Island MP says travellers should get full refunds for cancelled trips

Island MP says travellers should get full refunds for cancelled trips
WatchNorth Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney says those who have had flights cancelled due to Covid-19 should get full refunds instead of partial refunds or vouchers.

Wayne and Patty Youde were on the verge of a dream vacation to Greece this spring when COVID-19 came to Canada.

“And we were going and then bang all of a sudden we’re not,” said Wayne Youde.

The trip was cancelled first by the tour company and then Air Canada cancelled their flights.

“Originally it was a $400 penalty for cancelling and then because they cancelled on us, they said they would give us everything but $350 back but we’re yet to see that yet,” he added.

The couple is now out $1,613 for each return airline ticket to Europe and thousands more with a tour company for the trip in Greece.

So far they have not received any money back from Air Canada.

The Youdes are one of literally thousands of cases of cancelled trips by Canadians since COVID-19 hit and airlines are only giving partial refunds or vouchers to be used in the future.

NDP Member of Parliament for the North Island and Powell River Rachel Blaney says the federal government needs to force airlines to pay their customers back in full.

“The reality is there are a lot of folks we represent here in the region who would need that money, they need it returned,” said Blaney. “It’s long trips and in some cases thousands and thousands of dollars that they really need back during this time and the uncertainly of knowing when they’ll be able to travel again.”

Minster of Transportation Marc Garneau says airlines are expected to do everything they can to find solutions for their customers but adds his job is to ensure the airline industry survives the pandemic.

“COVID-19 has led to an unprecedented situation in the aviation sector. Minister Garneau knows how frustrating and difficult this is to many Canadians, but also recognizes the existential position many airlines are in. A balanced approach is needed in supporting Canadians and ensuring that they continue to have affordable and efficient air transportation options for years to come,” read a statement from Garneau’s office Wednesday.

However, an advocate for Canadian airline passengers says that’s not their responsibility.

“What is impermissible is to force consumers who are not investors, not sophisticated businesses to prop up failing airlines,” said Gabor Lukacs, President of Airline Passenger Rights.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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