The Canadian Transportation Agency, which last spring introduced some of the most flyer-friendly passenger rights rules anywhere, is backtracking on some of them in the face of mass cancellations caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Under new guidance late last week, the CTA said airlines would not be required to give cash refunds, but could instead give vouchers for the value of the travel as long as the vouchers are good for at least two years.
The ruling came at a time when airlines around the world are facing huge cash outflows from cancellations while taking in practically no new revenue. As reported here a few days ago, some U.S. airlines have resorted to offering bonuses to travelers who take vouchers rather than cash, but only limitedly.
British airlines were quick to jump on Canada's move, and it is likely that many more countries will be pressed to do the same. In the UK, the request to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (yes, it's a mouthful) was made by British Airways, Jet2, EasyJet, TUI and Virgin Atlantic. They are asking for what they have called a 'refund holiday.'