Trudeau Says Gov't In Discussions With Airlines Over Refund Policies

Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said yesterday the government is examining the issue of airlines offering future travel vouchers instead of refunds to passengers who have flights cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We recognize that many Canadians are out of pocket for tickets they are obviously not going to be using," Trudeau said in response to a reporter's question during his daily address on 21MAY.

"We need to have some very careful discussions with airlines, with the air travel sector and indeed with Canadians who are concerned to try and figure out a way forward to ensure that Canadians are treated fairly and our airline industry remains there for when our economy picks up again."

When asked to clarify whether the government is considering requiring airlines to refund unused tickets, Trudeau responded, "We are looking at what other countries are doing and we are talking to the airlines. We are listening to Canadians' concerns because Canadians want their money back when they haven't been able to take trips. On the other hand, they also want there to be an airline industry in the future. So finding the right balance is going to be crucial."

None of Canada's major airlines are offering cash refunds for flights cancelled since mid-MAR due to the pandemic, opting to hand out 24-month vouchers instead. 

This approach hasn't been well received by Canadians. 

Open Jaw reported yesterday that thousands of Canadians have signed an online petition calling on the federal government to require airlines to reimburse passengers whose flights were cancelled as a result of COVID-19.

Other jurisdictions, like the European Union and United States, require airlines to offer refunds.

Anna Kroupina

Anna Kroupina Journalist

Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.


Roslyn C loop - May 22, 2020 @ 21:50
Travellers deserve their money back. Why does airlines think covid19 gives them money that the hold on to from travellers who flight Covid19 disruption?

As for those who make deal with your groups and airlines to make commissions and therefore agree with airlines to accept vouchers should be ashamed. In time like these people needs their money. Greed for commission in times like these are ridiculous

Jackie Bakic - May 22, 2020 @ 19:41
Hopefully some direction forthcoming for Canadian travelers. I would like to correct the comment of EU and USA requiring refunds for airlines, certainly has not been the case and most EU airlines are NOT refunding but offering vouchers as well> KLM/AF/Easyjet/Vueling/Ryanair/Aer LIngus and no matter how hard you try same result. As for USA well AA/United are NOT offering refunds either only vouchers. Yes DOT has regulated and warned but failing on deaf ears. Yes survival is key and yes airlines are receiving government aid in the EU (KLM/AF) but refunds to the consumers are not happening. I have facts and bookings with endless hours of communication to no avail.

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