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Master thread COVID-19/Coronavirus; travel waivers, route changes, AC impacts

Old Jan 27, 2020, 4:42 pm
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Last edit by: Adam Smith
Key points of AC COVID change/cancellation policy [as of December 10, 2021]:
(see this page under "Changes and cancellations")

Unlimited changes. No change fees. Until December 31, 2021, if you want to change your flight, we'll waive the change fee. After December 31, 2021, you can make one change at no extra charge. If your new fare has a higher price, you only need to pay the difference from your original fare.

If Air Canada changes the time of your flight, you make a change for free.*
*Within 3 days for North American destinations and 7 days for international and sun destinations.

If your flight is cancelled, you get a refund If your flight is cancelled for any reason and we dont rebook you on another flight that departs or arrives within three hours of your original departure or arrival time, or if we add a connection to your itinerary, you can request a refund.

Need to cancel? Save the value for future travel If you need to cancel a booking, the full value can be transferred to an Air Canada Travel Voucher, which never expires and is fully transferrable, or converted into Aeroplan points with a 65% bonus. Refundable tickets are always refundable.

Flexibility with Aeroplan bookings Until December 31, 2021, if you want to change your Aeroplan flight reward, we'll waive all change fees. After December 31, 2021, you can still make one change without a fee.
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Master thread COVID-19/Coronavirus; travel waivers, route changes, AC impacts

Old May 7, 2020, 9:24 pm
  #1591  
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Toronto, ON
Programs: AC 75K
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Originally Posted by Mikey Mike Mike
I'd like some advice please - or at least the options i have. My partner and I are due to fly to London at the end of July to intern my mother's ashes. We booked in February for 5 nights or so in Economy on a flex fare. I realise that the stars have to line up so both Canada and the UK don't have a ban in place. Also, given it was a short trip, quarantine may be in place in the UK AND on our return, it makes the trip unviable. I can't recall what T&Cs that AC may have had in at the time for peace of mind if any.

When do I cancel if I need to, how much does it cost and I assume it's a credit note

thanks in advance
Sorry to hear the reason for your trip. It's best to check AC.com for the most up to date info.

https://www.aircanada.com/ca/en/aco/...ancel-existing

You can cancel for a credit good for 24 month. No fee to rebook, but any fare difference will apply.
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Old May 7, 2020, 9:25 pm
  #1592  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 324
Originally Posted by Mikey Mike Mike
I'd like some advice please - or at least the options i have. My partner and I are due to fly to London at the end of July to intern my mother's ashes. We booked in February for 5 nights or so in Economy on a flex fare. I realise that the stars have to line up so both Canada and the UK don't have a ban in place. Also, given it was a short trip, quarantine may be in place in the UK AND on our return, it makes the trip unviable. I can't recall what T&Cs that AC may have had in at the time for peace of mind if any.

When do I cancel if I need to, how much does it cost and I assume it's a credit note

thanks in advance
Why not wait and see if its canceled then try to get a refund? Theres no benefit to canceling proactively.
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Old May 7, 2020, 10:06 pm
  #1593  
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
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Originally Posted by nock
Why not wait and see if its canceled then try to get a refund? Theres no benefit to canceling proactively.
They aren't giving refunds.
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Old May 7, 2020, 10:23 pm
  #1594  
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Originally Posted by ChrisA330
They aren't giving refunds.
I can steal a can of Coke Zero from the corner store, but it doesn't mean I won't have to pay the cost if they take me to court. Or if a regulatory body steps in.

The US and EU have both unequivocally stated that refunds are required for any cancellations, if the passenger rejects other offers.

If the UK is still subject to EC261 (I am not sure, but I believe they are), then what AC is or is not doing is irrelevant.

Unless an airline says "cancel today for full refund", or your fare rules have different refund penalties dependent on time before departure (I know CO fares have different change penalties), there is never any benefit to cancelling until 2 hours before departure.
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Old May 7, 2020, 10:31 pm
  #1595  
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Toronto, ON
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None of my comment we're related to when someone should or should not cancel, nor did I say whether AC should or should not give a refund.

The facts are, regardless of what DOT or EC261 rules state, AC is still not giving refunds.
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Old May 7, 2020, 10:42 pm
  #1596  
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Originally Posted by ChrisA330
None of my comment we're related to when someone should or should not cancel, nor did I say whether AC should or should not give a refund.

The facts are, regardless of what DOT or EC261 rules state, AC is still not giving refunds.
And that is true, but the way you said it could lead someone to believe they CANNOT get a refund from AC.

I foresee a DOT enforcement notice (or whatever they call it) in the near future. That would at least handle the US side of things.
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Old May 7, 2020, 11:10 pm
  #1597  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 324
Originally Posted by ChrisA330
None of my comment we're related to when someone should or should not cancel, nor did I say whether AC should or should not give a refund.

The facts are, regardless of what DOT or EC261 rules state, AC is still not giving refunds.
I guess try and fail. Then file a credit card/DOT dispute and let the major banking companies sort it out.
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Old May 7, 2020, 11:22 pm
  #1598  
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Originally Posted by nock
I guess try and fail. Then file a credit card/DOT dispute and let the major banking companies sort it out.
I would start with DOT.

Keep it simple.

"My flight AC1234 was cancelled, and Air Canada refuses to give me a refund, only offering travel credits, in violation of the April 3 ENFORCEMENT NOTICE REGARDING REFUNDS BY CARRIERS GIVEN THE UNPRECEDENTED IMPACT OF THE COVID-19 PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY ON AIR TRAVEL."

I was wrong. The enforcement notice was already issued. I don't remember what the next step is, because it's not nearly as common.

AC will have to reply to both you and the DOT explaining why they have violated the enforcement notice. And "it only came out yesterday" no longer works.

That being said, this is only for flights to, from, and maybe? through the US.

I do not know the procedure for Europe, as I've never actually had an eligible issue on an EU carrier or flight departing the EU.
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Old May 7, 2020, 11:30 pm
  #1599  
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Originally Posted by canadiancow
I do not know the procedure for Europe, as I've never actually had an eligible issue on an EU carrier or flight departing the EU.
Since Mikey Mike Mike 's flight seems to be Canada-UK, yes, we can probably set aside th US DOT talk for the moment.

Easiest thing to do is just file a chargeback with the card issuer and cite refusal to refund per EU261 rules. I've already been successful with that (not against AC, but other airlines) several times in this mess. No need to file any EU complaint or anything like that.

Of course, Mikey Mike Mike's flight hasn't yet been cancelled, and unless and until it is, he would be dependent on AC's policy for voluntary cancellations if he chooses not to travel.
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Old May 8, 2020, 12:09 am
  #1600  
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Originally Posted by Adam Smith
Easiest thing to do is just file a chargeback with the card issuer and cite refusal to refund per EU261 rules. I've already been successful with that (not against AC, but other airlines) several times in this mess. No need to file any EU complaint or anything like that.
And while I agree 100% with that statement, there are benefits to the community in filing the complaints with the regulatory bodies.

You can tell 100 people to initiate a chargeback, and they'll win. But then you have to tell the next 100 people.

If the first 100 just file the proper regulatory complaint, it's much more likely that chargebacks won't be required.
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Old May 8, 2020, 12:15 am
  #1601  
 
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Originally Posted by canadiancow
And while I agree 100% with that statement, there are benefits to the community in filing the complaints with the regulatory bodies.

You can tell 100 people to initiate a chargeback, and they'll win. But then you have to tell the next 100 people.

If the first 100 just file the proper regulatory complaint, it's much more likely that chargebacks won't be required.
Agree. Do both.
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Old May 8, 2020, 12:50 am
  #1602  
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Originally Posted by canadiancow
And while I agree 100% with that statement, there are benefits to the community in filing the complaints with the regulatory bodies.

You can tell 100 people to initiate a chargeback, and they'll win. But then you have to tell the next 100 people.

If the first 100 just file the proper regulatory complaint, it's much more likely that chargebacks won't be required.
The trouble is that there's no equivalent of the US DOT's easy online form. Filing an EU261 complaint against an airline can be a real hassle. Here's the UK's page on how to do it (since that's what's applicable to Mikey Mike Mike ). The process is summarized in this flow chart, but in short, you can either (i) take the airline to court or (ii)(a) go through alternative dispute resolution (essentially a 3rd party tries to resolve it) or, if (a) is not available, (b) appeal to the regulator.

It's quite the hassle to file a complaint, and I don't know that it actually does anything to change the airline's behaviour, given that many EU carriers are regularly accused of violating EU261 rules. That's why I wouldn't recommend someone go through the hassle of that process when a chargeback should be simple and highly likely to be successful.

(Note that there are firms that specialize in EU261 complaints, and in the case of compensation for a delay or something like that where there's no obvious mechanism to recoup what's owed by the airline, it may be worthwhile to engage one of them, but when a simple chargeback should result in a 100% refund, paying them their 30% or whatever cut isn't worth it)
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Old May 8, 2020, 2:35 am
  #1603  
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Originally Posted by nock
Agree. Do both.
I don't know what happens if you file a DOT refund complaint and then file a chargeback. But I wouldn't want to get caught in a situation where I'm accused of fraud.

And I say this as someone who initiated a DOT complaint over a problematic ~$7k refund, that eventually ended in a chargeback (the OTA sent me a certified letter stating they had never charged me, so my cancellation was not due a refund).

Originally Posted by Adam Smith
The trouble is that there's no equivalent of the US DOT's easy online form. Filing an EU261 complaint against an airline can be a real hassle. Here's the UK's page on how to do it (since that's what's applicable to Mikey Mike Mike ). The process is summarized in this flow chart, but in short, you can either (i) take the airline to court or (ii)(a) go through alternative dispute resolution (essentially a 3rd party tries to resolve it) or, if (a) is not available, (b) appeal to the regulator.

It's quite the hassle to file a complaint, and I don't know that it actually does anything to change the airline's behaviour, given that many EU carriers are regularly accused of violating EU261 rules. That's why I wouldn't recommend someone go through the hassle of that process when a chargeback should be simple and highly likely to be successful.

(Note that there are firms that specialize in EU261 complaints, and in the case of compensation for a delay or something like that where there's no obvious mechanism to recoup what's owed by the airline, it may be worthwhile to engage one of them, but when a simple chargeback should result in a 100% refund, paying them their 30% or whatever cut isn't worth it)
If that's true for EU regulations, then I agree. But I'd hate to say the US is better than the EU at protecting consumer rights without at least trying.
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Old May 8, 2020, 8:15 am
  #1604  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
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Sorry for my question if it has been asked already however I didn't feel like going through 107 pages of messages and when I searched, nothing came up.

What is the average turn around time for the refund of taxes and fees on AE reward ticket cancellations? I cancelled my wife's ticket on April 28th and nothing is showing up on my cc yet. I know they said it can take 1 or 2 billing cycles but in the past it has been quick.

Any advice would be appreciated
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Old May 8, 2020, 9:03 am
  #1605  
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Originally Posted by canadiancow
If that's true for EU regulations, then I agree. But I'd hate to say the US is better than the EU at protecting consumer rights without at least trying.
I'm not saying one is better than the other. I'm saying the US has a single web form that can be filled out in less than 5 minutes, while the EU has a much more complex system.

The ADR scheme that AC is part of (at least for the UK; I'm not sure whether they handle all of AC's complaints across the EU) does have an online complaint submission system, although it requires a lot more info than the US DOT one and will take a lot longer to fill out. And who knows how long the waiting times are to get these things resolved right now. So I would probably just file a chargeback and be done with it.

Originally Posted by beanie72
What is the average turn around time for the refund of taxes and fees on AE reward ticket cancellations? I cancelled my wife's ticket on April 28th and nothing is showing up on my cc yet. I know they said it can take 1 or 2 billing cycles but in the past it has been quick.
I'm still waiting for a refund of the taxes/fees from a ticket I cancelled February 24th. Others have reported getting them somewhat quicker, but you haven't even been two weeks. Expect to wait a while.
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