Air Canada gives customers more options for cancelled flights amid coronavirus pandemic

Air Canada has announced new options for those looking to change their travel plans amid COVID-19, as well as those whose flights have been cancelled due to the pandemic.

Bookings made by June 30 for travel between March 1 and the end of June next year can be changed without fees, the airline said Friday.

In the case of cancelled flights, or customers wanting to cancel their travel, those with non-refundable tickets have two new options — a voucher that is transferable and has no expiry date, or the ability to purchase Aeroplan miles and receive 65 per cent more compared to the usual price.

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Those with refundable tickets have the choice of a refund, along with the other two options.

The announcement comes amid growing calls for Canadian airlines to issue full refunds to all of those affected by coronavirus-related travel cancellations. Critics are asking the federal government, which regulates the industry, to force the airlines to pay back customers.

Air Canada says it has refunded nearly $1 billion to customers so far.

On Friday, Air Canada also announced its summer schedule with 97 destinations — less than half of those offered last year.

The airline is resuming flights to six U.S. destinations as of Friday, and service within Canada will ramp up from 34 routes to 58 in June. Air Canada said it plans to fly to more European destinations in June and July, and with regulatory approval, resume flights from Vancouver to Shanghai, China.

Last week, the airline announced it would be laying off roughly 20,000 employees because the pandemic has reduced its business by 95 per cent.

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