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WestJet customers feel scammed by airline's refund policy

Earlier today, the Canadian airline stated that 45 destinations are available to book from its summer schedule, but customers wonder if and when they'll get their refunds.
Photo: Gabor Lukacs / ‎Air Passenger Rights (Canada) / Facebook

WestJet customers are expressing their frustration on social media after WestJet announced its 2020 summer schedule, which includes destinations in the United States.

Earlier today, the Canadian airline stated that 45 destinations are available to book from its summer schedule from July 5 through August 4. Of the destinations, 39 are in Canada, five are in the United States and one is in Mexico

The first scheduled flight from Vancouver to the United States is to Los Angeles this June.

Back in May, WestJet Airlines Ltd. layed off 3,000 people and cancelled over 4,000 domestic flights weekly as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to hammer the airline industry.

Earlier this month, WestJet quietly changed its refund policy to allow some customers whose flights were cancelled due to the pandemic to recoup their cash. The move made it the first major Canadian carrier to offer refunds rather than credit to passengers whose trips were called off due to the COVID-19 crisis. The policy does not include flights within Canada or to continental Europe, Mexico or the Caribbean.

Now, WestJet customers are frustrated that the airline is already offering flights south of the border when it cancelled thousands of tickets and hasn't issued refunds for them. 

In response to the flurry of frustration, WestJet writes on its Twitter account, "Our apologies at the frustration you're feeling. If you need our help, please send us a direct message with your name, six-letter reservation code and original departure date." 

Of course, the apology fell flat for many of its customers.

Not only do some people state that they are still waiting for a refund on the cost of their cancelled flights, but others also say the new flights fall days after their old ones and WestJet rebooked them. 

Here is what some of the customers are saying:

A Facebook group called Air Passenger Rights (Canada) has also been created as a way for people to know their rights in relation to airline refunds during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Vancouver Is Awesome has reached out to WestJet for comment and will update the story when more information becomes available. 

Currently, the Government of Canada states that you should avoid all travel outside of the country until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a global travel advisory, the government notes that, "This advisory overrides other risk levels on this page, with the exception of any risk levels for countries or regions where we advise to avoid all travel."

Find out more information about the United States travel advisory HERE

- With files from the Canadian Press.