Did coronavirus cancel your travel plans? Here’s how to get your money back 


Under normal circumstances, the Canadian Transportation Agency’s Air Passenger Protection Regulations require airlines to refund your airfare, plus an inconvenience fee, if your flight is cancelled for a reason that’s within the airline’s control—for example, consolidating two flights into one for the sake of efficiency.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic is happening outside anyone’s control, and while the CTA is still your go-to resource in the case of a dispute with an airline, its website states:

“On the one hand, passengers who have no prospect of completing their planned itineraries with an airline’s assistance should not simply be out-of-pocket for the cost of cancelled flights. On the other hand, airlines facing huge drops in passenger volumes and revenues should not be expected to take steps that could threaten their economic viability.

“While any specific situation brought before the CTA will be examined on its merits, the CTA believes that, generally speaking, an appropriate approach in the current context could be for airlines to provide affected passengers with vouchers or credits for future travel, as long as these vouchers or credits do not expire in an unreasonably short period of time (24 months would be considered reasonable in most cases).

“The CTA will continue to provide information, guidance, and services to passengers and airlines as we make our way through this challenging period.”

Accommodation

As with air travel, hotels’ and other accommodations’ policies on cancellations, rescheduling and refunds vary. Reports indicate that most places are issuing refunds and closing down until further notice. In fact, people I spoke to who had a trip booked in the next few weeks told me that their hotel cancelled on them, so there was no action needed on their part.

If your hotel doesn’t make the first move to cancel, it is advisable to call them as much in advance of your planned stay as you can to let them know that your flight was cancelled and that you won’t be able to travel. Always be polite and friendly when you get a representative on the phone; that will increase your chances for a refund and great treatment in return.

If you made hotel reservations through Booking.com, start by contacting the property you booked with directly, to see if they can set you up with a refund, or give you a credit to use at a later date; Booking.com requests that you try going this route as a first step. However, if you don’t have any luck dealing directly with the hotel, reach out to the Booking.com Help Center online. (I’ve had several problems with properties I reserved on Booking.com in the past, and when there were misunderstandings, concerns or issues, Booking.com’s customer service team always helped to resolve them.)



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