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Calgary travellers are ready to soar – but destinations are limited

Calgarian Peggy Sippel said her fight to Spain was cancelled and the airline didn’t even notify her.

Many airlines are expected to resume international flights next month, but not all destinations are on the map.

Sippel and her family were planning on visiting Spain in August, but two days ago her husband went onto Air Transat‘s website and saw that flights to Spain have been suspended until next year.  

“No one informed us. Now we have to cancel our house that we booked through HomeAway and deal with the fights,” said Sippel. 

We attempted to contact Air Transat via email and by phone to confirm how they were handling communication about flight cancellations. We have not yet received a response.

An Air Transat media release dated June 11, stated that they would be suspending travel to many destinations, including Spain, until the end of the summer season.

Sippel said she booked the trip six months ago and is now worried that she’ll lose all her money.

She said they already paid $800 Euros for a house in Spain and after having to cancel it yesterday, they are only getting $200 back. 

Flights are available, but locations are limited

On June 11, Air Transat announced the resumption of certain flights as soon as July 23. 

The airline said they would be flying to select countries in Europe as well as limited in cities in the US. 

Air Transat Twitter post / Screenshot

Air Transat’s site shows that flights to Spain will not be available until May of 2021.

WestJet‘s site shows flights to Barcelona, Spain will be available as of August 7, 2020. So far Air Canada shows no flights to Spain this summer. 

Sippel said they booked their flights through a travel agency who advised them to contact Air Transat directly in order to get a refund or credit. 

According to Air Transat’s website, people who want a refund, not a credit, are required to contact their insurance companies.

“The travel agency said to call Air Transat who said to call our insurance company. I have to call everybody just to figure out what’s going on,” said Sippel. 

A credit voucher isn’t what people want

Sippel isn’t alone in her frustration. Many people on Twitter have been asking the airlines for a refund, not a credit.

She said the airline already has $6,000 from her family and a travel credit just won’t do. 

“Some families save all year for a vacation and now they end up with nothing,” said Sippel.

Many of the large airlines such as WestJet and Air Canada have been strict on their return policy, only giving customers back a credit to use within a certain time frame.

Some companies like Easy Jet and Norwegian have granted some refunds.

Rada Stanojevic was supposed to fly to Serbia in April, but decided to cancel her trip due to COVID-19.

She said she booked her trip through Vensma Travel Ltd., a Vancouver based company that she’s used in the past. 

“I sent them [Vensma] an email about cancellation and within three weeks I had my money back,” said Stanojevic. 

Airlines ‘causing a lot of trust issues’

Despite some positive outcomes, the many people are angry and frustrated with the airline industry.  

Sippel said she doesn’t think it’s right taking people’s money and she will remember this in the future.

“They’re causing a lot of trust issues. People won’t trust them now. I don’t trust them now,” she said. 

Stanojevic, who was supposed to fly via Air Serbia said she feels extremely lucky with how things turned out.

“Everybody was really surprised. When I talked to my friends nobody believed me that I got my money back,” she said.

She said the company didn’t even offer a voucher, she asked for her money back and she got it.

Airlines are gearing up to fly again starting next month, but it’s clear that people need to be aware of the risks when booking.

Both Air Canada and WestJet are offering flexible tickets which means flights booked prior to June 30, can be changed for free. 

Customers should note that credit vouchers are likely the only option if their flights are cancelled due to re-closure of air travel.