Frustrations are mounting as travellers across B.C. continue to wait for plane ticket refunds, for some almost a year after flights were cancelled by the airline due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Kelowna frontline health care worker is one of many battling an airline to request a refund and after months without answers is speaking out. The health care worker, who asked to remain anonymous due to fear of compromising her job, has been trying to get a refund on her WestJet plane ticket since March 2020.
In early 2020, she bought a ticket from Kelowna to Edmonton, to see her children. In March, a month and a half before she was scheduled to depart, WestJet informed her that her flight was cancelled due to the spread of a deadly virus taking the world by storm. While she asked for a refund, she was instead offered a two-year credit on her $300 ticket.
“All these people are keeping these airlines open, with people’s hard-earned money. They’re still able to keep their airlines open when all these other businesses are going under because they don’t have the proper money. Well, I think that’s incredibly unfair,” she said on Jan. 14.
She recently reached out again to the flight company, to request a refund on her ticket. Amid the pandemic, she has no use for the credit and has no plans to fly anywhere.
If she did fly, the woman explained she would be faced with a mandatory two-week quarantine, without pay, upon her return. The woman has plans to retire later this year and is saving all the money she can.
Had she cancelled the flight on her own accord, she says she would have accepted her losses. However, since this was out of her control, she believes she is owed her money in full.
In response to a request for comment, WestJet did not address the specific incident and instead pointed to its policies surrounding refunds.
The company explained it has, “consistently provided guests with options when their travel has been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis,” and that “eligible” guests have been receiving refunds.
WestJet confirmed guests are offered two-year credits when their flight is cancelled. In October, the company announced it would begin providing refunds to “eligible” guests if WestJet cancelled the flight.
But, according to WestJet, these refunds can take up to nine months to process.
“We remain focused on expediting refunds as promptly as possible,” stated the company in an email.
When asked what defines someone as being ‘eligible’ for a refund and further clarification on this specific incident, the company did not respond.
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