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WestJet REFUSES Family a Refund for Their Mother Who Died Before Flight

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A family is outraged over WestJet's no refund policy on base airfare tickets. Nicki Adamson and her husband Trevor Drummond’s 77-year-old mother Angel passed away after she had purchased a base fare ticket from the airline to attend a family wedding in early July.

"She became ill and ended up in hospital. I first contacted WestJet on June 12 to see if we could do anything as we knew by that point she would not be able to travel to the wedding, so I wanted to see what were my options.

At first, Adamson asked if they could change the ticket so another family member could use it and attend the wedding.

The couple told the Delta Optimist that they went directly to the airport to speak with a supervisor as they weren't getting anywhere on the phone. 

"We spoke with a supervisor and the only thing they did was give us a bereavement number. My husband called them and WestJet said it was policy and they would make no exceptions."

Westjet plane

While the WestJet spokesperson did express sympathy for the family, they told them there is nothing they can do as it's company policy for base airfare bookings. 

“Basic fare bookings are not eligible for refund, exchange or name changes should travel plans require cancellation or changes. At the time of booking, guests always have the option to purchase other fares we offer (econo, premium, etc.) if they are looking for options such as flexibility, date changes, advanced seat selection and WestJet rewards.”

“WestJet receives many inquiries from guests asking for exceptions to basic fare rules for extenuating circumstances, however, unfortunately it is not possible. Understandably, if WestJet was to make an exception for one situation it would only be reasonable to make it for all, thus making the purpose of basic fares obsolete.

WestJet stuck to their policy and in the end did not refund the ticket. The family was very upset that the airline woudn't make an exception in the case of a family member passing. Adamson said she has never heard of an airline that doesn't offer some kind of bereavement clause for refund or at least a credit. 

When someone dies you never plan that. She didn’t know she was going to die when she booked this ticket, so I understand they have the rules for when you get sick, but I’ve never known another airline to do this.I will never fly WestJet again."

In a similar incident Global News reported that a woman dying from cancer was also denied a refund by WestJet for a base fare ticket. Eric Wynne’s wife Kathleen has been battling cancer since 2015. It had gone into remission so she booked a ticket to visit her nieces but unfortunately her disease returned. The condition worsened to the point where she could not make the flight and when Wynne called WestJet, his request for refund or credit was rejected. 

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Cover photo credit: (The Canadian Press/Larry MacDougal)