British Columbia Sun

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Air-Canada grants to fund $4.5M for setbacks in leasing out U.S. COVID-19-refunds

Key takeaways: 

  • Deal records the highest penalty ever levied to an airline for client refund. 
  • Air Canada has accepted to settle a $4.5-million US penalty for being late in announcing U.S.-linked client refunds through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Air Canada to pay $4.5 in settlement: 

Air Canada has accepted to fund $4.5 million US to the U.S. Department of Transportation for excessive delays in giving returns to thousands of passengers who had their flights to or from the U.S. either called off or significantly altered throughout the pandemic.

During its Office of Aviation Consumer Protection (OACP), the firm had been soliciting $25 million US from the airline after getting more than 5,000 objections from passengers who travelled on the airline since March 1, 2020.

According to the company, the airline took anywhere between five and 13 months to begin returns for cancelled flights.

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For cross-border flights, airlines are reckoned to make credit card returns in seven days, increasing to 20 days for tickets purchased with cash. 

The U.S. Transportation Department stated it granted more time for returns last year because of the increase in cancelled flights, given an airline was attempting to refund the money. However, it stated in a past statement on the subject that Air Canada had declined to make a good-faith try to treat its returns promptly.

In a report announced Monday, the company stated the penalty is the highest ever imposed against an airline by the OACP.

The penalty shows the department is “holding airlines accountable by ensuring that they treat passengers fairly when flights are significantly changed or cancelled,” deputy secretary Polly Trottenberg stated in the announcement. Source – cbc.ca

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