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WestJet denies Ont. man refund after cancer diagnosis

WestJet denies Ont. man refund after cancer diagnosis

Old Aug 23, 19, 7:44 pm
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WestJet denies Ont. man refund after cancer diagnosis

CTV News Ottawa - Aug 23, 2019

(basic economy tickets)

https://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=...1&binPageNum=1
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Old Aug 24, 19, 7:49 am
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Remember when WestJet used to get mostly good press?
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Old Aug 24, 19, 11:20 am
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Originally Posted by smallmj View Post
Remember when WestJet used to get mostly good press?
To the tune of "Welcome to the jungle" GNR....
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Old Aug 24, 19, 11:33 am
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Isn't this what travel insurance covers?

While people get bothered because it is cancer as opposed to something less serious, why is this a WS issue?
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Old Aug 24, 19, 1:15 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Isn't this what travel insurance covers?

While people get bothered because it is cancer as opposed to something less serious, why is this a WS issue?
It is a WS issue because they have taken this families money for a service that the family will not be able to use. A family that has some young kids and one of the bread owners off sick for an extended period of time. It is WS issue because the general public will have zero sympathy for any corporation in this situation.

There would be more sympathy for WS if these seats were guaranteed to go our empty or if WestJet managed to sell them to someone else, this family would get their money back. There probably would be more sympathy if the family were permuted to try to sell the tickets on e-bay or somewhere else, however that would also violate the rules. The family can't even give the tickets away to friends and family they way they can with concert tickets or most other goods that can not be returned to the vendor.

WS created this problem when they designed their Basic fare structure. They now have to take a public relations hit every time a story like this come up. Hopefully the revenue from having Basic as a product is worth the hit in goodwill.
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Old Aug 24, 19, 2:55 pm
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Originally Posted by Fiordland View Post
It is a WS issue because they have taken this families money for a service that the family will not be able to use. A family that has some young kids and one of the bread owners off sick for an extended period of time. It is WS issue because the general public will have zero sympathy for any corporation in this situation.

There would be more sympathy for WS if these seats were guaranteed to go our empty or if WestJet managed to sell them to someone else, this family would get their money back. There probably would be more sympathy if the family were permuted to try to sell the tickets on e-bay or somewhere else, however that would also violate the rules. The family can't even give the tickets away to friends and family they way they can with concert tickets or most other goods that can not be returned to the vendor.

WS created this problem when they designed their Basic fare structure. They now have to take a public relations hit every time a story like this come up. Hopefully the revenue from having Basic as a product is worth the hit in goodwill.
Pretty hard to argue against that....
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Old Aug 24, 19, 6:01 pm
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However no company is a charity. sorry but i fail to empathize. Travel Insurance.
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Old Aug 24, 19, 6:54 pm
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Also, many major airlines (including Air Canada) have equivalent fares to WestJet's Basic fare with similar restrictive terms that they will not bend the rules on. All ULCCs in North America are at least as restrictive, AFAIK. In the lands of EU261, ULCCs have very restrictive fares that are totally complaint with the passenger rights legislation.
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Old Aug 24, 19, 10:32 pm
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Originally Posted by aerobod View Post
Also, many major airlines (including Air Canada) have equivalent fares to WestJet's Basic fare with similar restrictive terms that they will not bend the rules on. All ULCCs in North America are at least as restrictive, AFAIK. In the lands of EU261, ULCCs have very restrictive fares that are totally complaint with the passenger rights legislation.
Yes, all true. Air Canada has earned the reputation it has with the general public one ticket at a time and one CBC or CTV news report at a time.

WestJet has also earned a very different reputation. It has managed to differentiate itself from ac by behaving differently. That created a lot of goodwill and helped it gain market share. It has now decided to set that a side, We will see how that works out for them.
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Old Aug 24, 19, 10:52 pm
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Originally Posted by cirrusdragoon View Post
However no company is a charity. sorry but i fail to empathize. Travel Insurance.
It is not about being a charity. It is about trying to "enrich the lives of everyone in WestJet's world by providing safe, friendly and affordable air travel.”

That behavior does not quite meet the definition of "friendly". They created these basic fares knowing they were going to get some negative press when these things happen and in the process it would compromise the goodwill they spent a lot of money and effort building up over the years.

Honestly it would have cost them nothing to give this family a future travel credit, the seats go back into available inventory. WestJet keeps a few hundred dollars in cancellation fees, and lets face it, a good percentage of future travel credits expire without ever being used.
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Old Aug 24, 19, 11:04 pm
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How could you possibly write a policy to cover this? “My cat died. Can I get a refund?”

Every time there is a major flood or natural disaster our governments step up and offer compensation to the victims. But if you read closely, they only compensate for uninsurable losses. If the loss is insurable and you didn’t purchase the coverage you’re on your own. Tough break for the person here, but I don’t see it being any different. (Especially since I buy a multi-trip cancelation policy every year.)
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Old Aug 24, 19, 11:36 pm
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Originally Posted by Fiordland View Post
It is a WS issue because they have taken this families money for a service that the family will not be able to use. A family that has some young kids and one of the bread owners off sick for an extended period of time. It is WS issue because the general public will have zero sympathy for any corporation in this situation.

There would be more sympathy for WS if these seats were guaranteed to go our empty or if WestJet managed to sell them to someone else, this family would get their money back. There probably would be more sympathy if the family were permuted to try to sell the tickets on e-bay or somewhere else, however that would also violate the rules. The family can't even give the tickets away to friends and family they way they can with concert tickets or most other goods that can not be returned to the vendor.

WS created this problem when they designed their Basic fare structure. They now have to take a public relations hit every time a story like this come up. Hopefully the revenue from having Basic as a product is worth the hit in goodwill.
WS makes the restrictions very clear. They are getting a rock bottom price for a reason. In return for a low airfare they take on the risk of having to walk away from the ticket if anything changes. It is up to the customer to mitigate the risk not the airline.
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Old Aug 25, 19, 12:42 am
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Originally Posted by Fiordland View Post
It is not about being a charity. It is about trying to "enrich the lives of everyone in WestJet's world by providing safe, friendly and affordable air travel.”

That behavior does not quite meet the definition of "friendly". They created these basic fares knowing they were going to get some negative press when these things happen and in the process it would compromise the goodwill they spent a lot of money and effort building up over the years.

Honestly it would have cost them nothing to give this family a future travel credit, the seats go back into available inventory. WestJet keeps a few hundred dollars in cancellation fees, and lets face it, a good percentage of future travel credits expire without ever being used.
The family chose Basic Economy and chose not to buy insurance. So where does the line get drawn - cancer but not a heart attack or an ear infection?

Why should anyone buy travel insurance with this the rationale or book anything more than Basic Economy.

I loathe basic Economy and pay more not to have that ticket.I also pay for insurance when I chose not to I self insure.
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Last edited by arttravel; Aug 25, 19 at 11:33 am
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Old Aug 25, 19, 1:04 am
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Originally Posted by AltaBound View Post
WS makes the restrictions very clear. They are getting a rock bottom price for a reason. In return for a low airfare they take on the risk of having to walk away from the ticket if anything changes. It is up to the customer to mitigate the risk not the airline.
We are making a few assumptions here.

Basic Economy is not always cheaper than Economy. Was just booking a YVR-YYZ flight, for October. The Basic Economy fare was $100 more than the Economy fare on a flight that was leaving an hour later.

How transparent all of this is is also a crap shoot. The person who saves up to take his family to visit family in Halifax once every couple of years is likely to have no idea what "Basic Economy", "Economy", "Economy Flex" means. I just booked a flight to Vegas in Flex and was surprised to find out that Flex to the US is not as flexible as Flex in Canada and I am on a WestJet flight 3-4 times a month.

Go through a travel agent site or a real travel agent (like a large percentage of business travelers do) and all of this fare branding is not at all clear. Opaque would be a better way of describing it.

I have little sympathy for WestJet in this case. They created a system where they are offering a product this is not appropriate for the target market, Lets face it these Basic Economy fares are targeted at these infrequent travelers who if they understood what was going on would probably buy a more expensive fare class. However they don't.

WestJet is in its right to do what it did. It now needs to live with the bad press. Next month it will happen to another family and the CBC or CTV will have material for another piece on the "evil airline". Perhaps the CBC can alternative its stores between AC and WS.
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Old Aug 25, 19, 1:06 am
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Originally Posted by james dean View Post
Pretty hard to argue against that....
It is easier to argue than you think - WS has properly disclosed its sale conditions of its BE tickets. So the guy who complained about WS was SOL, as he accepted the conditions.
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