Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach wrote a letter to Transport Minister Marc Garneau on Thursday, May 28, 2020, urging him to require airlines to refund Canadian customers the cost of airfare tickets that have gone unused due to COVID-19.

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach urges feds to compensate airline passengers

Letter to transport minister touches on Northwest B.C. tourism operators impacted by COVID-19

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach is urging the federal government to require airlines to refund Canadian customers the cost of airfare tickets that have gone unused due to COVID-19, including tourism operators in Northwest B.C.

In a letter dated May 28, Bachrach wrote to Transport Minister Marc Garneau to express concern that Canadian airlines are refusing to refund the cost of purchased tickets.

“The decision to exempt cancellations due to COVID-19 and associated travel restrictions from the responsibilities of airlines under the Air Passenger Bill of Rights is deeply disappointing,” Bachrach wrote. “Your government should step in and require that airlines do the right thing by providing full refunds to customers.”

ALSO READ: Haida Gwaii couple frustrated after Air Canada cancels flight, denies compensation

Bachrach also wrote he had heard from “numerous constituents whose travel plans have been cancelled and who have been left with little hope that they will ever see their money.”

“The 12-month credit many airlines are offering is of little help for people who feel uncomfortable about the risks of travelling again before a vaccine is available,” he wrote. “I have also heard specific concerns from tourism operators in our region who purchased bulk airline tickets for their customers ahead of the tourism season. Many of these are local small business owners who welcome visitors from around the world to enjoy the world-class sport fishing, outdoor activities and wildlife watching for which Northwest B.C. is renowned.

“At a time when small businesses — especially those involved in tourism — are really hurting, the money being held by airlines that operators are no longer able to access is only serving to make things more challenging.”

In a Facebook post on May 29, Bachrach added that in some cases, tourism operators in Northwest B.C. are out “tens of thousands of dollars.”

ALSO READ: Canadians’ frustration mounts over lack of refunds for flights cancelled during pandemic

Earlier this month, petitions with tens of thousands of signatures calling for full refunds to be implemented before financial aid is handed out to airlines were circulating across the country and presented to the House of Commons.

None of Canada’s major airlines were offering to return cash to passengers for the hundreds of thousands of flight cancellations since mid-March, opting instead for 24-month vouchers.

On May 23, amid mounting customer frustration, Air Canada revised its cancellation policy to offer travellers the option of a voucher with no expiration date or Aeroplan points if the airline cancels their flight due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The airline says the new policy — the previous one capped travel vouchers at 24 months, with no Aeroplan option — applies to non-refundable tickets issued up to the end of June, with an original travel date between March 1 and June 30.

— With files from The Canadian Press

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

Overall house sales drop in the northwest

COVID-19 pandemic slowed market activity

B.C. orders Coastal GasLink to stop pipeline construction near protected wetlands

The 670-kilometre pipeline is planned to transport natural gas from northeast B.C. to Kitimat

Vancouver man hit by a semi-tractor trailer near Burns Lake

The injured man is in critical condition

Would St. John’s Heritage Church in Burns Lake ever be reopened?

Council to revisit the matter with a letter from Michael Riis-Christianson

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

B.C. residents can go to the Royal BC Museum for half price this summer

Museum reopening in phases, COVID-19 measures in place

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

Conservation officers relocate Spirit bear known to roam northwestern B.C.

Bear roamed valley north of Terrace for many years

B.C. premier applauds call to decriminalize drug possession

Police shouldn’t struggle with health issues, Horgan says

Most Read