Insider Report 7/23/2020

This week we dive into ASTA pushing Air Canada for a better refund policy, a new partnership between JetBlue and American Airlines, and a definitive guide to Travel Bans!

Welcome to the weekly National Travel newsletter!  This week we dive into ASTA pushing Air Canada for a better refund policy, a new partnership between JetBlue and American Airlines, and a definitive guide to Travel Bans!  We have our office open 24/7 so if there are any questions or thoughts we can help with please feel free to give us a call or respond to this email!   


ASTA CALLS ON AIR CANADA TO CHANGE THEIR REFUND POLICY 

While many travel consumers have been able to obtain refunds for their Pandemic-related canceled flights, Air Canada has been denying many refund requests since they modified their policy in May.  The airline’s previous policy did allow for refunds due to cancellations and similar circumstances, but Air Canada now refers to this as a “goodwill gesture.”  Air Canada has received much backlash, receiving more refund-related customer complaints than any other foreign airline in April.  

     The DOT issued an enforcement order on April 3rd, instructing all airlines to provide refunds for US flights canceled due to COVID-19.  Air Canada, however, has contended that they are not obligated to follow the enforcement order, as it does not have the force of law, and that the DOT does not have authority over the airline’s transactions in Canada.  Following the issuance of this order, however, Air Canada did quietly modify their refund policy again in June to allow some refunds for trips originating in the EU, Switzerland and Iceland.  Canada’s other major airline, WestJet, has followed a nearly identical path with their policy.  While previously not offering refunds for canceled pandemic-related flights, the airline also recently modified their policy to allow for refunds of canceled flights on some international routes.  

      The American Society of Travel Advisors has urged Air Canada to do more for their customers, releasing the following statement earlier this month: “By doing the right thing for the affected passengers, abiding by the established rules and promptly providing refunds for canceled flights when requested, Air Canada can maintain the trust and confidence of both the agency community and the traveling public as a whole.”


Send Your Tastebuds on Vacation     Dreaming of some delicious Peruvian ceviche, or maybe some of Jamaica’s famous jerk chicken or festival bread?  You may not have to travel far to find some of your favorite street foods from around the world.  
Keep reading here

JETBLUE AND AMERICAN AIRLINES ANNOUNCE NEW PARTNERSHIP

American Airlines and JetBlue Airways have announced a new partnership between their brands which will include codeshare flights and offer more service out of New York.  the partnership aims to merge JetBlue’s domestic service with American Airlines International routes and will also some new markets, including the laugh of flights from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport to Tel Aviv.  About 60 American Airlines routes and more than 130 JetBlue routes will be included in the agreement, but the newly announced partnership leaves many unanswered questions.      

Plans are still in the works and the two airlines are still in communication about how customers’ frequent flyer memberships will be applied across their partnership.  Back in 2010, the two airlines announced a reciprocity agreement for their mileage programs, but that policy ended in 2014.  The two airlines have suggested there may be some added benefits for elite members of both mileage programs, stating “We look forward to sharing information about new loyalty benefits for AAdvantage® and TrueBlue members soon.”

   Another challenge on the minds of consumers is how seamless connections will be made between the two airlines at New York’s JFK airport.  While JetBlue operates out of JFK’s Terminal 5, American Airlines operates out of Terminal 8.  Currently, there is no way to connect between these two terminals without exiting security.  For a particularly busy airport like JFK, with many international markets, this could present quite a challenge to customers.  This airport does have a complimentary AirTran service to help provide more efficient transfers. When questioned on this issue, an American Airlines spokesperson also stated that they are committed to providing a “seamless experience for customers.”  In the coming year, we hope to learn more about this exciting new partnership!
Fun Fact of the Week!
The German word “fernweh” means “far sickness” or an intense urge to travel!  I think many of us are feeling this right now after all of this locking down! 

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for more travel news and information as well as updates on life here at the National Travel Office!  

We also have an Instagram page where you can see some amazing travel photography from all around the world! 

 At National Travel, we too feel that these current conditions are only temporary, and we will be here for you when you are ready to take to the skies again!  

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