WestJet promises full refunds on flights cancelled by pilot strike

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WestJet pilots voting overwhelmingly to give its union a strike mandate. WestJet planes are seen at the Calgary Airport in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, May 10, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

WestJet Airlines is promising to provide full refunds if flights are cancelled because of a possible pilots strike.

In response to passenger tweets expressing anxiety about their upcoming vacations, the Calgary-based airline says it understands the concerns.

WestJet says the refund would be in the original form of payment.

However, a passenger said that simply offering a refund may not resolve the traveller’s problem because tickets purchased just before flights typically cost more.

Air Canada has capitalized on its rival’s situation by formally announcing Thursday that it is expanding capacity on key transcontinental routes in response to the strike mandate at its large domestic rival.

WestJet pilots voted 91 per cent in favour of strike action, but committed to not disrupt passenger travel plans over the Victoria Day long weekend as a goodwill gesture.

Pilots will be in a legal position to commence job action on May 19, but now saw they won’t strike before May 22.

The Air Line Pilots Association, which represents 1,500 WestJet pilots, says negotiations will continue next week in Halifax and it is committed to staying there for as long as it takes to get a first collective agreement done.

The airline says it is confident about reaching an agreement.