Where’s my Air Canada voucher for $528? I’ve been waiting more than three months

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By Christopher Elliott

Where is Herb Sharpe’s $528 flight voucher as a refund from Air Canada? He’s been waiting more than three months, but the airline hasn’t sent it yet.

Question

I canceled an Air Canada flight more than three months ago. The airline agreed to issue a travel voucher as a refund, but it hasn’t sent one yet.

I’ve contacted Air Canada through its website at least twice. I’ve sent three email requests for assistance to Air Canada executives, following the advice on your website. None of the executives responded in any way. 

I have not yet written the executive vice president or CEO, but they are the next as I move up the list. However, I’m reluctant to escalate it to that level without checking with you first.

Air Canada has never denied that a travel voucher should be issued. The airline has claimed both on the phone and by email that processing of the voucher is “in progress.” 

Can you help me get my $528 voucher, please? — Herb Sharpe, Victoria, Canada

Answer

It shouldn’t take Air Canada more than three months to issue your voucher as a refund. How do I know that? Well, your voucher was one of several flight cancellations, and you received all but one within a few days. Something got lost along the way.

So what do you do when an airline overlooks something? You followed the procedure to the letter. You emailed the airline, you called, and then you appealed to a manager. Air Canada promised to get back to you with your $528 voucher. But it didn’t.

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You documented everything in writing, which should have made it easy for Air Canada to find your missing voucher claim. It’s not clear why the airline was taking so long. You note that the original voucher was incorrectly listed as $548, and the difference may have confused the refund system. That’s possible. 

The only thing you can do is to continue up the chain to Air Canada’s executive vice president and CEO. I list their names and numbers on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org. Had you stayed on that path, I’m sure someone would have noticed the missing voucher and fixed this eventually. Air Canada may be slow, but I’m sure it doesn’t steal from its customers. (Here’s how to get a refund on a nonrefundable airline ticket.)

Your case raises another important question: How patient is too patient? I think you should always give an airline one to two weeks to issue a voucher or a refund. After that, it’s OK to start sending polite emails asking about the status of your money. Three months is way too long. (Related: Is this enough compensation? Wrong information leads to a missed flight.)

I contacted Air Canada on your behalf. A representative quickly responded to me and said the airline would trace the missing voucher. That took another month. You finally received your voucher and an apology from Air Canada.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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