Air Canada says no, then gives customer credit after booking error

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When you make a mistake with an airline booking will they help?
WATCH: When you make a mistake with an airline booking will they help? – Jan 20, 2023

Call it a case of the flipped flights.

Phil and Marsha Rehel thought they were going one way, but the Air Canada booking they made was in the opposite direction of what they wanted.

“We only have Air Canada in Sudbury so we decided to book Air Canada from Sudbury to Toronto,” said Phil, describing that he and his wife would be connecting on another carrier to spend a month in the south after arriving at Toronto Pearson International Airport.

The cost for the two Air Canada fares was about $820.

Although they are experienced travellers familiar with booking flights online, Phil and his wife realized a few days later that something was wrong.

They had inadvertently reversed the order of the booking, which was from Toronto to Sudbury, instead of the other way around. They admitted they had made a mistake.

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Although they held non-refundable flights, Phil explained to an Air Canada agent on the telephone that they still wanted to fly in the right direction.

“The (outgoing) plane was still three-quarters empty. We felt there was a lot of room for them to make that change,” said Phil.

The answer was no.

“This is what we get for a simple mistake and we’re not alone,” said Phil.

He and his wife had the means to book a replacement flight at an additional cost, but he says other travellers may not be so fortunate.

Considering all the flight delays, cancellations, missing bags and lost luggage over the Christmas period, Phil wonders why Air Canada wouldn’t use its discretion to make small changes, when possible.

He says the couple would have paid a fee to switch the flights, but didn’t have an opportunity.

“A month later and they (Air Canada) learned nothing, absolutely nothing,” said Phil, referring to the December delays and cancellations.

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Airlines aren’t obligated to make exceptions or go beyond the terms and conditions associated with a particular fare category.

Contacted by Global News, an Air Canada spokesperson said the Rehels booked the least expensive fares which were not refundable.

“We do advise customers to carefully review their trip information when purchasing. Beyond that, all customers, after they buy any fare type, have up to 24 hours to cancel the booking to get a full refund,” the spokesperson said.

The airline advises that fliers especially pay attention to fares that are not refundable.

However, Air Canada agreed to review the Rehels’ case and, on a good-will basis, refunded the full outstanding amount of their fares in the form of a flight credit after Global News brought the case to their attention.

“We feel great,” said Phil, who says the couple will use the credit on a flight later this year.

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