The refund of the passengers, a question of fairness

Le remboursement des passagers, une question d’équité

Photo: Graham Hughes The canadian Press
Air Canada has relaxed its cancellation policy and offer vouchers with no expiry date, compared to the previous limit of 24 months.

The pandemic and its consequences in terms of financial losses on companies in the aviation sector should not be used as an argument to justify that the carriers avoid offer refunds in cash to travellers whose flights were cancelled, said Thursday the director of the international Observatory of the aeronautics and civil aviation, attached to the School of management sciences of UQAM.

If it is true that carriers need help to get through the crisis, said Mehran Ebrahimi during a presentation broadcast by the Observatory, the passengers are penalized in various ways, on the one hand because they are unable to touch their money, and secondly because the measures of help available to companies, such as the wage subsidy comes from the public finances. These customers are ” triply disadvantaged “, because they have also ” taken the risk to buy tickets in advance to benefit from a certain reduction of prices “.

I insist on the idea that it is necessary to help the airlines through the crisis, and it is the role of the State to do so. This is not the role of passengers.

— Mehran Ebrahimi

 

The pressure from consumers who want a refund, shows no sign of relief, and also seeks the Trudeau government, to which passengers ask to intervene on a firm basis with air carriers. Air Canada, for example, has relaxed its cancellation policy and offer vouchers with no expiry date, compared to the previous limit of 24 months. But the courts have received requests for approval of class action against various carriers, including Air Canada, Transat, and WestJet.

“You can’t take the crisis as a pretext, saying, “our situation is dangerous, our cash is melting like snow in the sun, one gives oneself, given that there is no legal framework is very clear compared to it, the right to keep the money and offer these people the possibility to travel in accordance with our conditions of business”, said Mr Ebrahimi.

“The core problem that this strategy poses is that one is in a situation where they are asked to the passengers, to the detriment of a service that they did not have to fund the airline. I insist on the idea that it is necessary to help the airlines through the crisis, and it is the role of the State to do so. This is not the role of passengers, ” according to the professor. “The crisis has hit the airlines, unfortunately, but the same crisis has hit citizens. […] Why we should not give the same importance to the deterioration of the economic situation of citizens in relation to the crisis, by the same measures as those to the airlines ? We can’t take passengers as hostages, since they have already paid. “

Moreover, the movement in favor of a refund coalise. Six associations for the defence of consumer rights, including Option consommateurs, the consumers Union, passengers ‘Rights and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, have called on Thursday the prime minister Justin Trudeau and the liberal members of parliament to intervene “as of now” to force refunds given the financial situation of the household.

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