Canadian Passenger Rights


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Well, they could have bought fully-refundable tickets but decided to roll the dice and buy the cheaper option.  Biggest question - do you think any of them will actually learn anything from this?   ?

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For Air Canada Today NO..... YES....   Called AC Res yesterday...was on hold 43 minutes.....Explained my problem to agent .........within 5 minutes I had two .pdf files in my email advi

I listened on the radio this afternoon to people complain about this. They had the opportunity on the screen in front of them to protect themselves in the event something like this happened... fu

Yes, I see your point but it's not quite as simple as the airline just cancelled the one flight that a particular person was booked on and refuses to refund. Think of a very simple example; a per

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1 hour ago, seeker said:

Well, they could have bought fully-refundable tickets but decided to roll the dice and buy the cheaper option.  Biggest question - do you think any of them will actually learn anything from this?   ?

No they will continue to chase the bargains and expect the deluxe when things go wrong.

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9 hours ago, seeker said:

Well, they could have bought fully-refundable tickets but decided to roll the dice and buy the cheaper option.  Biggest question - do you think any of them will actually learn anything from this?   ?

What you fail to understand is that when someone buys a non refundable ticket, they are gambling that they wont show up and therefore lose the ticket, they are not gambling that the carrier wont show up. If AC or any carrier cancels the flight they have failed their contractual obligations and should refund the money, period.

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2 hours ago, Tiburon said:

What you fail to understand is that when someone buys a non refundable ticket, they are gambling that they wont show up and therefore lose the ticket, they are not gambling that the carrier wont show up. If AC or any carrier cancels the flight they have failed their contractual obligations and should refund the money, period.

For what it's worth, I tend to agree. I could offer up a kitchen renovation analogy but since kitchens don't fly it would likely fall flat.

In the mean time though, even though your cousin actually did the work for you, I will just keep your money and offer a 24 month voucher on the next kitchen reno you undertake during the voucher validity period. Sound fair?

If it does, please PM me for a free quote and advance payment options. Offer only available during Covid19 lockdown conditions, voucher validity period is subject to change without notice.

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What to bet people will not purchase this (insurance) option but will still think they should get a full refund?

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3 hours ago, Tiburon said:

What you fail to understand is that when someone buys a non refundable ticket, they are gambling that they wont show up and therefore lose the ticket, they are not gambling that the carrier wont show up. If AC or any carrier cancels the flight they have failed their contractual obligations and should refund the money, period.

Yes, I see your point but it's not quite as simple as the airline just cancelled the one flight that a particular person was booked on and refuses to refund.

Think of a very simple example; a person buys a non-refundable ticket and then the event is cancelled (wedding postponed, resort flooded, whatever) a week before the flight.  Should they be entitled to a refund?  I think you'd agree that they should not be entitled to a refund.  They'd like a refund.  They'd hope for a refund but the fact that the reason for the trip or desire to go has evaporated is not due to some airline-initiated action.

This pandemic is in many ways just a scaled up version of the above example.  There are, of course millions of different scenarios and permutations but in April there were still flights going almost everywhere but they were empty - people weren't showing up for the flights because they knew when they got to their destination they'd be quarantined or the planned event was cancelled.  I'm sympathetic but the reason why a passenger doesn't want to take the flight or what inconvenience they might face on arrival is not the responsibility of the airline.

Now it gets complicated; the Canada/USA border is closed and somebody has a ticket to Florida and the flight is cancelled.  Is this a case of "the airline has failed in their contractual obligations and should refund the money?"  In this case I'd argue that neither the passenger nor the airline has failed to hold up their end of the contract.  The passenger doesn't want to go anyway because they don't want to be quarantined on arrival in their hotel and the airline is forbidden by law from conducting the flight.  If the passenger sleeps in and misses their flight - their fault so no refund.  If the airline cancels the flight due to some controllable circumstance - the passenger gets a refund or re-booked.  A closed international border? You can hardly say that the airline failed in their obligation.  Nowhere in the tariff does it say that selling a ticket imposes an obligation to take the passenger to their destination - no matter what external event happens and a refund is due if it doesn't happen.  The regulations discuss airline-controllable delays/cancellations.  How can you place an obligation on a company for something they have no control over?

As an aside I see the same thinking around weather delays; passengers expect meal, hotel and taxi vouchers.  They have an expectation that from the time they arrive at the departure airport until they arrive at destination that it's airline's responsibility to keep them fed, watered and sheltered in every case other than a perfectly on-time trip even in cases where the airline has no control.  What started as a good-will gesture has become an expectation and is demanded.

I look at a non-refundable ticket this way;  the passenger is essentially saying that "I am so confident that I will be able to take this exact flight on this exact day that I'm willing to accept the risk associated with events external to the airline affecting my desire to travel in exchange for a cheaper ticket."

Buying a non-refundable ticket is a wager; you "win" a cheaper fare in exchange for accepting risk of external events.  The passenger almost always wins, in fact, the chance of losing is so remote that people don't even consider it.  They click through the disclaimer about "non-refundable" and "$200 change fees" as fast as they can without reading them.  They are however, pretty quick to grab the cash for a delayed flight that's one minute over the legislated maximum.

Technically, I would estimate that a significant majority of the advance ticket holders should get nothing at all.  They pre-paid for a non-refundable ticket and many are "choosing" not to travel.  AC is still doing flights to Sao Paulo.  Would you board a flight a flight to Sao Paulo?  Not me, but the flight is still going and what about the people who bought non-refundable tickets?  Refund them because now is not a good time to go to Sao Paulo?  Well, the airline knew no more about what the situation would be like for the planned travel than the passenger did when they bought the ticket.

Airlines have decided that they will meet the passengers in the middle - offering travel vouchers even though in many, not all but many, cases they could have simply given nothing at all.  Clearly the optics of that would be "not good" and hence the vouchers.

One more thought on the topic of insurance and non-refundable tickets.  Some wise person explained to me that you should never buy insurance for something that would not cause a significant financial burden if it was lost.  You don't buy insurance on a toaster, you do buy insurance for your house.  Over time the savings from not buying trivial insurance offsets the rare times you do experience a loss - this is how insurance companies manage to exist.  The same holds true for non-refundable tickets.  A lifetime of buying non-refundable tickets and experiencing the rare loss would be cheaper than always buying the refundable ticket.  Of course in each circumstance you must redo to mental calculation of what is the financial exposure and what is the chance of losing the reason to go.  You're buying a $200 domestic flight to visit family and your schedule is completely free of other obligations - probably don't need the refundable ticket.  If you're buying a $10,000 ticket and have doubt about the schedule - probably a good idea to buy a refundable ticket.

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10 minutes ago, seeker said:

Buying a non-refundable ticket is a wager;

Hi seeker, a credible defence.

But, (always a but eh?) isn't a non-refundable ticket also a contract that is just as valid as the one you and I made for the cut rate kitchen renovations we agreed to? As a contractor, with a raft of post Covid jobs pending, would you consider my actions to have similar merit after your cousin did the job in my stead.... by that I mean, I cancelled the job due to Covid, you no longer need the work done, is it OK that I only give you a voucher for that which you no longer need? 

 

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1 minute ago, Wolfhunter said:

Hi seeker, a credible defence.

But, (always a but eh?) isn't a non-refundable ticket also a contract that is just as valid as the one you and I made for the cut rate kitchen renovations we agreed to? As a contractor, with a raft of post Covid jobs pending, would you consider my actions to have similar merit after your cousin did the job in my stead.... by that I mean, I cancelled the job due to Covid, you no longer need the work done, is it OK that I only give you a voucher for that which you no longer need? 

 

Hah, I'd have to see the contract.  What conditions/obligations are laid out?  What remedies?  What are industry standards and established protocols?  Sorry, drawing parallels to a contract with a contractor is too far from this situation to be useful.

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8 minutes ago, seeker said:

Sorry, drawing parallels to a contract with a contractor is too far from this situation to be useful.

Maybe that's why I didn't get any PMs eh? 

One of the parallels is that "industry standards" are generally not favourable to you as a consumer of my services. I'm not suggesting that the situations are the same, only that the level of perceived unfairness (in the mind of consumers) is analogous. Cheers

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33 minutes ago, Wolfhunter said:

Maybe that's why I didn't get any PMs eh? 

One of the parallels is that "industry standards" are generally not favourable to you as a consumer of my services. I'm not suggesting that the situations are the same, only that the level of perceived unfairness (in the mind of consumers) is analogous. Cheers

OK, but to be fair your example would have to include the fact that you are agreeing to sign a non-refundable contract for your renos.  Would you agree to such a contract?  Not likely as you would immediately think about all the things that could happen that would affect the plan; your work schedule changes or you get sick or you get divorced - can't guarantee that you will be ready for the contractor at 8:00 AM on the agreed day.

What if the contractor agrees to give you a discount if you absolutely promise to be ready for him to work and turns down other jobs on that basis or agrees to a higher price that includes schedule flexibility or outright cancellation?

I used to have a dentist (not my current dentist) who had an appointment cancellation fee of $50 (less than 24 hour notice).  I never had an appointment that I couldn't keep but I asked him about it.  He said before he had the fee people would cancel all the time and it caused all sorts of problems (lost time). A lot of people commented on the policy but after he instituted it people rarely cancelled within the 24 hours and when they did he would usually waive it anyways but just the possibility of it caused people to be more careful in making their appointments and keeping them.

 

PS - don't get the reference to PMs - what's this about?

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4 hours ago, Tiburon said:

What you fail to understand is that when someone buys a non refundable ticket, they are gambling that they wont show up and therefore lose the ticket, they are not gambling that the carrier wont show up. If AC or any carrier cancels the flight they have failed their contractual obligations and should refund the money, period.

Are you sure it was AC that cancelled the flights in question or did the Federal Gov't have a say in this as well? Some provincial airports were closed and are still closed. Also I think multiple countries around the world banned air traffic from landing in their country. Is this the fault of AC? Does the contractual obligation failure still hold true for a worldwide pandemic? Natural disaster? Who exactly would you blame for the outstanding issue with non-refundable tickets? You can't compare the kitchen renovations to airline operations during a worldwide pandemic...sorry. And my thoughts apply not just to AC but all Canadian Airlines. I choose not to pick on one over the other! 

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45 minutes ago, seeker said:

PS - don't get the reference to PMs - what's this about?

It was from a post above where I said (albeit tongue in cheek): "Sound fair? If it does, please PM me for a free quote and advance payment options. Offer only available during Covid19 lockdown conditions, voucher validity period is subject to change without notice." It was in reference to my fictitious Kitchen Reno Company.

I think you have done a credible job of defending your position but I was trying, and perhaps it was a poor attempt, to put forward a scenario where a service provider, through no fault of their own, failed to deliver a promised service but retained the right to keep the payment they received in advance while only providing an in-store credit for a loss that is no longer recoverable (no relevant value as a result of the delay). I was thinking of using a bridal store contract to provide a wedding dress but perhaps that doesn’t work either.

Since my analogy doesn’t bear close scrutiny, can you think of another (non aviation) one that might serve, I've come up short.

I would love to say aha, I agree, that sounds fair…. but I can’t think of any scenario which doesn’t offend my sense of fairness to the consumer.

PS- here is an interesting link which may (or may not) support your position. Above my pay grade though.

https://www.mccarthy.ca/en/insights/articles/impact-covid-19-contractual-obligations-force-majeure-and-frustration

Edited by Wolfhunter
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1 hour ago, Marshall said:

What to bet people will not purchase this (insurance) option but will still think they should get a full refund?

Air Canada Vacations

 

 

Introducing the all-new CareFlexPlus plan

Last chance: CareFlexPlus at $29

Vacation on the mind? You can start making flexible travel plans with CareFlexPlus!

It lets you transfer your package, change your travel plans, or cancel with a full refund. Plus, all you need to secure your next escape is a deposit of only $100 per person!

Get it for less before our exclusive introductory offer ends on May 31!

Discover it now

 

 

CareFlexPlus plan

 

Why should they? Air Canada should purchase the insurance to cover themselves if they can’t supply the service they were contracted to do. This is ridiculous ploy to grab more advance booking money and have the customer pay to insure the carriers liability, don’t fall for it.

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25 minutes ago, Tiburon said:

Why should they? Air Canada should purchase the insurance to cover themselves if they can’t supply the service they were contracted to do. This is ridiculous ploy to grab more advance booking money and have the customer pay to insure the carriers liability, don’t fall for it.

Yeah, that's fine.  What you're really saying is all airlines should only sell fully refundable tickets.  Here's a link to IATA.  Let us know how your presentation goes and when the new standards will come into effect.  BTW, Air Canada (and other airlines) will accept the external risk and whatever flakiness there might be in the customer's decision-making and planning abilities - just buy the regular ticket - easy.

After you're done with your IATA presentation you can work on ridding all fast food restaurants of french fries because people shouldn't have choice, after all, Tiburon knows what's best.

Non-refundable tickets have value to some people and not to others - choose wisely.

If you're having trouble understanding the concept of non-refundable, just use the Google.

 

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2 hours ago, seeker said:

Yes, I see your point but it's not quite as simple as the airline just cancelled the one flight that a particular person was booked on and refuses to refund.

I agree that there are many variables if the carrier is operating and you chose not to go you forfeit the ticket if you bought a restricted fare. 
The issue currently is people who purchased tickets for future travel and now the carriers are not operating, I don’t care who’s fault it is, the obligation is to refund the fare that’s all nothing more nothing less. It is contractual and many jurisdictions like the EU and the US are forcing refunds. The CTC under pressure from the carriers are not forcing them yet, but it is coming.

If i order and prepay for a pizza, I expect delivery, if the pizzeria gets hit by lightning and burns down , to bad, feel sorry for you but give me my money back, that’s all  I want.Fight it out with your insurance company. All carriers should carry insurance or post a bond  to cover their obligations especially when the collect YOUR  money in advance.

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31 minutes ago, Tiburon said:

Why should they? Air Canada should purchase the insurance to cover themselves if they can’t supply the service they were contracted to do.

This is exactly the type of vacuous thinking that brought us the Passenger Rights legislation.  Passengers think it's great when get a $1000.00 cheque when their flight is delayed 3:01 hours - if they're the one that gets it but, as a group, everyone pays more for their fare.  In effect, every passenger is buying a ticket for travel and a lottery ticket.  The overall cost when you factor in admin costs is greater than the amount that will paid out.  It's a non-zero-sum game.

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13 minutes ago, seeker said:

.

If you're having trouble understanding the concept of non-refundable, just use the Google.

 

I understand non-refundable but typically your defence of the airlines is “heads I win tails you lose.“

I buy a non-refundable ticket and don’t show up I lose the money 

I buy a non-refundable ticket and the carrier doesn’t show up I lose the money


and now I buy a non-refundable ticket the carrier doesn’t show I lose the money and the Carriers want more of my money to bail them out

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Everyone on this forum has made a purchase from a business that has a no refund policy. They offer exchange or store credits only. If I went to such a business and bought camping gear for my planned trip to a park that was closed due to COVID, does that store owe me a refund for the stuff I can’t use, in spite of the purchase conditions I agreed to when I laid down my credit card?

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30 minutes ago, Tiburon said:

I agree that there are many variables if the carrier is operating and you chose not to go you forfeit the ticket if you bought a restricted fare. 
The issue currently is people who purchased tickets for future travel and now the carriers are not operating, I don’t care who’s fault it is, the obligation is to refund the fare that’s all nothing more nothing less. It is contractual and many jurisdictions like the EU and the US are forcing refunds. The CTC under pressure from the carriers are not forcing them yet, but it is coming.

If i order and prepay for a pizza, I expect delivery, if the pizzeria gets hit by lightning and burns down , to bad, feel sorry for you but give me my money back, that’s all  I want.Fight it out with your insurance company. All carriers should carry insurance or post a bond  to cover their obligations especially when the collect YOUR  money in advance.

The airlines, most of them, already gave vouchers to all the people who chose not to fly even when they could have.  I'm just guessing, but would estimate this at more than half even though, technically, they didn't have to.  They could have just refused to give out vouchers to anyone who's flight was actually available.  The optics of this would have been even worse than what we have now.  I wonder how this would play out - force the airlines to give refunds for the flights that were cancelled but allow them to keep the money from the non-refundable tickets where the flights were actually available.  It's an interesting mental exercise and I wonder, but have no idea, who would ultimately come out better in that deal. 

Regarding your example of the pizzaria - I would also expect a refund but these examples are not comparable.  The airline already offers the option of buying a ticket that has this benefit while the pizzeria does not offer a discounted non-refundable option.

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3 minutes ago, Tiburon said:

I understand non-refundable but typically your defence of the airlines is “heads I win tails you lose.“

I buy a non-refundable ticket and don’t show up I lose the money 

I buy a non-refundable ticket and the carrier doesn’t show up I lose the money


and now I buy a non-refundable ticket the carrier doesn’t show I lose the money and the Carriers want more of my money to bail them out

I think the wording "Non-refundable" would twig you to the fact that it is non refundable .  Now if it said "non refundable but with exceptions" then the fine print might help you to make a reasoned decision.  Cheers.

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10 minutes ago, Tiburon said:

I buy a non-refundable ticket and don’t show up I lose the money 

I buy a non-refundable ticket and the carrier doesn’t show up I lose the money


and now I buy a non-refundable ticket the carrier doesn’t show I lose the money and the Carriers want more of my money to bail them out

Ahhh, but in many cases the carrier did show up and when you didn't they still gave you a voucher so you didn't lose and even when the carrier didn't show up they gave the voucher.  I understand many people would like their money back now and that a voucher isn't exactly equal but it's not nothing in return.

The airlines have not, so far, asked for any bailout.  Not more than any other industry at least.  The NHL is asking for bailouts!

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2 minutes ago, J.O. said:

Everyone on this forum has made a purchase from a business that has a no refund policy. They offer exchange or store credits only. If I went to such a business and bought camping gear for my planned trip to a park that was closed due to COVID, does that store owe me a refund for the stuff I can’t use, in spite of the purchase conditions I agreed to when I laid down my credit card?

Don’t quite buy your analogy, if you bought the camping gear and they delivered it to you the transaction is complete and there are no more obligations .If you ordered the camping gear and prepaid it online and then they said sorry, manufacturer went out of business here is a trampoline or come back in two years would that be acceptable to you?

the obligation is to supply the services or product contracted or give me my money back.

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The analogy is that the business did not control the situation that led to me being unable to make use of the purchase I made. They had no control of that at the time of the transaction. That is the case in most of the situations where people are demanding their money back for fare purchases that didn’t include the right to a refund. Whether the campground reopens next week or next year is also outside the control of the store, same for the airlines regarding the reopening of borders.

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11 minutes ago, seeker said:

Ahhh, but in many cases the carrier did show up and when you didn't they still gave you a voucher so you didn't lose.

The airlines have not, so far, asked for any bailout.  Not more than any other industry at least.  The NHL is asking for bailouts!

A voucher is virtually worthless in this environment and it leaves cash strapped individuals with nothing of value and payments to be made on the credit card no matter what

Oh they have asked they just have not got anything yet and they better not. I am all for the programs that have helped employees stay on the payroll as long as possible under these very unusual circumstances but there had better not be any corporate bailouts

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1 hour ago, J.O. said:

Everyone on this forum has made a purchase from a business that has a no refund policy. They offer exchange or store credits only.

If you had prepaid for a pair of men's pants and the store in question then became a women's dress shop then yes. If you bought a non-refundable ticket for a wedding that was subsequently cancelled, then no. If you ordered and prepaid for a new Harley and gasp, they went out of business, would you be OK with an in-store credit for a new Honda? It's not the same as ordering the bike and changing your mind because you broke your leg.

We are well above my pay grade now so I will leave you with a final thought.

The notion of non-refundable (IMO) places the risk where it belongs, in the hands of the person reaping the benefit of a lower fair structure made available by virtue of it’s non-refundable status. That seems fair and I don’t think anyone is disputing that aspect of the equation or that it is, or may be, a useful tool to those who enter the fray with their eyes open.

The only question is whether it retains (or should retain) its non-refundable status if the service is not provided and/or can't be provided. I don’t think this is about blaming carriers for not providing the service, it’s not even about them having to justify why they didn’t… everyone gets it. 

IMO though, it’s quite another thing to suggest that since it was non-refundable in the first place that there should be no reasonable expectation of either receiving the service or of receiving a refund should the service not be available or performed. It seems to me you are suggesting that Force Majure applies and there is no entitlement to a refund solely as a result of non-refundable status.

Using the same logic, would it not also be true that if Force Majure applies to one class of ticket that it could also be applied to all other classes of ticket by virtue of the same contractual caveat. In that case, the fare structure becomes irrelevant as all are captured by the shared circumstances. If you were to make that argument, I could see the logic and reluctantly agree.

As an aside, perhaps we can all agree that regardless of the legalities, that this doesn't play well in the public arena. I suspect it was that very arena and the notion of fair play (for good or ill) that lead to the passenger bill of rights and I'm guessing (but don't know) that it will prove costly and eventually be seen as an occurrence  best not provoked in the first place.

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