The return of scheduled flights into and out of the Smithers has been pushed back once again, but Air Canada is not offering refunds. (File photo)

Air Canada won’t refund cash for fares

Airlines says they will offer credits and bonus points for non-refundable tickets

As Air Canada continues to blame the ongoing health pandemic for again delaying its return of scheduled flights into and out of Smithers, travellers are left in limbo.

Air Canada and Central Mountain Air suspended all their flights into YYD mid-March because of the coronovirus. The suspension applied to both incoming and outgoing flights.

Air Canada redirected all passengers through the Northwest Regional Airport in Terrace (YXT).

However, the airline was supposed to resume their flights into YYD on July 1 before bumping that to Aug. 1 and now has delayed their comeback until Aug. 23 leaving people who had booked flights with limited options.

According to the airline’s media team, Air Canada provides refund options to customers holding refundable tickets as per those fares’ terms and conditions. Customers holding non-refundable tickets are offered the choice of a travel credit with no expiry date that is fully transferable or to convert their booking into Aeroplan Miles and get an additional 65 per cent bonus miles.

Meanwhile, Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach is urging the federal government to require airlines to refund Canadian customers the cost of airfare tickets that have gone unused due to COVID-19, including tourism operators in Northwest B.C.

“The decision to exempt cancellations due to COVID-19 and associated travel restrictions from the responsibilities of airlines under the Air Passenger Bill of Rights is deeply disappointing,” Bachrach wrote to Transport Minister Marc Garneau. “Your government should step in and require that airlines do the right thing by providing full refunds to customers.”

-with files from Karissa Gall.

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