Due to the rising Covid cases around the world over the past several weeks, Air Canada Vacations issued a travel advisory today that the airline has chosen to halt some flight routes to a number of destinations in the Caribbean. These countries are also known as “Sun” destinations in the Canadian travel industry.
Block out dates for the flights will be from January 24, 2022 until April 30, 2022.
The suspended routes on Air Canada Vacations are to the destinations of:
- Samaná, Dominican Republic
- Exuma, The Bahamas
- Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
- Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
- Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
- Havana, Cuba
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Saint Martin/Saint Maarten
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
What If I’m Currently Traveling In One Of These Sun Destinations?
In order to make sure Canadians aren’t left without a direct flight home once the temporary suspension comes into effect, the airline will be operating one-way commercial flights back to Canada from those destinations listed above.
There were no further details on the one-way flights provided in today’s press release, but we suggest checking the Air Canada Vacations website to find your flight back home.
Refunds Will Be Given To Affected Passengers
All affected travelers from this destination suspension will be given full refunds. According to today’s statement, the airline’s team will be contacting any impacted passengers. The refunds will be processed in order of the previously scheduled departure date, and the affected customers will be sent an invoice once the refund has been processed.
Customer refunds may take up to six weeks to process and will be issued in the original form of payment.
The airline also wants to remind passengers that all current travel restrictions to enter Canada will still be in place. Always make sure to have all of your valid travel documents before boarding your flight.
Current Travel Restrictions For Canada
At this time, all international arrivals to Canada must submit their travel plans through the ArriveCAN app.
Travelers must show proof of full vaccination and all passengers 5 years of age and older must provide a negative PCR Covid test result (rapid antigen tests not accepted). The test must be taken within 72 hours of your scheduled departure for Canada.
If you’ve tested positive for Covid over the past few months, then all symptom-free travelers are allowed to show their positive test instead of a negative test result to enter Canada. The positive test result must be from at least 14 days to 180 days prior to travel, and on January 15, 2022, the timeline will be updated to between 10 and 180 days.
All travelers to Canada via land and air may be selected to take an on-arrival Covid test. You can see the full details on the Government of Canada website here.
The most recent travel restrictions update was last month when Canada restored the PCR test requirement for those travelers returning to Canada from short trips less than 72 hours. That same week, the government advised Canadians to avoid all non-essential international travel for at least four weeks.
The Industry ‘Well-Prepared’ To Manage The Potential Effects Of Covid-19
Today’s news can’t help but seem reminiscent of last January, when the major Canadian airlines suspended all flights to Mexico and the Caribbean for three months and all international flights to Canada were re-routed to only four airports across the country.
Acknowledging this similarity, Vice President at Air Canada Vacation, Nino Montagnese, issued the following statement:
“At first glance, 2022 can be mistaken for its predecessor. Omicron ushered in a wave of renewed uncertainty that coincided with the holidays and impacted our industry yet again. But unlike the heavy restrictions that kicked off 2021, this setback is a molehill, not a mountain. And this year is nothing like the last. We’re stronger, wiser and well-prepared to manage the potential effects of COVID-19.”
Confusion and Controversy
This story does come with some confusion, as multiple Caribbean news sites reported on January 3, 2021, that Air Canada would be suspending flights to sunny destinations, including the Caribbean and Mexico. However, the information was taken from an old press release, dated January 2021.
Air Canada quickly tweeted at Loops News Caribbean on January 3, 2022, saying “Important Clarification: Air Canada is not suspending service to Mexico or the Caribbean. Your information is outdated and appears to be from a press release issued in January 2021.”
This sent many publications into retraction mode, pulling back the story and issuing corrections throughout January 4th and 5th.
In a surprising twist, Air Canada’s press release, dated January 5, 2022, is in fact now confirming the suspension, at least for Caribbean nations, confusing news outlets and customers once again.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories