It took three attempts, but I finally got my online request for a refund from Air Canada to be accepted into their system. The first two times, that little wheel kept turning backwards and finally kicked me out. The third time, though, I got through and felt as though I had won a lottery prize.
The reason I made this request is that I have, in effect, paid three times for my flight back from San Jose to Edmonton.
My original booking was made as part of a round trip and I was scheduled to return on May 14. When the COVID-19 appeared and Canadians started to return from all corners of the globe, I cancelled that flight and requested credit on my account with Air Canada.
Then I booked a flight out on March 20, expecting the credit to be used. That did not happen. Instead, my credit card was billed. I expect that was because they have not had time to process all the cancellations, bookings, and credits during the deluge of changes being made.
The day before that flight, however, Air Canada cancelled it and said they would email me with instructions on what to do next. They were cancelling a lot of flights because non-essential travel was not being permitted and only citizens and permanent residents could get in beyond that date. Added to which, Californians were told to stay home for at least two weeks.
I did not hear from Air Canada again so, after waiting for them for a few hours, I went online again and was able to book on to a flight leaving later on March 20. Again, my credit card was billed.
When I got to the airport the next day, it was almost empty. It felt eery; like a sci-fi film about an apocalyptic event. I still had not heard back from Air Canada, so I was glad I had booked a seat. As it turned out, there were lots of available seats, but I didn’t know that when I booked.
While I was at the airport waiting for the check-in counter to open, another woman arrived in a bit of a tizzy. She had been through a similar experience but didn’t have a seat and wanted to make sure she could get on the plane. She was reassured by the clerk and was given a seat.
It wasn’t until after I got home that I discovered Air Canada had also booked me a seat on that plane so, in theory, I had two seats. I hope they didn’t use my credit with them to pay for that since I had also paid for the same flight.
Anyway, now I have paid three times for the same journey and all three amounts show up on my credit card list of transactions. I have yet to hear whether or not I have a credit with Air Canada.
Yesterday I tried to request a refund by using Air Canada’s online refund form. The first time they made me go back and give myself a courtesy title. I don’t use one, but I had to choose, so I chose “Ms.” After that, though, the Captcha security thing wouldn’t work so the whole form was wasted. That is frustrating because it took a while to complete. I had three ten-digit ticket numbers to include and a couple of paragraphs of explanation, in addition to all the usual personal information.
The second time I managed to complete the form, but when I tried to submit it the little wheel kept turning until it decided to quit. It didn’t go through.
Today, a Sunday, I thought I might have more luck by trying to submit it first thing in the morning. I don’t know if it was because it was Sunday or because it was early in the day, but I was finally able to get the form accepted by the system. They tell me it normally takes at least six weeks to get a response. Under the circumstances, no doubt it will take longer than that.
I’m glad I have good credit and lots of room on my credit card to carry these costs. I don’t know what I would have done otherwise. There are still people out in the world trying to get back to their home countries while airlines are canceling flights. I hope they all manage to get home somehow, and I hope they all have good credit and all can get refunds.