Air Canada offers vouchers with no expiry for cancelled flights

Air Canada has revised its goodwill policy and will now offer customers two new options for flights that were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The airline also announced its new summer schedule, including limited domestic and international flights.

In a press release Friday, the airline said customers will be given the choice of a travel voucher with no expiry date that is fully transferable or the ability to convert their booking into Aeroplan Miles and receive an additional 65 per cent bonus miles.

Previously, customers with cancelled flights were offered travel vouchers valid for 24 months. The new options are being provided to both Air Canada customers with refundable and non-refundable tickets. However, only customers with refundable tickets are able to receive a refund.  

“The new goodwill policies and cancellation options are retroactive for customers with original travel between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021,” the airline said.

Aside from the revised goodwill policy, the airline’s summer schedule is offering flights to limited destinations both domestically and internationally.

Air Canada said in the press release that the new “abridged” schedule will offer a choice of nearly 100 destinations in Canada, the U.S. and around the world.

Though the summer schedule is offering more flights than there were in the previous weeks, the airline is down 97 flights from the 220 it had the previous year.

For national flights, 34 routes will be added in May and 58 more will follow in June. More destinations will be made available in August and September.

As of May 25, the airline is resuming service to the U.S. with six destinations, including New York, Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago. While Air Canada offered 53 routes to the U.S. last year, the airline said there are plans to add more routes by June 22.

International flights will also resume in June, though no specific date has been disclosed. Selected flights will only operate from major hubs including Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver. The international routes will include Frankfurt, London, Zurich, Tokyo, Tel Aviv, Paris, Brussels, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Seoul.

More international destinations will be added in June and early July including Athens, Rome, Geneva, Munich, Lisbon, Amsterdam, and potentially Shanghai.

“We are accordingly gradually opening for sale flights for the summer and beyond as we rebuild our network, leveraging our strong position as a global airline,” the airline said. 

Since Jan. 1, Air Canada said it had refunded nearly $1 billion to customers.

On Friday, the airline said customers whose flights had been cancelled due to the health emergency and who had already received a travel credit valid for 24 months would be able to select one of the two new options on the aircanada.com website beginning June 15.

Many customers expressed their anger for receiving vouchers over refunds for flights cancelled due to the pandemic. A petition with more than 20,000 signatures was presented to the House of Commons, calling on the federal government to make airlines provide refunds to passengers of cancelled flights.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked on Thursday about the reimbursement for airline passengers and said the federal government is working on a “balance” that will ensure Canadians are supported financially and airlines are able to stay in business for the long term.

Air Canada also said it has a new safety program designed to reduced the spread of the virus by limiting interactions, additional use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and “state-of-the-art” cleaning techniques. 

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