After Air Canada on Monday announced that it had agreed to start paying refunds from trips cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Air Canada Vacations followed suit shortly after.
Air Canada Vacations said on Monday that it would start accepting and processing refund requests from eligible customers whose vacations were cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic immediately.
The policy now covers trips cancelled either by ACV or by the customer. Refund requests can be made for any reason if the booking was made before April 13, 2021, for travel on or after Feb. 1, 2020.
Refund requests can also be made if the consumer had already opted for a travel credit—ACV says that it will refund the residual value of the future travel credit. If consumers want to keep their future travel credit, no action will be required.
No travel advisor commissions will be recalled, either, once refunds are processed.
According to ACV, refunds could take time as there is a significant amount of refunds ready to process.
“We're working hard to process incoming requests as quickly as possible. Due to the high volume of requests, files will only be processed through the online form above, in the order in which they are received. Once you've submitted your request, there's no additional action needed on your end,” ACV said.
Travel advisors looking to submit a refund can go to ACV’s new refund page here.
On Monday, the Association of Canadian Travel Agents (ACTA) applauded the announcement of a new relief package from the federal government, targeted at Air Canada, which included specific provisions to protect travel advisor commissions. That announcement has led to today's announcement by ACV.
The deal provides Air Canada with a financial package that will give the carrier up to $5.8 CAD billion in liquidity, mostly in repayable loans with a $500 CAD million equity stake in the airline going to the government. As part of the deal, Air Canada has agreed to pay refunds starting on April 13 for passengers who had non-refundable tickets but could not travel because of COVID.
For ACTA, which had been working closely with Canada’s Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Transport teams over the past several months, the biggest part of the bill comes from the commission protections.
“Our messages have been heard!” ACTA president Wendy Paradis said. “We are very pleased that the government has heard our messages loud and clear about commission recalls—and that it has recognized the integral and important role that travel agents play in the industry.”
“We were also very pleased to learn in a conversation with the Ministry of Transport, that commissions will be protected on both flights and tour packages,” she added.