Airlines will be required to refund delayed and canceled flights in lieu of only offering vouchers
By: Charlotte Hui
According to data from the Department of Transportation released in December 2021, refunds are consistently the number one complaint category among airlines. Before the pandemic, consumers typically filed between 1,000 and 2,000 complaints per month. From March 2020 through May, there were 22,000 complaints, of which 21,000 were about consumers not being able to get refunds for airline tickets. The number of complaints was up 460 percent before the COVID-19 pandemic began in February 2020, compared with August 2021.
The main problems with ticket refunds are the extra cost of flight delays due to COVID-19. Consumers cannot get a rebate when they cancel their tickets because airlines only offer vouchers that set time limits for refund redemption.
It is out of genuine frustration when passengers complain about spending more money on hotels, car rentals, and meals after a flight are delayed or canceled. The law requires a refund only if the airline cancels the flight itself, knowing that most airlines still only offer a voucher, not a refund on the original route.
France Pégeot, Chair and CEO of the Canadian Transportation Agency, states the COVID-19 pandemic highlights a “gap in the Canadian air passenger protection regime.”
The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) today announced that the Regulations Amending the Air Passenger Protection Regulations, which provide additional refund requirements, will come into force on September 8, 2022.
The new airplane tickets refund regulation requirements:
l. Airlines are required to offer passengers whose tickets are canceled or delayed due to circumstances beyond their control a confirmed reservation for the next available flight within 48 hours, with a new departure time on the ticket, or offer a refund or rebooking at the customer’s option
2. All fees must be refunded, including airfare and any additional services that have been paid for and not used.
3. The refund method is to be the same as the original payment method
4. Give the airline 30 days to provide a refund
The Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, said, “Whether due to a large-scale cancellation or a small incident, we know that sometimes travel doesn’t go according to plan. These new regulations will protect travelers in these unexpected situations. Our government will continue to protect the interests of passengers.”