WestJet Is First Large Canadian Carrier To Offer Refunds – On Select Routes

Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw

WestJet Airlines has rolled out a change to its refund policy allowing refunds on select flights that were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To date, WestJet is the first large Canadian carrier to offer refunds, rather than future travel credit only, to passengers affected by COVID-19 flight cancellations. Politicians, consumers and air passenger rights activists have been applying increasing pressure on airlines to change their policies. Click here, here, or here to read/see some of Open Jaw's prior coverage of the debate. 

A spokesperson for WestJet told Open Jaw that the carrier has always provided change/cancel options on impacted flights, including the ability to rebook with no change fee, to refund the full value of their flight to a WestJet Travel Bank valid for use within 24 months for bookings made directly with WestJet, or to retain their full ticket value for a future flight for bookings made with travel agents. 

Now, WestJet has begun processing refunds to original form of payment for select international itineraries that were cancelled by WestJet due to the COVID-19 crisis, spokesperson Morgan Bell said.

Guests with eligible tickets who booked directly with WestJet will have the option of changing their flights, receiving the full value of their flight in Travel Bank or accepting a refund to original form of payment.

"We are proactively contacting those guests with eligible flights who have already had their refund processed to Travel Bank to allow them this additional option," said Bell.

Guests with eligible tickets who booked through a travel agent will also be provided with the option of retaining their full ticket value for a future flight or refunding to original form of payment, Bell confirmed. If a client opts for the refund, travel advisors will lose the initial commission made on the booking.   

"We are carefully monitoring the regulatory frameworks in all its operated jurisdictions. As this is a rapidly evolving situation, we encourage guests to check our website regularly for up-to-date information pertaining to COVID-19," said Bell.   

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.


Comments

Pam - June 9, 2020 @ 11:35
Now we can work on the same files for the 3rd, 4th and fifth time without making a cent, but Westjet pretends they are the hero. Thanks for nothing.

peggy mcknight - June 8, 2020 @ 09:13
Westjet decision to approve refunds should not be on the backs of travel agents! The commission earned have been applied to our employees wage that supported all the extra time in facilitating the various changes during this pandemic and now we work again for nothing! Very disappointed that Westjet turned their backs on travel agents!

Corinne - June 6, 2020 @ 09:27
A disaster in the making for travel agencies!!!!

Steph - June 6, 2020 @ 08:40
I've already started to receive emails from my clients over the headlines. More work for me to end up with even less $$. Will Travel Agents ever get a break?! We've already been hit the hardest financially by all of this :(

Susan - June 6, 2020 @ 08:23
Refund to select destination should be well clarified.
The refund is the best option for the consumer. When the client receives a credit our commission is only paid once the client travels. Refund = customer satisfaction therefore the client will return to the Travel Agent for future travel needs. Commission on airfare is very low therefore the Travel Agent should charge a service fee which is non refundable.

Janet - June 5, 2020 @ 19:55
Thanks Westjet for screwing over the travel agent again! Who supported you from the start and booked and promoted your airline? THE TRAVEL AGENT! Thanks for nothing! Just remember when this all over, us travel agents will remember who had our backs and who didn’t!

ivy - June 5, 2020 @ 17:50
Why are we as an agent get the most rip off???? What ashame WestJet !!!!!

Laurie Keith - June 5, 2020 @ 17:42
I cannot say that I've ever been as disappointed in a supplier as I am now.

Craig Petroskey - June 5, 2020 @ 17:27
Way to go WestJet! (Sarcasm) So agents will get ADMs for commission recall? Thanks for nothing, WestJet!

Tom - June 5, 2020 @ 17:15
refund to "select destinations" only going to add more confusion to an already messy situation. Travel agents will end up getting more calls from passengers and spend more time clarifying.

Dave Heron - June 5, 2020 @ 17:05
Disappointed that a company once known as a great communicator, opted to release this info to the media prior to advising agencies. A grade of F-minus to WS on this issue

Donna Tonner - June 5, 2020 @ 16:16
I see. So Westjet is going to stand up for refunds for the clients but turn on us Agents to take back the commission after we did all the work and you got our clients booking. Way to go Westjet! (said sarcastically in case you were wondering)

Richard - June 5, 2020 @ 16:12
If a client opts for the refund, travel advisors will lose the initial commission made on the booking.

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