months or something.

Audrey

Has anyone had luck with a chargeback?

nirc

+1

Dac2800

Southwest is playing a different game. DOT rules, from what I can tell, require airlines To issue a refund on request for cancelled flights (even on non refundable tickets). So even though Southwest has announced broad suspensions of service, They are holding off officially cancelling flights so as to not be required to issue refunds. (In my case, it was for flights to a country where Southwest has suspended service until 3 weeks after my flight).

tulli

Hi does anyone know the consequences of disputing a charge?
easy jet cancelled my flight and are only offering free changes anyone know what are my options?

Al

Why should there be any time limit on the voucher?

Maifriend

I hope one day we’ll have the hyper loop to give the airlines some real competition.

Davy

Suckers for going to a phony airline like air canada. Stay with the US and you stay safe. Go with joker airlines and you know what you get? Hope you will be able to SIT at the seder. The pain will go away eventually.

Emes

eh?

qsman

Ukrainian Airlines is issuing “no-hassle carryon” passes good for 5 years in lieu of refunds.
EL AL is considering refunding passengers with weekend vouchers to Athens hotels

Achshell

Humor aside, what is the way to deal with Ukrainian Airlines? I’m trying my best with Chase meanwhile.

A

Is the relevant government dependant on citizenship, credit card, company location, or departure/destination?

Danfan+

Can i dispute if i bought tickets whith UR points?

Elli

I had elal change my flight details and even the airport, still chase says I can’t dispute it. They say that they used to allow it but no more.. I heard this from the supervisor..

Mendy

Hang Up, Call Again

ilherman

It’s all the lobbyists fault. Together with the currupt governments who let them operate. We should ban lobbyists companies. The airlines pay them billions to protect them. Like you said, if they wouldn’t charge us $$$ for every little change would be one thing, but they want us to understand them while they never bother understanding us? Hell no! Why didn’t any congressman bother proposing what you posted last week? They are arguing about non sense when we are asking basic stuff which is common sense! I personally sent it over to a staffer of my local rep signed by 50 travel agents, she told me that she forwarded it to him and of course it landed on deaf ears! How sad that this is our system!

Big Bad ben

What about refunds for villas in Florida who aren’t refunding more than 50%

Dov

Dan, I know you’d appreciate it. I bought a refundable TLV-IAD ticket for a business trip in April. United cancelled the flight, and i asked to get a refund. UA refused (offered a credit which will “transform” into credit in 12 months) and I submitted a DOT compliant a few days ago. I just got a call from a rep asking for “more information regarding the DOT compliant”. I briefly explained and the rep answered that since I bought a refundable ticket the only way I can get a refund is by paying $240 fee. I politely explained why this is illogical (since UA cancelled the flight) and also against DOT regulations, but the rep wouldn’t budge and said they’ll reiterate why I’m not eligible for a refund in their DOT response. Unbelievable.

Dov

Wow. They move fast if you file a DOT compliant. I just a received a formal response to the DOT complaint from a “DOT specialist” at UA where they offer “An immediate refund to the original form of payment when paying the service fee”, or alternatively Electronic Travel Certificate retaining the value. Again, that’s after UA cancelled the route in question.

MMG

I reached out to chase regarding a flight refund, they told me that with the cards travel insurance, pandemics are excluded.

Yakov

El Al cancelled Toronto-TLV round trip bought from Orbitz. Orbitz sent an email with a promise of “airline credit”.

1. Flight not touching US soil, can’t dispute with US DoT, right?

2. Ticket bought many months ago, can’t dispute with credit company.

3. Then what?

Steve in CT

Credit card dispute starts with the date the service was due, not when the payment was made. I had a problem with AirBnB and paid in January for a house in June. When homeowner withheld security, after trying to work it out I disputed in September and bank refunded my money.

sam

canada is a socialist big government country so i am not surprised but dispute it with your card issuer and you shall get full money back

Rutie

El Al says they’ll issue refunds for flights they cancelled starting tomorrow “only when the company resumes full operations”. We have a $4000 reservation booked with Expedia JFK-TLV on April 1st. Expedia claims it’s beyond their control. Dan, if we booked through Expedia don’t they have overall responsibility to follow DOT regulations regardless of the airline’s policy?

Jack out of the Box

Doesn’t the US require fares be held in escrow until flight?

canada :(

send email to cta at info@otc-cta.gc.ca and ask them to change their rulling

Audrey

Seems the DoT site is down.

ploni3

Updated policy from AC from pressure: We have implemented highly flexible and expanded booking options. You can make a one-time change without a fee for all new or existing bookings made through June 30, 2020 for original travel between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021. If you booked directly with Air Canada and you need to cancel for any reason, you can convert your ticket to an Air Canada Travel Voucher that has no expiry date or to Aeroplan Miles with an additional 65% bonus miles.
https://www.aircanada.com/ca/en/aco/home/book/travel-news-and-updates/2020/covid-19.html?icid=INT:INTR:covid-19:052220::banneracdotcom|caen
Maybe some more pressure will get them to adopt a proper policy like the big boys

@Yehudaa

Air Canada now giving a choice of vouchers that don’t expire, or aeroplan points. Not sure how many AP points they’re giving, but they claim “The loyalty points option allows customers to convert their booking into Aeroplan miles and get an additional 65 per cent bonus miles”. I font know where theyrevgerting a base number to decide what a 65% bonus means.

Not a lot better but a bit.

https://www.cp24.com/mobile/news/air-canada-revises-refund-policy-amid-growing-anger-over-cancelled-flights-1.4950630

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