Air Canada Begins Offering Refunds Following Government Aid

Current and former eligible customers of Air Canada, who received travel vouchers due to canceled flights caused by COVID-19, are now able to obtain refunds. Eligible for refunds are those who purchased a non-refundable ticket on or after February 1st, 2020 but did not fly. The change in the airline’s policy comes as a result of a bailout from the government of Canada, which was conditional upon the airline agreeing to a number of concessions.

Air Canada Begins Offering Refunds Following Government Aid
The airline also agreed to restoring service to regional communities, restrictions on the use of the funds provided, as well as maintaining specific levels of employment, and limiting capital expenditures. Photo: Air Canada

“Air Canada will be offering refunds to all eligible customers whether they cancelled their ticket or if their flight was cancelled by the airline. Customers can now submit refund requests online or through their travel agent and we are committed to processing refunds as fast as possible,” – Lucie Guillemette, Executive Vice-President and Chief Commercial Officer at Air Canada.

Who’s eligible for an Air Canada refund?

While this is long-awaited and much-welcomed news for thousands of Air Canada customers, the airline’s new policy has its limits, covering a specific window of time. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Those who purchased a non-refundable ticket for travel on or after February 1st, 2020, where the ticket holder did not fly, are eligible for a refund.
  • The policy covers both Air Canada tickets and Air Canada Vacations packages purchased before April 13th, 2021.
  • Refunds are available to those customers whose flight was canceled or who voluntarily canceled their flight for any reason.

From the looks of things, this “COVID-19 refund policy” is fairly broad and should cover almost every customer affected by pandemic travel restrictions- particularly because the government of Canada restricted border entries only in mid-March.

If you are eligible and covered under one of the above scenarios, you can request a refund online at www.aircanada.com/refund until June 12th, 2021. It’s important to note that customers who booked through a travel agency must contact their agent directly.

Air Canada Begins Offering Refunds Following Government Aid
Air Canada now has a new booking policy which should benefit its customers greatly. Photo: Air Canada

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Air Canada’s new booking policy

Additionally, Air Canada says that it has revised its booking policies for all future travel. This is what the airline has to say:

“Starting today, in cases where a customer’s flight is canceled or rescheduled by more than three hours, we will now offer all customers the choice of receiving a refund, an Air Canada Travel Voucher (ACTV) or the equivalent value in Aeroplan Points with a 65% bonus.”

There is even better news for those who accept an Air Canada Travel Voucher, as it will not have an expiry date. The airline says that this new policy will provide more certainty and flexibility, allowing customers to book their future travel with greater confidence.

For this new policy, it’s important to remember that you’re only covered if the flight is canceled or rescheduled by more than three hours. For customers who make voluntary changes, normal fare rules will apply.

Air Canada says that it has also extended its existing goodwill policy so that customers can make a one-time change without a fee for all new or existing bookings made through May 31, 2021, for original travel until May 31, 2022.

Air Canada Begins Offering Refunds Following Government Aid
Affected customers only have two months to request a refund. Photo: Air Canada

Two months to act

Overall, it looks like affected customers have much to be happy about. The new policy covers an extensive range in terms of eligibility- even going back a month before many pandemic restrictions and flight cancelations took place.

However, even though June 12th might feel far away, it’s only 60 days – or two months from now, making it a “limited-time offer.” This should be enough time for almost everyone to claim their refund, but those with procrastination issues and/or those who receive this news late should definitely add the date in their calendars – and perhaps add an alarm.

Are you now eligible to claim a refund for a canceled Air Canada flight? Let us know in the comments!

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