Transat deal for $700M government bailout includes cash for customer refunds
Half the funds will go to paying customers who want their money back
Travel company Transat AT Inc. says reimbursement for customers who have paid for flights that were scheduled to leave on or after Feb. 1, 2020, will begin immediately, following the announcement of a $700-million loan from the federal government.
Nearly half of the funding — $310 million — will be used to provide reimbursements to travellers, the airline said. The rest will go to maintaining the business operations while COVID-19 travel restrictions continue.
In exchange for the bailout cash, the travel company has also agreed to temporarily stop buying back its shares or pay dividends to its investors. Executive pay will be capped, and Transat is promising to keep job numbers where they are. And Ottawa will have the right to buy up to 13 million shares in the company.
But the main thing consumers will care about in the deal is the status of refunds for flights booked prior or during the pandemic that never took off. The travel company gave out a lot of credits for future travel, but so far no actual refunds, which left many in the lurch.
Here's a look at how to get your money back, if you want it.
Who is eligible to request a refund?
Transat says eligible customers include those who have a travel credit; departure scheduled for Feb. 1, 2020, or later; booking made before April 29, 2021; did not transfer their travel credit or receive transferred travel credit; did not submit a claim to an insurance company; and whose booking is not subject to an active chargeback claim or has not already been refunded by a credit card provider.
How can I request a refund?
Refund requests can be submitted using Transat's online form as soon as possible. The form is available on Transat's website.
How soon will I get my money back?
Transat says processing times may take up to three months due to the high volume of requests. It says requests will be treated in the order in which they are received.
Is there a deadline to submit?
Refund requests must be submitted using Transat's online form by Aug. 26, 2021. Transat says customers who don't submit their request by this time will not get a refund. It says their travel credit will remain on file and will be available when making a new booking.
What if I booked through a travel agency or other third party website?
Transat says if you originally booked with a travel agency or third party, contact them so they can submit a request on your behalf. If you can't reach your travel agency or they're closed, fill out a refund analysis form and submit it by Aug. 26, 2021.
What if I don't want a refund — can I keep my travel credit?
Transat says if you want to keep your travel credit, no action is required. The credit will remain on your file with the same conditions and will be available when making a new booking. You cannot request a partial refund because travel credit cannot be split up.
With files from CBC News