Refunds: Air Canada is the worst

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Travelers protesting Air Canada’s refund practices

So back in late-March and early April, I canceled a May trip to Spain, which involved flights on a bunch of different carriers, hotels, and the like. I talked about the process here.  Since then, I’ve canceled June and July trips involving American, Alaska, United, and Delta, and received refunds for all those of those trips.

I am *still* however waiting for the refund of about $60 in taxes from Air Canada for my Aeroplan award ticket for the flight home. Frustratingly, Air Canada provides no option to speak to anyone about this, and when I finally found an email address, they wrote back to me saying I needed to contact Aeroplan to cancel my flight– even though Aeroplan has repeatedly told me only Air Canada can refund the taxes, which is correct since Air Canada is the company that has collected the taxes.  My frustration really is heightened by the fact that Air Canada is taking ultra-aggressive stances in refusing to issue refunds to passengers more generally, including taking the legal position that the US DOT’s position is not binding because it was not issued through notice-and-comment rulemaking, which implicates my day job and is an oversimplification/misunderstanding of how administrative law works.

Here’s the tick-tock:
~3/27/20: Following the instructions on the Aeroplan site, I canceled my award flight from Malaga back to DC.4/7/20: I checked my Aeroplan account to see if the miles had been returned, but the reservation still showed as intact. So I called Aeroplan, and a representative canceled the reservation. The miles were restored to my account immediately. They said the taxes would be coming in 30 days.

5/6/20: Still no sign of the taxes. I called Aeroplan again. An agent investigated, and concluded that the refund request hadn’t been submitted properly. She submitted it, and I promptly received an email confirmation from Air Canada of the refund request, complete with a request number.

6/15/20: Zilch. I log into the Air Canada refund request website, which shows that my refund request is “open”, with a status date of “06/05/20”. I do not know whether that is mm/dd/yy or dd/mm/yy. Regardless, it hasn’t changed since.

6/30/20: I just want to know what’s going on. I try Air Canada’s phone tree several times, trying several options. But basically if you want anything to do with cancellations or refunds, they hang up on you and tell you to go to the website. On their website, if you try to submit anything about a cancellation or a refund, it just tells you to submit a refund request and wait.

7/12/20: I try calling Aeroplan, who tells me yes, the refund is requested, but it’s in Air Canada’s hands. I should just email Air Canada Customer Support.

7/15/20: I use a general customer support form on Air Canada’s website, including my ticket number and my refund request number.

7/16/20: I receive an email from Ann at Air Canada telling me I need to contact Aeroplan to cancel an Aeroplan mileage ticket. I promptly, sternly, write back saying this is not responsive.

7/19/20: I have not heard back from Air Canada. I am writing again.

While the fact it is taking 4 months is bad enough, Air Canada’s deliberate choice not to allow customers to speak to anyone is outrageous.

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