WestJet to start refunding flights cancelled amid COVID-19 pandemic

WestJet will likely be providing refunds to WestJet and Swoop passengers whose flights have been cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

WestJet says it’s the primary Canadian airline to offer money refunds for all flights. It had prior to now introduced refunds for particular flights simplest, with long run flight credit score to be had for almost all of cancelled flights.

Learn extra:
WestJet offers refunds to passengers with cancelled European flights

In an emailed commentary, the airline mentioned beginning Monday, Nov. 2, eligible passengers will likely be contacted “proactively,” a procedure that may get started with the ones whose flights have been cancelled by way of the airline at first of the pandemic, beginning with journeys booked for March.

“The refund procedure is anticipated to take six to 9 months to paintings via eligible requests,” WestJet mentioned.

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Click to play video 'WestJet executive calls for federal support after company slashed flights and jobs'

WestJet govt requires federal fortify after corporate slashed flights and jobs

WestJet govt requires federal fortify after corporate slashed flights and jobs

The airline mentioned it additionally expects an “administrative backlog” as the method will get underway, and requested consumers to be affected person, and wait to be contacted reasonably than contacting the airline themselves.

The ones in search of refunds for journeys booked via WestJet Holidays are requested to proceed following the method already in position.

Learn extra:
Airline passengers voice frustrations after WestJet cuts services, refunds with vouchers

“We’re an airline that has constructed its popularity on striking other folks first,” WestJet president and CEO Ed Sims mentioned in a information liberate.

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“We’ve got heard loud and transparent from the travelling public that on this COVID-19 global, they’re in search of reassurance on two fronts: the most secure imaginable go back and forth surroundings; and refunds.

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“We’ve got been turning in on a secure surroundings via our Protection Above All program because the onset of the pandemic and as of Monday, Nov. 2, we can proactively supply refunds to unique type of fee to itineraries cancelled by way of WestJet and Swoop.”

Click to play video 'WestJet suspends most of its operations in Atlantic Canada amid the COVID-19 pandemic'

WestJet suspends maximum of its operations in Atlantic Canada amid the COVID-19 pandemic

WestJet suspends maximum of its operations in Atlantic Canada amid the COVID-19 pandemic

In a weblog submit at the WestJet website online, Sims mentioned the airline has been confronted with a 95 consistent with cent drop in call for, including that for 72 days in a row, cancellations outnumbered bookings — a primary within the corporate’s 25-year historical past.

Now, bookings are as soon as once more upper than cancellations, WestJet mentioned, however nonetheless no longer on par with what they have been sooner than the pandemic hit.

Learn extra:
Latest WestJet layoffs affect 3,333 employees as COVID-19 cripples airline industry

Greater than 140 of WestJet’s 181 planes are recently parked, Sims mentioned, and greater than four,000 staff had been laid off.

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The airline additionally suspended its carrier in Atlantic Canada previous this month, mentioning the coronavirus pandemic as making the carrier “unviable.”

Vice-president of company communications Richard Bartrem mentioned this transfer brings the corporate again in keeping with what refund procedures have been pre-COVID-19, which means elementary fares don’t seem to be incorporated within the new refund roll-out.

“Fundamental fare is meant to be there for the ones visitors in search of a considerably decrease fare than would differently be to be had and does include some particular restrictions connected to them,” he mentioned.

“So as a substitute of that going again to unique type of fee, it’ll return to go back and forth credit score.”

Learn extra:
Coronavirus: Air Canada raises close to $500M by selling, leasing back Boeing 737 Max 8s

In an emailed commentary, Air Canada disputed WestJet’s declare that it used to be the primary to provide refunds of this sort, pronouncing “We’ve got already refunded over $1.2 billion in refundable fares thus far.”

“WestJet is solely now catching as much as our coverage to refund refundable fares,” Air Canada mentioned.

“And for patrons with non-refundable tickets, we have now essentially the most beneficiant and versatile voucher choice.”

Bartrem mentioned WestJet wasn’t sharing how a lot it anticipated to refund in money to its consumers.

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— With recordsdata from The Canadian Press

© 2020 World Information, a department of Corus Leisure Inc.

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