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No pandemic airline refund, B.C. tribunal rules

German airline Lufthansa refunded taxes on a $1,760 fare for which a B.C. man wanted a complete refund.
The flight from Vancouver to Germany was supposed to have left before Christmas 2021

A man who booked a holiday flight from Vancouver to Germany is not entitled to a refund after the B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal ruled not travelling during the pandemic was a personal preference.

According to the ruling, Hamid Seyed Alamolhoda had booked a return flight with Lufthansa on Oct. 31, 2021. At a cost of $1,760, it was set to leave before the Christmas holidays.

But as the COVID-19 pandemic developed, Alamolhoda grew concerned and chose to cancel the flight reservation.

According to tribunal vice chair Andrea Ritchie’s Sept. 21 decision, “Alamolhoda says most of the shops in Germany were closed, and he was supposed to go on a holiday, not to a 'ghost town.'”

Lufthansa said Alamolhoda purchased a non-refundable ticket and it already provided a refund of the unused taxes.

Alamolhoda, however, sought repayment of $1,510, the unrefunded balance of the ticket.

In his ruling, Ritchie found it was Alamolhoda's “choice” to cancel the reservation, and that the decision was “based on holiday preferences, not based on any COVID-19 travel restrictions.”

Ritchie said Alamolhoda denied booking a non-refundable ticket but provided no evidence. Lufthansa, on the other hand, provided the tribunal with its internal reservation record and fare rules showing the ticket was non-refundable.

Ritchie dismissed the claim, saying Alamolhoda had the option of re-booking his trip anytime within a year of the original flight date with no change fees.

Lufthansa said the man elected to cancel the ticket anyway.

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