Scott Friars, Westjet, Halifax discussed on The Current
Three days to get results of the test. That's just a recipe for allowing any cases to spread like wildfire. And I think that's what people in the province should fear most shouldn't fear a bunch of kids sitting in the park. Drink Andre Great to speak with you as always thank you thank you. Andre Picard is the Global Mail health columnist and a regular part of our ongoing cove nineteen coverage here at the current. This is the current on. Cbc Radio One. My Name's Matt Galloway. The airlines are essentially taking interest free loans from Canadians. Eight feels completely unjust. Like the airlines are taking people as fools. I feel completely disgusted and disheartened by this whole experience. Canadians want their money back from airlines for trips that were canceled by covid. Nineteen Prime Minister says the federal government is now looking into the airline refund policy. We need to have some very careful. Discussions with airlines With the air travel sector and indeed with Canadians Who are concerned to try and figure out a way forward where we can ensure that Canadians are treated fairly and our airline industry remains there for when our economy picks up again. It's a tricky balance for the prime minister may be for many Canadians though. The answer is pretty simple. Pay Up Scott. Friars family holiday to France was recently cancelled by Westjet. He's been struggling to get a refund. He is in Halifax Scott Good Morning. Good morning thanks for having me. Thanks for joining. Us just briefly. Tell me about the trip that you had planned. What were you GONNA do? We had a great family trip plan which goes from. Halifax here to To Paris. And we're GONNA Torun France for a few weeks and Unfortunately like teams are our plans were scuttled and We now have. We thought that we would Have our refunds properly cross unfortunately We've been offered a thirteen month. Restrictive Voucher by airmails. Not Not Twenty four months. Kind like what's widely reported and so yes we're kind of stuck Yeah so the trip cancellation policies reimburse as long as they travel out with an offer. So it's like Why Canadians in the left in the Lurch with With and this is something that you've been planning for a long time it had saved up for right and you're using points and also paying for it yes. Way Malls works. We will use almost twenty thousand miles which which takes many years to save up we We paid around fourteen hundred dollars in taxes and fees and saving up. Say for the best part of the year for that and unfortunately Yeah just kind of left in the works I mean. I do sympathize with the travel industry crisis. I mean it's you know it is Very bad thing But it's not. It's not really. Marg responsiblity as a customer to provide financial systems to to corporations. What did westjet offer you just to be clear when when the trump was canceled? What do they offer you Air Miles has offered us a thirteen month Restrictive travel voucher anywhere. That that West get will fly but has to be booked by February so with all the currents Non-essential travel ban some probably future non-essential. Travel bans. I. It's virtually worthless to us. I mean it's. It's very difficult to book a trip when there's a non essential travel ban and they have a thirteen month timeframe on this is just not. It's totally unacceptable now. There's talk as you said that this would be a twenty four month Travel though you're only being offered you say thirteen months. You have to use it within thirteen months and not kind of a problem. What do people like myself? Who booked through travel and she said been kind of left in the Lurch share? Maybe perhaps if book with West Chad or Eric Cantor or one of the airlines themselves. They offer better about voter but through third party. You know like expedient places like that a lot of us from what. I'M READING OUR OFFER. Like a one year travel credit which I think with the current crisis is not realistic at all. And there's no refund at the end of it is basically use it or lose if You know we could use this doctor for. Let's say a trip to Toronto. And they're all they're mostly save get used on one trip to Toronto Alexa. So it's totally unfair like there's no standards with the with the lack of regulation. We're actually the government overrode the current regulations. And now there's no standard. Canadians are just left. Basically with nowhere to turn and our regulator completely. Let us down by by Doing me at this whole this whole voucher. We got a statement from air miles. Which part reads if the airline ticket was booked and his non-refundable trans-border International Flight? That's been suspended. The collector that would be you will receive the value of the trip in the form of a travel credit. If the flight booked is refundable with or without penalties we will work with the provider to refund the value of your flight. Does that sit at all with you? Well I mean the product with a refundable ticket. I don't really know anybody who really buys refundable airline tickets like everybody just buys airline because they cost a lot more. If you want the full refund you have to pay a whole lot more to get that full. Never even heard such thing like most people have emergency trip cancellation and emergency medical coverage which which we had and when this happened I just assume that that will kick in as the airline themselves canceled the flight not us an I naively thought that. Oh it's it's you know it's not great but we will get malls back and our and our and our money has hit Li- again as Westjet said anything to you about this Westjet hands off their malls. They they say you purchase your ticket through the ear. Malls Travel Group and You have to talk to them. Ever malls tells us they're following West jets non-refundable policy. So we're we're really stuck as a lot of people are and I mean what you know. Like the regulation is is very clear that the customer has a request to refund. And if I mean I could perhaps be offered a votre. They could incentivize travel. Voters make more trackers to increase the uptake. Perhaps but the the right to a refund is is in the current regulations and regulations have not changed. Just before I let you go. Do you understand why I guess airlines would be reluctant to refund the money that if they refunded? Everybody's money for all the tickets that were paid there would be no airline at the end of that and I do understand that Airline Industries. I think they need to be supported in a different way. Perhaps like say that's that's not the customers responsibility to To provide involuntary financial system to a multibillion dollar profitable corporation. I mean these are huge huge firms. And say you know with this was the auto industry and I put a down payment on a truck and then Ford or whoever has financial problems? It's I'm sorry Mr Friars here's a here's a twenty four month non refundable voucher and we hope to get your talk to you. It would be totally unacceptable. And for some reason that's what's happening here and And customers are being told. Oh well you know. The industry is in trouble. Just work with them. It's like well. The regulations are clear. Perhaps if they gave The option like say to incentivize voucher or or for voter works for me. That's crazy. Yeltsin may not good luck and I appreciate. You brought us to tell us about this so I appreciate you getting in touch and we'll follow this along. Scott thank you well. That's great. Thank you very much that and take care and you Scott Friars joined us from Halifax we did contact both Westjet. And as I mentioned we've got that statement from air we did not hear back from Westjet Gabor. Lucaci has been listening in. He's the founder of the Canadian this advocacy group air passenger rights. He is also in Halifax this morning. Gabor good morning to you morning. Scott says that the regulations are clear. What is Canadian law? Say around voters getting your money back if you buy a ticket and your flight is canceled. What are you owed if the airline castles your flight for whatever reason you are old area fun to the original form of payment. This has been established for the past sixteen years. So what do you make of? What Scott's being told them that he says he was punted by Westchester to air miles air. Miles says we'll give you a voucher. There's questions to how long that voucher will be good for but you don't get your money back. Get a veteran standard. Unfortunately Canadian airlines are breaking the law. They are in practical terms trying to steal the public's money that money does not belong to the airlines. It is an unearned revenue and as such. It is has the same status as my neighbors car standing Next to a house. Yes it's next to my house but it's still not mine. Therein is are trying to take this money not because they would necessarily go bankrupt if they had to return. I think what you stated before was not quite correct mad and you're looking at Air Canada. They have liquidity of over five billion dollars. They understand and they owe to the public about two point. Six billion dollars. So even if they're funded everything they were still having two point. Four billion dollars available but this is really a cheaper way for them to get financing an easier way to get financing. What about the voucher? What's wrong with a votre even if there's a time limit on that voucher of twenty four months? What's what's wrong with a voucher. You cannot use it to buy groceries to pay bills or to pay taxes. The law says that their lives have to provide cash if vouchers were as good as cash and is going to be giving you cash. Obviously they're giving you vouchers because it is less valuable in terms of pastures prudence. The it was held that three dollars vouchers into one dollar in cash. So there's a one two three ratio which was found to be an adequate Cleveland even then it's quite clear that case though that if about as provided a passenger has to proactively agree to it it cannot be imposed on passengers at. I apologise maybe. I don't understand this. But if the law is as clear as you say it is and there's no fine print to the bottom of the page that. I perhaps didn't read after I bought the ticket. How is it that the can get away with not giving Scott his money back? Because currently federal regulator is clearly a very cozy with airlines issued that non-binding statement on their website somewhat. Endorsing this practice. We don't any real legal basis and there's no accountability other than perhaps through the media in terms of the legal side. They are already to class actions against five Canadian. Airlines whining Quebec in federal court. The whole there is accountable for the money that they have taken in have refused to refund so it.