Air Canada promised a $120 reimbursement — how can we get it?


Air Canada isn’t a complaint magnet for readers of this site. In fact, it has a pretty good reputation for resolving issues quickly and amicably. So the recent experience that Barbara Scott, and our advocates, had with the airline has left us scratching our heads.

When Air Canada canceled Scott’s flight to Toronto, another wasn’t available until the following morning and Scott found herself stranded in Philadelphia overnight. The airline details what it will do to assist passengers in such circumstances on its website, and did offer her a hotel voucher for the night. But, as she wrote us, there was a hitch.

“The only hotel that the gate agents said they could give us a voucher for was 40 minutes from the airport, with no shuttle service,” she wrote. “This was completely unacceptable since we were rebooked on a 6:30 a.m. flight the next morning, which meant we would have to leave for the airport at 3:45 a.m., assuming we could find transportation at that hour.”

So Scott started looking for another option.

“I checked all the hotels with 24-hour shuttle service to the airport and could not find anything available except at the Airport Marriott. The gate agents told us that we should book the room, submit a receipt and hope that Air Canada will reimburse us,” she recalls.

Problem solved? Sadly, no.


Turns out that a night at the airport Marriott on that particular evening cost $437 — apparently a bit more than the airline had in mind. Instead, Air Canada offered her $120 “as a gesture of goodwill” toward her hotel costs that night and a $150 (CAD) voucher toward future travel on the airline.

Related story:   I was forced to buy a $20,000 diamond on my Royal Caribbean cruise. How do I return it?

Scott wasn’t feeling the love. As she pointed out in her response to the airline: “…$120 is barely enough to cover the cost of an airport hotel room when it is booked weeks in advance.” She also noted that the flight cancellation caused her to forfeit another $200 for a reservation guarantee she had for a room in Toronto that evening.

When the airline wouldn’t budge, and even the $120 reimbursement that it offered never arrived, Scott reached out to our advocates, who contacted Air Canada on her behalf.

And what did we hear back?

Crickets.

No response at all. That’s a big surprise to us from an airline with a decent record for handling customer complaints.

Scott could try using the Air Canada executive contacts at our advocacy site to continue pleading her case. She might also benefit from checking out the FAQs on our website on how to resolve a consumer dispute.

As good as our advocates are, sometimes even we can’t get a company’s attention. In this case, we’d like to think this was just an oversight. Hey Air Canada, if you’re out there, will you prove us right?


Dale Irvin

Dale Irvin is a semi-retired writer and editor, now living in south Florida after three years roaming around North America in an RV. You can read about those adventures at fabulousfifthwheel.com.

  • Alan Gore

    Not a surprise at all, actually. “Air Can’tnada” complaints come up with depressing regularity on this and other travel sites. This makes it one of the few major country airlines on my Do Not Fly list that is not an ultra-discounter.

  • finance_tony

    Why was the flight canceled?

  • Bill___A

    I’ve had good luck with Air Canada, but I don’t think the passenger was being reasonable. Was the cost difference between the $437 hotel and the one she offered anywhere near what the taxi ride would cost? I expect not.

    Let’s look at some of the other statements here:
    “This was completely unacceptable since we were rebooked on a 6:30 a.m. flight the next morning, which meant we would have to leave for the airport at 3:45 a.m., assuming we could find transportation at that hour.”

    When you are rebooked at 6:30 am, you are not going to get a good sleep anyway. And one really thinks that there is no taxi service in Philadelphia overnight??

    Maybe crickets aren’t the best response, but I can see why they wouldn’t want to deal with a person like this.

  • RichardII

    It would appear the author sees it differently… “Air Canada isn’t a complaint magnet for readers of this site. In fact, it has a pretty good reputation for resolving issues quickly and amicably.”

  • Bill___A

    I see it differently also, and having several hundred thousand miles under my belt on Air Canada (as well as other airlines), I am in a position to know. If the complaints are anything like this complaint, it is not the fault of the airline, they offered a solution and the OP came out with statements as to why it was “unacceptable” that just don’t wash. My mother, this month, had to cancel a trip for medical reasons, and got refunds, from Air Canada, promptly and no problem. I saw the paperwork. They do it quickly. United, by the way, also refunds quickly. It is all within days. I realize that this is a place where people go when they have problems, but quite often, the “problems” are of the person’s own making, whether they intentionally create issues, or happen to create them through a lack of understanding, or they just think the world should see things their way. I have very few problems with travel suppliers, as I expect most do. It is fortunate that there is Elliott.org to guide and help those who need it, but there are a lot of people who travel every day (including me, yesterday, with weather problems, and it was just fine. I got home a little later, but it was all handled very professionally.)

  • KanExplore

    She was told orally that she should “submit a receipt and hope Air Canada will reimburse us”? And acted on that? She set her search filters to consider only hotels with 24 hour shuttle service. And that would be ideal. But if the only one costs $437 she should see trouble coming with that flimsy oral suggestion as her only foundation. I’m pretty sure there would have been perfectly adequate places without their own shuttle available for $100-$150 within a reasonable taxi or Uber fare from the airport. And Air Canada indeed should have paid for a night in one of those. If she had done that and they didn’t reimburse her, then I’d take her side here. And if she did that and they did not reimburse her, at least she’d be out a lot less money. I think the $120 offer is close to fair.

  • Bill___A

    When they give out hotel rooms, I generally see them make the actual reservations and also arrange transportation, either with vouchers or a bus. Everything is handled with a clear path for the passenger to take. If the passenger refuses the accommodation offered by the airline, then that is a different story. When you make trouble for yourself, using flawed logic and unrealistic choices, you are bound to have an unhappy experience.

Get smart. Sign up for the newsletter.