Air Canada unveils new summer schedule with flexible refund options

May 25 2020, 7:06 pm

Air Canada is offering nearly 100 routes to destinations across the country as well as locations in the United States and across the globe with a condensed schedule for summer 2020.

To ensure that travellers feel comfortable when booking future trips given the current global pandemic, the airline has created the Air Canada ClearCare+ biosecurity program. It is also providing cancellation options to provide greater flexibility should they need to alter their plans for any given reason.

“As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, during which as much as 95% of our flights stopped operating and which has left us flying to less than half last year’s destinations, our customers are expressing their eagerness to travel, where it is safe to do so,” Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Lucie Guillemette said in a press release.

“Air Canada is ready for take-off, and we look forward to welcoming our customers on board.”

The company is gradually opening sales for summer flights as well as later into the year as it continues to recover from losses incurred by the pandemic and leverage its position as a global airline.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the airline has been required to alter its selling schedule for Summer 2020. As part of these changes, it is offering 97 destinations rather than the 220 that was supplied in 2019.

For destinations in Canada, the schedule is set to increase from the 34 routes in May to 58 routes in June. More locations will be provided in August and September as well.

Additionally, Air Canada also amended its schedule through the end of July with some services set to resume to destinations in the United States, Caribbean, South American, European, and the Pacific.

In congruence with current air travel policies regarding Canadians participating in transborder travel to the United States, Air Canada will also reopen travel opportunities to the US on May 22, the release explains. As part of this initiative, six destinations will be provided by May 25, including New York-LaGuardia, Washington-Dulles, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, and Chicago.

As well, there are preliminary plans to implement even more flights to the US starting June 22, on the condition that it is approved by health and governmental authorities and that the demand is there.

From an international standpoint, Air Canada will maintain its operations from main hub locations to “key global destinations” in June, which includes flights from Toronto to Frankfurt, London, Zurich, Tokyo, and Telaviv. It will also include flights from Montreal to Frankfurt, London, Paris, and Brussells and flights from Vancouver to London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Seoul.

Service to international destinations will extend further beginning in June and early July, including flights from Montreal to Athens, Rome, and Geneva. Flights from Toronto to Munich, Lisbon, Amsterdam, and Athens will also be provided as well as flights from Calgary to Frankfurt. As well, if it receives governmental approval, flights from Vancouver to Shanghai will also be supplied.

To further promote the policy of flexibility, Air Canada is implementing two new systems to ease the minds of passengers should their plans change last minute.

Under the airline’s amended “goodwill policy,” new bookings established up to June 30 can be altered without incurring any fees for trips with original travel dates between March 1 and June 30.

In instances where Air Canada cancels flights as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, passengers with refundable tickets will maintain their right to receive a refund.

“Since January 1, 2020, Air Canada has refunded nearly $1 billion to customers,” the release states.

On top of the regular goodwill policies, beginning June 1, the airline will provide customers with the option of travel vouchers with “no expiry date that is fully transferable” or to convert their booking into Aeroplan Miles with the added incentive of an extra 65% bonus miles. Customers with both refundable and non-refundable tickets will be able to select from these two options.

For changes that are made on a voluntary basis, passengers holding refundable tickets will remain able to receive a refund, or choose from the previously mentioned two options.

Those in possession of non-refundable tickets who choose to make voluntary alterations regarding tickets distributed up to June 30, 2020, with an original travel date between March 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021, will have the opportunity to select from the two new options.

Finally, the updated goodwill policies and cancellation choices are retroactive for those with travel plans between March 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021.

This means that customers who had flights that were cancelled due to coronavirus-related reasons can choose from one of the appropriate options based on their fair through the Air Canada website starting June 15, the release explains.

For more details regarding Air Canada’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as updated policies surrounding cleaning and hygiene practices and goodwill programs, visit the airline’s website.

Emily RumballEmily Rumball

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