WestJet cancels flight but doesn't refund BC couple's package vacation

Jan 13 2023, 12:43 am

A BC couple spent hours on hold with WestJet because the airline cancelled their flight to Cuba but wouldn’t refund their $3,000 resort stay.

John and Beth Evans booked a vacation package with WestJet to an all-inclusive resort in Holguin, Cuba, for November 2022. They were supposed to meet relatives they hadn’t seen in years and were excited about the trip.

“I don’t know how they expected us to get there if they didn’t send us a plane,” John said. “I can’t walk to Cuba.”

About two hours before their flight was scheduled to depart Nanaimo on November 6, John received an email that it had been cancelled — and that he’d receive an updated itinerary within the hour.

But the hour came and went with no email, and he decided to phone WestJet for some answers. But after three hours on hold, his call was dropped.

“We’re sitting on pins and needles; we don’t know if we’re going or not,” he said.

The Qualicum Beach, BC, couple were finally able to get through to a WestJet agent the next morning. John asked if they could move the vacation to the following week, but the agent apparently said that wasn’t possible since the resort was fully booked.

John said he indicated he’d like to rebook, but the WestJet agent apparently suggested he cancel.

WestJet refunded the flight cost right away, but not the price of the all-inclusive resort — which totalled $2,930.

John said he’s spent between 12 and 14 hours on the phone with WestJet over the last two months, and the agents apparently say that since he cancelled the trip, he’s not eligible for a refund for the ground portion.

But John argues WestJet cancelled his vacation when the airline failed to fly him and his wife to Cuba.

“It’s wrong,” John said. “When they cancelled, I thought at least I’ll get my money back. And I was really, really shocked that it wasn’t easy. It should have been simple.”

WestJet apparently wouldn’t even accommodate John’s offer to be refunded in WestJet dollars instead of money. He also couldn’t get reimbursed through his credit card insurance.

Prior to this, the couple used a WestJet MasterCard to collect points for flights. They’ve now cancelled the card and vow they won’t fly with WestJet ever again.

Couple uses credit card chargeback for services not received

The story does have a happy ending though, because on January 12 John learned his credit card company accepted his chargeback request for services not delivered. WestJet still has 30 days to dispute the chargeback, but John doubts they’ll be able to provide adequate proof they delivered the service promised.

“What industry expects a consumer to pay for a product they don’t receive?” John said.

John applied for a chargeback through his credit card issuer, but advocate Gabor Lukacs who runs Air Passenger Rights says customers who aren’t successful via that route can also apply for a statutory chargeback — governed by provincial law as opposed to a bank’s own policies.

Daily Hive reached out to WestJet for comment but did not hear back before deadline.

Megan DevlinMegan Devlin

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