WestJet is finally taking the side of its customers and has decided to refund cancelled flights to the original form of payment instead of travel credits.
Canadian travelers have been extremely frustrated not only the hundreds of flights that have been cancelled due to Covid, but also losing their cold hard cash when the flight does get cancelled.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Canada’s major airlines have not been providing refunds for cancelled flights but instead issuing ‘credits’ to already defeated travelers. Canadian consumers have been extremely vocal about their view on the matter, calling out the airlines to properly refund customers for unrendered services.
WestJet says they are listening, and they are here for Canadians
“It has been incredibly disheartening for anyone working here at one of Canada’s most beloved brands not to be able to demonstrate that we have our guests at the heart of every decision,”
said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO
“Through the efforts of thousands of WestJetters, we are confident that we can now begin providing refunds proactively. We are the first national airline in Canada to do so.”
WestJet is planning on starting the refunds on November 2nd, and will be applying them retroactively, starting with customers first affected back in March 2020. The process will be systematic and will start from the bottom of the list to the top.
“We are an airline that has built its reputation on putting people first,”. continued Mr. Sims. “We have heard loud and clear from the travelling public that in this COVID world they are looking for reassurance on two fronts: the safest possible travel environment; and refunds. We have been delivering on a safe environment through our Safety Above All program since the onset of the pandemic and as of Monday, November 2, we will proactively provide refunds to original form of payment to itineraries cancelled by WestJet and Swoop.”
Many are relived that the refund policy is not simply being activated for only flights after November 2nd, but that WestJet is taking the responsibility to go back and retroactively refund customers from the very start of the pandemic.
This won’t happen all at once. WestJet is expecting the entire process to take around 6 months to comb through all the requests and contact each effected customer. They are also asking that customers do not call in, but instead wait to be called, as they are working through the list in a systematic way.
Also, customers should know that not everyone will be eligible for a refund. While many flights that were cancelled due to the pandemic will be eligible for a refund, flights that fall outside their pre-Covid refund policy may not be covered, like customers who cancelled their own flights for example. WestJet expects most of their customers to be eligible, as long as it was WestJet who cancelled the flight.
In a statement of reassurance by WestJet, the commented the following in regard to if Canadians should expect a price increase to pay for this backlog of refunds
“No. It is our intention to remove barriers to travel, not create further affordability challenges for hard-pressed travellers.”
Air Canada has not yet suggested if they will follow WestJet’s noble lead.
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