Canadian airlines have long resisted providing any refunds during the pandemic.
Back in March I wrote how the Canada Transportation Agency gave their blessing to Canadian airlines refusing refunds.
In July, Air Canada refused to comply with the DOT’s mandate to offer refunds for flights that didn’t operate.
The Canada Transportation Agency then wrote to me that they didn’t actually have the power to order Canadian airlines to offer refunds, though they were offering them cover to avoid offering refunds. They also also wanted to make clear that they are Canadian, not Canada. And please not to call them Shirley. 😉
WestJet wrote tonight that they will begin providing refunds for cancelled flights:
Those eligible for refunds will be contacted directly by email for further instructions. We expect there will be an administrative backlog and ask for your patience as we work through requests as quickly as possible.
— WestJet (@WestJet) October 21, 2020
However their FAQ originally stated that refunds would not be offered to customers on basic fares and it was vague about which fares would be refunded.
— Air Passenger Rights (@AirPassRightsCA) October 22, 2020
Air Canada was quick to pounce on them and call them out for failing to even refund refundable fares in the past:
Misleading statement! @WestJet is just now catching up to our policy to refund refundable fares. We have already refunded over $1.2 Billion in refundable fares to date.
— Air Canada (@AirCanada) October 21, 2020
I wrote to WestJet Media Relations and they confirmed to me that they updated their FAQ and they will actually refund all fares, including basic tickets, on flights that were cancelled by WestJet. They said it would soon be updated with that information.
And WestJet tweeted back that they will refund all fares:
Let’s clear the air. We're offering refunds for guests if we cancelled their flight. Even the lowest cost tickets will be refunded to original form of payment if WestJet caused the cancellation.
— WestJet (@WestJet) October 22, 2020
WestJet expects it to take 6-9 months to complete processing refunds and that they will reach out to everyone who was ticketed on a cancelled flight.
Better late than never I suppose?
Your move Air Canada!