The country’s largest airline is ready for take-off, even if the advisory against non-essential travel remains in place for Canadians.
Air Canada has released a new summer flight schedule to nearly 100 cities in North America and globally, at a time when some economies begin to open up. Within Canada, the schedule will increase to 58 routes in June from 34 in May, with more to be added in August and September.
“As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, during which as much as 95 per cent 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,” says Air Canada executive vice-president and chief commercial officer, Lucie Guillemette.
The airline has also revised its cancellation policy amid mounting consumer frustration. If Air Canada cancels a flight due to COVID-19, travellers will be offered a voucher with no expiration date that is fully transferable. Alternatively, they can convert their booking into Aeroplan Miles with an additional 65 per cent bonus points. This means more choice and flexibility for rebooking flights should travel plans change, says the airline. However, only customers with refundable tickets are able to receive a refund.
Both options are retroactive for customers with original travel between March 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021.
Previously, customers with cancelled flights were offered travel vouchers valid for two years.
Air Canada customers whose flights had been cancelled due to the health emergency and who had already received travel credit valid for 24 months will be able to select one of the two new options on the airline’s website beginning June 15.
Since Jan. 1, 2020, Air Canada has refunded nearly $1 billion to customers.
Aside from the revised goodwill policy, the airline has introduced a comprehensive biosecurity program to ensure customers can book with confidence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Air Canada CleanCare+ works through multi-layered measures that limit unnecessary interactions, require the use of personal protective equipment and employ state-of-the-art cleaning techniques onboard our aircraft,” says Guillemette. “We have further committed to adopt new strategies and technologies as they become available.”