As the COVID-19 vaccine slowly rolls out, many areas remain hotspots, with non-essential travel discouraged.
That leaves anyone who did not travel during last winter’s break possibly holding on to an airline voucher, which they are currently not using.
The start of March Break 2020 is when many in Ottawa first started to become nervous about the pandemic; with the Federal Government advising against travel, many cancelled their winter break getaway.
"We were heading out to Alberta to visit family, just as COVID hit; we were heading out for the March Break, and so had to cancel,” says Joanne Brooks. She, like many, decided to stay home.
"I cancelled because of COVID, and the only option was a travel bank.“
That credit with the airline was set to expire early this year; and, as with many others - Brooks has no plans to travel until she thinks it’s safe to do so.
"I’m absolutely not; the numbers for COVID are high and they’re rising; I really feel that it’s imperative to stay in place," said Brooks.
Which is why she was happy to receive an email from her airline Thursday with news about her vouchers.
"It will automatically be extended for another 365 days; so, that’s great news - it just means that there’s a little bit of a breather and you can safely think about travelling in 2022," said Brooks.
If you have a credit voucher for a cancelled trip, now might be the time to confirm if there is an expiry date.
Air Canada, WestJet, and Transat tell CTV News Ottawa they either are extending expiry dates or have removed them all together, and refunds might be an option from some as well. Sunwing did not respond to CTV News Ottawa's request for comment.
If you’re not sure about your expiry dates, Brooks has some good advice for you - contact your airline or travel agent.
"It’s really good to be proactive, to reach out and ask; then lobby for yourself if you don’t get the response you want.”
Here is a look at the statements to CTV News from the airlines
"Customers can request their Future Travel Credit (FTC – which expires after 2 years and is not transferrable) be converted to an Air Canada Travel Voucher (ACTV) which never expires and is transferrable. All customers with an FTC can select an ACTV (or Aeroplan Miles with a 65 per cent bonus). Any customer can request their FTC be transferred to ACTV.”
“WestJet has consistently provided our guests with options when their travel has been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Our guests can rebook flights with no change fee or obtain vouchers for the full value of their flight. As a result of this crisis, WestJet has extended its vouchers so that they can be used for up to 24 months and can be transferred to another WestJet Reward’s account upon request," said WestJet.
"WestJet announced Oct. 21 it would begin providing refunds for all travellers, regardless of fare class booked where WestJet initiated the cancellation. This move made WestJet the most progressive and proactive airline with respect to our refund policies and we remain the only national airline in Canada to provide refunds across all fare types for flights cancelled by WestJet. We continue to focus on expediting those refunds as promptly as possible."
"In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, all the travel credits that have been given to our customers following the cancellation of their flight have no expiry date and are fully transferable."