Your rights as a customer
Gábor Lukács, the founder of the excellent Air Passenger Rights website, has written a comprehensive article on your rights to get a refund on your airline ticket.
If you read English, I invite you to read it directly on their site. Below, I’ll give you the highlights.
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Credit or full refund?
Airlines are facing an unprecedented situation. The COVID-19 / Coronavirus is completely crippling the travel industry, and most airlines are gradually grounding a majority of their fleet.
Faced with the influx of customers wishing to cancel their trips, particularly following the Government of Canada’s notice, the policies of the various airlines are adjusted on a daily basis.
At the beginning of the crisis, full refunds were given. Now, with the situation worsening by the hour, most companies are offering a credit for a flight by December 31, 2020 or 24 months for the most generous.
Let us insist on the term “
“. As the Air Passenger Rights website explains, this isan initial offer made to you by the company. It is up to you to accept it or not.
Please note that there are three circumstances under which you can obtain a full refund of your airline ticket:
- According to the terms and conditions of your airline ticket (e.g. 100% refundable ticket)
- If the provider has failed to provide the purchased service (flight cancellation)
- If exceptional circumstances prevent the contract from being fulfilled (notice from a government authority advising against foreign travel)
If any of these three circumstances exist, the service provider MUST reimburse you in the original form of payment.
The legal bases
Visit the Air Passenger Rights website to view all the legal bases for obtaining a refund as:
- Flight cancellation (to, from and within Canada)
- Flight cancellation (from the European Union or with a European carrier)
- Inability to contact the service provider
- Unenforceable contracts (Common Law only)
Claim your rights for a refund
Here are the tips from the Air Passenger Rights website to help you get a refund:
- Record all your correspondence (telephone, written, take screenshots)
- Who to contact: your contract of carriage is with the airline, not the travel agent
- What to say: be firm and polite in explaining your rights to the company. In case of refusal, inform her of the actions you will take, such as requesting achargeback from your credit card issuer
If you don’t get it right, there will be small claims left. In most cases, you will eventually win your case.
Credit card cancellation insurance
Your credit card issuer will always ask you to make arrangements for a refund of your airfare or travel with your service provider first.
Only then will trip cancellation insurance come into play to compensate you for non-refundable expenses.
To learn more about credit card trip cancellation and interruption insurance, see our feature.
And if you’re looking for a great credit card with trip cancellation and interruption insurance in the future, we can’t recommend enough one of the best cards on the market: