Air Canada announces new summer schedule, expands goodwill policy
Air Canada is offering customers a choice of nearly 100 destinations in Canada, the U.S. and around the world with an abridged schedule this summer. To ensure customers can book with confidence, the airline has implemented the Air Canada CleanCare+ biosecurity program and is introducing new cancellation options retroactive to March 1, 2020, to give customers greater flexibility and choice should their travel plans change for any reason.
“Air Canada has put in place an abridged summer schedule offering a choice of nearly 100 destinations across Canada, in the U.S. and internationally. 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. We are accordingly gradually opening for sale flights for the summer and beyond as we rebuild our network, leveraging our strong position as a global airline. Air Canada is ready for take-off, and we look forward to welcoming our customers onboard,” said Lucie Guillemette, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Air Canada.
“While the world is making great progress against COVID-19, we know we must remain vigilant, which includes being flexible. This is why we are introducing two new solutions for customers should their travel plans change. In addition to our regular goodwill policies, starting June 1 we will offer customers the choice of a travel voucher with no expiry date that is fully transferable or to convert their booking into Aeroplan Miles and get an additional 65% bonus miles. Both options, retroactive to March 1, give customers greater confidence and flexibility to plan and book travel with Air Canada,” said Ms. Guillemette.
“Finally, to further ensure the safety of our customers and employees, we have introduced Air Canada CleanCare+, a comprehensive biosecurity program to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19. 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. We have further committed to adopt new strategies and technologies as they become available.”
Due to COVID-19, Air Canada has had to abridge its selling schedule for summer 2020, with 97 destinations down from 220 last year, which nonetheless offers wide opportunities for travel and connectivity. Within Canada, the schedule will increase from 34 routes in May to 58 routes in June, with more routes added in August and September. Air Canada has also updated its schedule until the end of July with resumption of some services to the U.S., Caribbean, South American, European and Pacific markets.
As part of the new schedule, in accordance with provisions for air travel to the U.S. for Canadians, Air Canada will resume service to the U.S. on May 22, with six destinations being served by May 25, including New York-LaGuardia, Washington-Dulles, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago. This is a reduction from 53 U.S. destinations served last year. There are tentative plans to resume more U.S. service as of June 22, pending regulatory changes and demand.
Internationally, Air Canada will continue to operate from its major hubs to key global destinations in June. This includes service from Toronto to Frankfurt, London, Zurich, Tokyo and Tel Aviv; from Montreal to Frankfurt, London, Paris and Brussels; and from Vancouver to London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Seoul.
International services will expand further starting in June and early July, including: Montreal to Athens, Rome, Geneva; Toronto to Munich, Lisbon, Amsterdam, Rome and Athens; Calgary to Frankfurt; and, subject to government approval, Vancouver to Shanghai.
Flexible Booking and Cancellation Policies
Under a revised goodwill policy, new bookings made up to June 30, 2020 can be changed without fees for original travel between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.
In cases where Air Canada cancels flights due to COVID-19, customers with refundable tickets will continue to have the option of refunds. Since January 1, 2020, Air Canada has refunded nearly $1 billion to customers. Both customers with refundable and non-refundable tickets will have two new options to choose from:
- An Air Canada Travel Voucher for the remaining value of their ticket that has no expiry date, is fully transferable and retains any residual value or;
- The ability to convert the remaining value of their ticket into Aeroplan Miles, with 65 per cent more value versus the normal rate for buying Miles.
For voluntary changes, customers with refundable tickets will continue to have the option of refunds or the above new options. For Air Canada customers with non-refundable tickets making voluntary changes on tickets issued up to June 30, 2020, with an original travel date between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021 inclusive, they have the option to choose from the two above new options of an Air Canada Travel Voucher or Aeroplan Miles.
The new goodwill policies and cancellation options are retroactive for customers with original travel between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021. Customers whose flights have been cancelled due to the impacts of COVID-19 and who have already received travel credit valid for 24 months, will be able to select one of the applicable options depending on their fare at Air Canada’s website beginning June 15, 2020. Customers with Aeroplan Flight Rewards can continue to cancel their redemption bookings free of charge through June 30, 2020.