What to do if COVID-19 cancels your flight
The growing number of COVID-19 cases and extreme weather conditions have resulted in dozens of recent flight cancellations and delays in Canada and abroad. Unfortunately for Canadian travelers, instead of meal vouchers, hotel stays, or financial compensation, the most they can usually expect from their airline is a new flight or a refund.
“You really owe it to the airlines for how quickly they can get you home,” Martin Firestone, president of Travel Secure, a Toronto-based travel insurance brokerage, told CTVNews.ca during ‘a telephone interview.
Firestone says traditional travel insurance has not covered these type of flight disruptions since March 2020, when the world began to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Summary: Insurance won’t be your savior on this one when it comes to covering hotel costs, meals or anything like that if your flight is canceled,” he explained. “That is problematic.”
According to Canada’s Air Passenger Protection Regulations, if a flight to, from or within Canada is canceled or delayed for reasons beyond the control of an airline (such as a shortage of personnel due to to COVID-19), you are entitled to a new reservation or a refund if the passenger decides not to travel.
In July 2021, Ottawa also proposed new rules to require reimbursement for canceled flights.
If a delay or cancellation is under their control, airlines are obligated to provide things like hotel stays and money for personal expenses, although it never hurts to ask. kindly an extra help when talking to an airline representative.
There are a few more things you can do to make your life easier if you need to travel now, such as checking your flight status before you go to the airport and, if necessary, rebooking with your airline. air as soon as possible. When planning your trip, you may also want to consider purchasing additional travel insurance if you test positive for COVID-19 while you are away, which can provide funds to help offset hotel and flight costs.
If you’re willing to postpone or cancel your trip and wait for the Omicron wave, many airlines such as Air Canada and WestJet are currently waiving some change and cancellation penalties, but be sure to check the policies of your airline.
If you find yourself stuck at an airport, on a customer service line, or on a call that lasts several hours waiting for someone to help you, Firestone says you should always “be patient.”
“Three hours is not abnormal to wait for information on the next flight,” he said. “If you come in with an aggressive stance, you won’t get very far.”
That being said, complaints about how an airline has handled a delay or cancellation can be filed with the Canadian Transportation Agency. Passenger rights attorney Gabor Lukacs has said that you can also challenge an airline’s explanation for a delay or cancellation in small claims court.
“In practical terms, there is nothing else to force airlines to comply with the law and respect your rights as a passenger,” he told CTVNews.ca. “The airline can say it was COVID-19, but if they can’t prove it, the airline will have to pay compensation.”