To the editor:
Why are Canadian airlines not returning the money paid to purchase tickets for flights they cancelled or failed to operate?
Canadian federal and provincial law, as well as airline’s own rules require them to provide refunds for services they failed to render.
In the United States as well as Europe, regulators ordered airlines to provide refunds for any flight cancelled by the airlines in the same form used for payment, not travel vouchers or credits.
If the airlines in Canada are allowed to break the law, can we break the law also? What business other than the airline industry can take money for a service and keep it without providing the service? Event ticket distributors such as Ticketmaster are providing refunds for shows and concerts cancelled by the performers. Why? Because it is the law!
Can I personally refuse to stop paying taxes? Can we now walk into a supermarket and take out items without paying? The big question here is what laws am I allowed to break? None of them!
Why is it the consumer’s duty to help keep for-profit corporations profitable? I believe the airlines have had a good deal for far too long and made more than enough money by increasing prices and adding fees to cash in on the increased consumer demand for travel during the last decade.
Want more proof? Here is a quote from Air Canada’s 2019 Annual Report, after having operating income for the year of $1.65 billion “Our discipline was rewarded by an 87 per cent return on our shares in 2019, which, when added to our returns over the previous nine years, made Air Canada the top performing stock on the TSX for the past decade with a 3,575 percent return,” said Calin Rovinescu, president and chief executive officer of Air Canada.
Air Canada currently has approximately $5 billion in cash but owes $2.4 billion to customers in refunds for flights that have been cancelled. Their CEO and President received a 28 per cent raise in 2019 to $11.5 million dollars.
The airlines have had a very cosy relationship with the Liberal government and Canadian Transportation Agency, especially with the weak Passenger Bill of Rights that was introduced in 2019 and is filled with several loopholes to allow the airlines to get out of paying compensation.
Class action law suits were started on these terrible rules well before the current outbreak. Now there are three additional class action lawsuits in Canada against airlines.
In Germany, Lufthansa Airlines was bailed out by the government recently. Now, the German government owns 25 per cent of the company. The Canadian Government should not give any airline money until they have stopped breaking the law and returned money, paid for services not rendered, back to the consumers who have bills to pay.
To learn more, you can visit AirPassengerRights.ca or their Facebook page: AirPassengerRights (Canada).
They have over 30,000 members and their online petition has over 55,000 signatures.
I would encourage anyone who has money owing to them from the airlines to call or email your MP.