Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Maybe we shouldn't get refunds for our cancelled flights

Canadian MPs and others continue to call for Canadian airlines to repay customers who had flights cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
We are some of those customers, and we had to cancel several flights with three different airlines for two separate trips that we had planned and booked. After jumping through a bunch of hoops, we have eventually managed to get credits for all of the cancelled flights, and either credits or refunds for all the accommondations we had booked, so we were actually feeling pretty pleased with ourselves.
But many people say that they are not likely to to be able to re-book trips any time soon, so they should get a full refund of their money, not just a credit. They argue that airlines still have plenty of cash and are able to repay cancelled bookings (I don't know about the internal finances of aviation companies, but my impression was that most of them were teetering on the brink of bankruptcy), and that most European and American airlines have been pressured by their governments into full repayments, so who is Canada to buck the trend?
Except, I am not even convinced that we should get our money back. Yes, it's annoying and inconvenient, but, in 99% of cases, people who are in a position to book airflights are probably in a position to stand to have their money sit on ice for a while longer. Plus, most people who had flights cancelled were actually unwilling to fly during a pandemic anyway - I know we breathed a palpable sigh of relief when our flights were officially cancelled - so it was pretty much a joint decision, and not just something foisted on us by some feckless airline.
With that in mind, maybe a credit is the better option. That way, there might actually be an airline still in business when we do want to fly again.

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