WestJet denies refunds and holds passengers' money in "travel bank"

Mar 20 2020, 12:30 pm

Instead of fully refunding passengers with cancelled or altered flights as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, WestJet will be taking that money and transferring it into future travel credit in the form of a “Travel Bank,” according to the company’s website.

The virus has hindered travel of all kinds, and passengers have had no choice but to struggle against various airline suspensions, border closures, and travel advisories that are entirely out of their control.

The decision impacts a variety of travellers, including those who have chosen to cancel flights or who wish to make alternative travel arrangements because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Instead of receiving their money back, customers’ funds will be converted into WestJet dollars, which will be valid for two years.

“We are not processing refunds to original form of payment at this time,” the company explains on its website.

The airline recently announced the suspension of all commercial services for international and transborder flights as of Sunday, March 22, for 30 days to aid in relief efforts of repatriating Canadian citizens currently abroad.

WestJet also decreased the costs for remaining seats into Canada across all cabins.

The policy may not go over well with customers who do not frequently fly with the airline, as it puts them in a tight spot, especially if the only reason they purchased their tickets was because that specific flight was the best deal.

“Whether we are flying or not, we are always here for our guests,” the site explains further.

“During this downtime, we will be doing everything we can to accommodate your changing travel needs. We will also continue to ensure our aircraft meet the highest safety and health standards. We are ready to fly when you are.”