3 flights to Vancouver International Airport possibly exposed to COVID-19

News from CTV News – link to story

Regan Hasegawa, Multi-skilled Journalist, CTV News Vancouver | July 2, 2020

YVR

Planes are seen on the tarmac at YVR in this photo from April 2019. (Gary Barndt / CTV News Vancouver)

VANCOUVER — Health officials are warning passengers on three flights that recently landed at Vancouver International Airport YVR to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control is not sharing which seats on the planes were affected. As a result, everyone who was on the flights is asked to self-isolate for two weeks from the day they landed in Vancouver.

These are the affected flights:

  •  Air Canada flight 217 from Saskatoon on June 16.
  •  Air Canada flight 557 from Los Angeles on June 18.
  •  Flair Airlines flight 8102 from Toronto on June 21.

Travellers on the flights won’t be contacted directly, as health officials stopped that practice back in March.

All airline passengers are encouraged to check the BCCDC website regularly for two weeks after they arrive back in B.C. to ensure their flight has not been exposed to the virus.  

Airline Update Summary

Air Canada, WestJet, Transat, Sunwing and more: The latest updates amid the coronavirus pandemic

News from Travelweek Group – link to story | 17 June 2020

Air Canada, WestJet, Transat, Sunwing and more: The latest updates amid the...

TORONTO — Canada’s airlines have taken swift action amid border closures and travel restrictions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. In many cases airlines have temporarily suspended operations entirely.

Here’s the latest from Canada’s airlines. Updates will be added as soon as they become available.

LATEST UPDATE: June 16 – WestJet; June 12 – Transat; June 11 – Sunwing; June 9 – WestJet; June 4 – Flair Airlines; May 27 – Porter Airlines; May 20 – Sunwing; May 11 – Air Canada


AIR CANADA

UPDATED MAY 11: Air Canada has extended its route suspensions until at least May 31 and into early June for a large swath of its network, with some exceptions. On May 8 ACV notified the trade that Air Canada’s operating schedule for June, while certainly reduced, includes service to Cancun, Varadero, Cayo Coco, Montego Bay, Barbados, Paris, Athens and Barcelona. Updated information about route suspensions for flights within North America as well as Atlantic, Pacific, South America and Mexico/Caribbean routes can be found here.


FLAIR AIRLINES

UPDATED JUNE 4: Flair Airlines has announced that it will resume service to Kelowna and Winnipeg while delaying the launch of other destinations as part of its new summer schedule. Its current route schedule will be expanded to include both Kelowna and Winnipeg in addition to Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. However, as a result of ongoing travel restrictions, Flair will also be delaying the launch of service into Ottawa and Atlantic Canada. Full refunds are being offered to passengers booked on cancelled flights to the affected destinations: Ottawa, Halifax, Saint John, N.B., and Charlottetown. Impacted guests will be contacted through email with instructions on how to receive their refunds. The airline’s latest change policies are at https://flyflair.com/travel-info/customer-service/covid-19-updates.


PORTER AIRLINES

UPDATED MAY 27: Porter Airlines has pushed back its temporary suspension of flights to July 29. Porter is waiving change and cancellation fees on all fares booked between May 26 and July 29. This also applies to Porter Escapes vacation packages. See https://s3.amazonaws.com/eporter.flyporter.com/Suspension/index.html.


SUNWING

UPDATED JUNE 11: Sunwing has suspended all southbound flights through July 31. Passengers with departures dates for flights or vacation packages March 17 – July 31 are eligible to receive a future travel credit for the value of the original amount paid. The credit can be redeemed against future travel to anywhere Sunwing Airlines operates for up to two years from the original departure date For departure dates Aug. 1, 2020 onwards standard terms and conditions apply to changes and cancellations. For the most up to date information see https://www.sunwing.ca/en/promotion/packages/travel-advisory/.


SWOOP

Swoop has suspended all regular international and transborder flights until May 31. Check https://www.flyswoop.com/coronavirus/ for the latest updates. Swoop’s ModiFly is included in all new bookings more than seven days from departure and free to add for existing bookings more than seven days from departure. Swoop’s repatriation flights started March 23.


TRANSAT

UPDATED JUNE 12: Transat is set to resume both its flights and tour activities starting July 23. Its new flight schedule, running through Oct. 31, will include 22 destinations in Europe, the South, the U.S. and Canada. South and Europe packages will be available, with Transat’s network of travel agencies gradually reopening starting June 15. More information for Transat can be found  at https://www.airtransat.com/en-CA/book/resumption-of-our-operations#%2Fresults.


WESTJET

UPDATED JUNE 16: From July 5 through August 4, WestJet will offer operations to 45 destinations including 39 in Canada, five in the U.S. and one in Mexico. On June 1 WestJet announced it was offering refunds for select flights that include a U.S. or UK destination. The policy does not include flights within Canada or to continental Europe, Mexico or the Caribbean. If clients chose to voluntarily cancel their booking, they are not eligible for a refund to original form of payment, with some exceptions. The refunds apply to U.S. and UK flights March 1 – June 30.

Canada’s airlines ease into expanded summer service with added safety protocols

From CBC News – link to story

Pandemic measures mean glamour is gone from air travel, Flair Airlines CEO says

Raisa Patel, Ashley Burke · CBC News · Posted: Jun 15, 2020

Temperature checks, a health questionnaire and masks will all be required to board flights in Canada this summer. Flair Airlines is already conducting the temperature screening.

Canada’s beleaguered airline industry is taking cautious steps to restart operations after travel restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic grounded much of the sector — but getting planes back in the air will be a costly and risky undertaking.

Flair Airlines is one Canadian carrier ramping back up operations next month. In July, the low-cost domestic airline, which launched three years ago, will expand its routes across the country.

But even though many Canadians are hesitant about boarding a plane, airlines need to start offering flights with more safety measures so the industry can recover, said Flair CEO Jim Scott.

“It’s a chicken and an egg problem. You can’t attract passengers if you don’t have a flight,” Scott told CBC News. “If you have a flight and people don’t show up, you have to operate it. If you operate it at a loss, eventually you’ll go out of business.”

Scott said that operating an airline at this time is a juggling act that involves estimating how much traffic will return to the industry and matching that to the industry’s ability to accommodate it — all at a rate that breaks even or generates revenue on every flight.

“If we get it wrong, we can lose an awful lot of money,” he said.

The company has already let go of 50 per cent of its workforce because of the pandemic and cancelled a planned expansion into the Maritimes due to provincial travel restrictions and quarantine rules.

Flair Airlines CEO Jim Scott says air travel has become a “surreal” experience because of the many safety protocols undertaken by passengers and staff — measures he says are necessary for an airline to operate in the middle of a pandemic. (Mike Zimmer)

Daunting process for many airlines

It’s a similar story for other airlines: Air Canada announced in May that it was slashing its workforce by 50 to 60 per cent, while WestJet laid off half its 14,000-member workforce in March before rehiring most of them under the federal government’s wage subsidy program.

Flair took advantage of that program, but Scott said topping up employees’ salaries is still costly. The carrier is in the midst of private talks with Ottawa for tens of millions of dollars in loans because the airline doesn’t bring in enough revenue to qualify for the government’s offer of bridge financing for large Canadian businesses. 

Bigger carriers who do qualify for the financing haven’t said whether they’ll sign on and say they’re looking into the conditions tied to receiving it.

An Air Canada worker cleans her ticketing station at Pearson International Airport in Toronto in April 2020. The airline revealed last month that it would be laying off more than 20,000 employees from its workforce. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Canadian airlines have chosen to ramp up operations for the coming season despite those circumstances.

After cutting 90 per cent of its operations, Flair is inching back up to 30 per cent of normal operations in order to expand its routes.

Air Transat revealed last week that it expects to resume its flights on July 23 to almost two dozen international destinations including France, Italy and Mexico as long as travel restrictions at that time allow it. 

Air Canada is also adding more international destinations to its slate including London, Paris and Frankfurt, while WestJet said in an email to CBC that it was “working through an updated July schedule that will include an increase in daily flight frequencies.” 

“While increased flying is a positive sign, it is important to remember that we are only flying five per cent of our schedule and an increase in flight numbers is not an indication of our recovery or return to normal operations,” the email read.

Glamour is gone, Scott says

Expanding service amid a public health crisis means air travel has become an entirely new experience. 

“The glamour is out of flying right now,” said Scott. “People are very quiet. They board the airplane with social distancing. I think the social element of flying, talking to a neighbour, meeting people, having jokes with flight attendants and so on, those days are gone for now.”

A number of safety measures are already in place in airports across the country, including a requirement for all passengers and staff to wear masks, the completion of health-screening questionnaires and enhanced cleaning protocols. 

Passengers travelling to, from or within Canada will have to undergo mandatory temperature checks before boarding. Some airlines are already doing this, including Air Canada, WestJet and Flair Airlines.

Like other airlines, passengers about to board a Flair aircraft must first answer a basic health questionnaire and get their temperature checked. (CBC News)

Flying itself is now significantly different: some airlines have suspended food and beverage service, while others no longer distribute pillows and blankets. 

Airlines are also disinfecting their planes with medical-grade cleaning products between flights. 

Flair’s fleet is sanitized before every trip, and passengers on connecting flights must deplane when they stop in a new city while the plane is cleaned again. The company is “fogging” down the aircraft with a sanitizer procured from Germany.

In other measures, passengers on Air Transat flights will be given their own face covering, gloves, sanitizer and wipes. Air Canada passengers can expect to receive a similar kit, along with an empty seat directly adjacent to their own.  

WATCH |  How Flair Airlines disinfects its fleet:

John Mullins, Flair’s vice president of customer experience and airports, says airlines used to dust. Now, they deep clean.

Passengers cautious too

Passengers will be guarded when entering this new era of air travel, said Ian Jack, a spokesperson for the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA). 

“I think a lot of people today are simply worried that we’ll have a repeat of March [and] April where they’ll buy a ticket, they’ll spend potentially thousands of dollars and then the flight will get cancelled … because we got a COVID outbreak somewhere in the world,” said Jack, whose association is also a consumer group that previously fought for air passenger rights. 

Jack said those embarking on air travel this summer should be particularly diligent about checking travel advisories and rules about refunds.

“The biggest concern is that … people are going to get burned again,” Jack said. “Either they’re not going to be able to fly where they want to go and they won’t get a refund, or that they’re going to get to their destination and find that things are closed.”

Longer lines, higher fares and no booze: Flying is about to get more aggravating

News from The Star – link to story

People leave the airport after arriving at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on Monday, March 16, 2020. Flying is about to get even more tedious. Temperature checks. Bigger lines. Fewer meals. No alcohol. And ultimately, higher prices.

By Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press, Sun., June 14, 2020

Temperature checks. Bigger lines. Fewer meals. No alcohol. And ultimately, higher prices.

Air travel — often a headache before the COVID-19 pandemic — is set to become even more uncomfortable, experts say, as increased in-flight personal space is offset by longer waits, higher airfares and more sterile environments.

Carriers, whose fleets have largely been grounded since mid-March amid global travel restrictions and extremely low demand for travel, now face the dilemma of generating enough revenue to stay afloat while keeping their passengers and employees safe.

In an effort to maintain physical distancing, Air Canada and WestJet Airlines Ltd. currently block the sale of immediately adjacent seats in economy class and throughout the entire plane, respectively.

Air Canada passengers currently receive complimentary kits that include hand sanitizer, antiseptic wipes, gloves, a water bottle and — in line with federal rules as of June 4 — face masks.

To minimize customer-employee contact, pillows, blankets and alcohol are unavailable, with drink service limited to bottled water. Only travellers on international flights or in business class on journeys over two hours are offered boxed meals — no multi-course meals on the menu, even for “elite” flyers.

Infrared temperature checks will soon be required for all international passengers as well as those flying within Canada, with screening stations to be set up at 15 airports by September, Transport Minister Marc Garneau said Friday.

Travellers with an elevated temperature — 37.5 C in the case of Air Canada, which already conducts screenings — will be unable to board the flight, and barred from flying for at least 14 days.

Just how effective the checks are at virus detection remains up in the air.

“Thermography is only good for people who have the beginnings of a fever, or are somewhere along with a fever,” said Tim Sly, epidemiologist and professor emeritus at Ryerson University’s School of Public Health. “But we now know this virus is a stealth virus.”

A recent study at Imperial College London found that the technique would not detect a heightened temperature in about half of those with the virus.

Passengers, flight crew and airport workers must wear non-medical marks or face coverings at all times, with exceptions for eating that include dining and children under the age of two, according to Transport Canada.

Passengers seated in the back now typically board first and those in the front board last to reduce the risk of transmission.

Airports in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary are also encouraging a “touch-free” baggage check where travellers check in remotely, print bag tags at an airport kiosk and drop off luggage at a designated spot.

Physical distancing rules at busy terminals could shrink capacity and cause congestion for arrivals and departures, making it harder for carriers to recoup their recent losses. Meanwhile, enhanced aircraft cleaning procedures will likely mean more time between flights, which combined with fewer passengers could badly dent their bottom lines.

“Cleaning up, safety procedures — that will delay flights. And it will have some level of expenditures,” said Jacques Roy, a professor of transport management at HEC Montreal business school.

“But the most important thing would be to remove the middle seat. That would reduce capacity by one-third. To compensate you have to increase prices.”

Jim Scott, CEO of ultra-low-cost carrier Flair Airlines, acknowledged that higher fares are likely on the horizon, though not immediately as carriers try to encourage travellers with lower prices.

“If you want that middle seat empty, probably you’re going to have to pay more,” he said.

In North America, physical distancing on board would push the average fare up by 43 per cent to US$289 from US$202 in 2019 just for airlines to break even, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

“Eliminating the middle seat will raise costs. If that can be offset that with higher fares, the era of affordable travel will come to an end,” industry group director general Alexandre de Juniac said last month.

Higher ancillary charges — baggage fees, seating upgrades and other options — also present a potential path to higher revenues down the road, increasing a trend in place before the pandemic, said Jay Sorensen, who heads airline consulting firm IdeaWorksCompany.

While some adjustments may be easier to adapt to — ubiquitous disinfectant dispensers and plastic barriers in terminals, for example — others may be a little more difficult to accept.

Budget carrier Ryanair will require customers to make a special request to use the washroom to avoid what IATA calls a “congregation of passengers” in the cabin.

Nonetheless, the trade group, which counts Air Canada and WestJet among its almost 300 members, raised eyebrows last month when it announced that passenger face coverings have eliminated the need for physical distancing on board — washroom queues aside — and that aircraft seats serve as a barrier to viral transmission.

Airlines may be under pressure to make middle seats available soon as passenger volumes, which have fallen by more than 95 per cent year over year at Canadian carriers, start to rise again. WestJet said in an email it will reassess its no-middle-seat policy at the end of the month, while an Air Canada spokesman said that “it is not possible to speculate on the future possibilities.”

For now, most regulators have not acted on IATA’s push for middle seat occupancy, and airlines may find they need to entice passengers with rigorous health and hygiene protocols rather than filling each flight to capacity, said Dr. Paul Pottinger, professor of infectious diseases at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine.

“The question, I think, is not one of viruses and infection, it’s one of economics. Is that risk reduction small enough that people would be willing to pay a price in terms of the premium on their ticket?” he asked.

Ultimately, vigilance in physical distancing and sanitization are critical to containing coronavirus spread, no matter how it alters Canadians’ flying experience, Pottinger said.

“It is a layer of protection that I envision for all of us regardless of whether you are squeezed into an aluminum tube or walking down the street. The virus doesn’t care,” he said.

“We just need to give each other a little more personal space. Doing it at the airport and on board? It’s a real challenge.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 14, 2020.

NOTICE – Flair Airlines USA Routes Proposed Class Action Discontinued

From Flair Airlines Ltd

EDMONTON, AB, June 12, 2020 /CNW/ – The proposed class action involved Flair Airlines Ltd.’s cancellation of various USA routes in or about February-March 2019. A proposed class action was filed on March 29, 2019 at the Federal Court seeking compensation for the affected passengers.

On June 9, 2020, the Federal Court approved the Plaintiff’s application to discontinue the proposed class action against Flair Airlines Ltd. This discontinuance means that the proposed class action will no longer proceed.

As such, any potential class members who wish to proceed with their claims on an individual basis should consider doing so.

This notice has been approved for distribution by the Federal Court.

SOURCE Flair Airlines Ltd.

Flair Airlines Announces New Summer Schedule

From Flair Airlines

Bringing affordable, friendly, and reliable service to Canadians. Flair makes it their mission to provide service when the time is right.

Edmonton, Alberta, June 03, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Flair Airlines announces a return to Kelowna and Winnipeg, while making the difficult decision to delay the launch of certain locations as a result of travel restrictions related to the global pandemic.

Flair is thrilled to announce an expansion of their current route schedule which includes service to Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver with a much-anticipated return to Kelowna and Winnipeg. Carrying out a mission to bring affordable, friendly, and reliable air travel to Canadians while balancing the impact of a global pandemic has not come without difficult decisions. As a result, Flair will be delaying the launch of service into Ottawa and Atlantic Canada. In the face of adversity, Flair has decided to stand out as a leader in the industry and offer full refunds for passengers booked on cancelled flights to the affected destinations – Ottawa, Halifax, Saint John, N.B and Charlottetown.

“Due to the current provincial travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, we feel this is the best balance right now for both the provinces, and for Flair as a business,” says John Mullins, Vice President of Customer Experience and Airports. “Safety comes first for Flair and our customers are our priority.”

Based on feedback received from Canadians in a recent Nanos Research survey, Flair knows there is a need for choice and affordable air travel in Canada. Atlantic Canada remains a priority region for Flair and the company will look to return to these destinations soon. When Flair does return to these markets, it will remain committed to stimulate the local economies by increasing tourism to the areas as well as sourcing local products and vendors.

“This is only temporary,” added Mr. Mullins. “Flair is proud to bring Canadians affordable and friendly air travel and we look forward to providing more choice to our customers for their travel needs. We will be there for Ottawa and Atlantic Canada as soon as everyone is ready for our arrival.”

text

Passengers already booked on flights to the affected destinations will be contacted through email with instructions on how to receive refunds, further proof that Flair is a different kind of airline than its larger competitors. If customers require support, they are asked to contact Flair at 1-800-441-7214. Information on affected flights can also be found at https://flyflair.com/rerouting-passengers.

Booking or changing a flight? Here are the rules for major Canadian airlines

News from Global News – link to story and video

YERICA ALINI GLOBAL NEWS | May 27, 2020

 WATCH: Air Canada has changed its policy for customers who lost their flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but anyone hoping for a cash refund will be disappointed.

The federal government’s advisory against all non-essential international travel remains in effect. Many other countries, even those where COVID-19 case counts have been steadily declining for weeks, also have strict travel restrictions in place.

But you wouldn’t know that by looking at airline websites.

As the industry struggles with an unprecedented collapse in air travel and tourism, airlines are touting “flexible” booking policies as a way to woo back customers.Watch: Frustration mounts over lack of refunds for flights cancelled 

If you’re contemplating rebooking an existing flight that was cancelled amid the pandemic or making a new reservation for a future date, here’s what some of the major Canadian airlines are offering:

Air Canada

After facing public criticism for offering a 24-month travel credit rather than refunds for cancelled flights, Canada’s flagship carrier recently introduced expanded booking options. Through June 30, passengers can make a one-time change with no fee to all new or existing bookings for original travel dates between March 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021. As of June 15, those who booked directly with Air Canada will also be able to convert their ticket to a “fully transferrable” travel voucher that has no expiry date or turn it into Aeroplan Miles with 65 per cent bonus miles.

Air Canada says it’s working on ensuring two new options are also available to those who booked through a travel agency, including Expedia.

Customers with refundable tickets can also choose to get their money back. However, if you purchased a non-refundable ticket and decide to cancel your flight, you won’t be eligible for a refund, the website warns.

The changes come as the airline announced it’s still planning to fly to some 100 destinations this summer, including in the U.S., Europe, the Caribbean, Asia and South America.Watch: Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau says government looking at vouchers for airline passengers 

WestJet

WestJet has suspended its international routes through June 25. Like Air Canada, WestJet has been offering travel credit valid for two years for cancelled flights and vacation packages.

For new flight bookings made between March 3 and June 30, you can change or cancel your trip with no fee one time if you act more than 24 hours ahead of departure.

For U.S. flights, if you cancel within 24 hours of making a booking, you get a full refund, according to the company website.

Air Transat

Air Transat flights are temporarily suspended until June 30. The airline says on its website it has been automatically granting travel credit valid for 24 months to customers whose flights were cancelled.

For flights and vacations in southern destinations booked between April 30 and May 31, customers get to reschedule the same trip for any time within a year of the original return date or book a new trip — with different dates, destination and hotel — at no charge up to 24 hours before departure.

Those who just want to cancel get a 12-month travel credit for southern vacation packages and flights in the lowest fare class. For those who bought tickets in other fare classes, the standard cancellation terms apply, according to the airline’s website.

Sunwing

Sunwing has suspended all southbound flights until June 25. Those with flights or vacation packages starting between March 17 and June 25 are eligible for travel credit valid for departures up to June 20, 2022. Notably, the company says its travel credits are non-transferable and non-refundable.

For bookings after June 25 of this year, the company says it will be applying its standard change and cancellation policies.Watch: Coronavirus outbreak: Garneau says airlines facing ‘very tough times’ as customers hope for refunds 

Swoop

WestJet’s ultra-low-cost carrier has suspended all international flights until Aug. 31.

All new bookings made at least seven days ahead of departure will come with the ability to change the date or time of the flight up to 24 hours in advance. If you have an existing booking, you can add the flexible-booking feature to your reservation for travel that is at least seven days out.

Customers get a one-time change per direction.

Flair Airlines

Another no-frills Canadian airline, Flair, also says it has relaxed its booking policies. For those with existing reservations for flights in March, April and May, passengers can choose between a one-time chance to rebook their trip without having to pay a change fee and a travel voucher valid until May 31, 2021. You can only use one voucher per reservation, and it won’t cover costs like baggage, seat selection and other optional fees.

For new bookings made in March, April and May, you get the fee waived on a one-time rebooking for travel until May 31, 2021.STORY CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Travel changes and cancellations must be made at least 24 hours in advance of departure.Watch: Airline credits versus full refunds 

Air passenger rights advocate warns against flexible bookings

Flexible bookings, travel credit and vouchers are hardly unique to Canadian airlines. Customers perusing U.S. or other international carriers will be hard-pressed to find any mention of the possibility of refunds, especially for non-refundable flights.

But air passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs argues that any alternative to getting your money back comes with considerable financial risk.

For one, consumers should watch out for fare increases. Often, he notes, airlines are merely waiving rebooking fees, with passengers left to cover any cost differential between their original and new bookings out of pocket.

“You will not get a flight to New York City in September for the price you paid in February,” he said via email.

Lukacs takes issue with the practice, noting that current rules under Canada’s Air Passenger Protection Regulations stipulate carriers must rebook passengers at no charge if their flight is cancelled.

Watch: Coronavirus: The future of travel

Another important caveat: most airlines allow only a one-time change to your reservations. (There are exceptions: Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific, for example, is currently allowing unlimited rebookings for some customers within certain dates.)

Also, it’s not clear what happens to travel vouchers if an airline files for insolvency.

“Vouchers holders are unsecured creditors,” Lukacs warns.

Finally, airlines are leaving it up to consumers to figure out whether they can travel. Just because you were able to book a flight to, say, Rome doesn’t mean you’ll be allowed to take the trip.

Traditionally, it’s passengers’ responsibility to make sure they have any permits or visas required to travel to their destination — and travel during COVID-19 is no different, Lukacs notes.

Ultimately, customers should get refunds, he says, adding that even consumers with a non-refundable ticket are entitled to their money back if their flight was cancelled.

European Union and U.S. authorities have said travellers have a right to refunds amid the pandemic. In Germany, the government recently announced a €9-billion (C$13.6-billion) rescue deal for national carrier Lufthansa after the European Commission reasserted in mid-May EU airlines’ obligation to provide refunds to eligible travellers who ask for them.STORY CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Consumer rights advocates say Canadians are also entitled by law to a full refund for flights cancelled amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said Ottawa recognizes both “how vulnerable the airline sector is” and that Canadians are concerned about being “out-of-pocket” for airplane tickets they won’t use.

“I think we need to have some very careful discussions with airlines, with the air travel sector and, indeed, with Canadians … to try and figure out a way forward where we can ensure that Canadians are treated fairly and our airline industry remains there for when our economy picks up again,” the prime minister recently said.

“We will work with airlines and with Canadians who are concerned with finding solutions.”

— With files from Global News’ Beatrice Britneff

Flair Launches Comfort Choice Seating

From Flair Airlines

When you’re ready to fly, we’ll be here

Edmonton, Alberta, May 27, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Flair is pleased to announce Comfort Choice Seating, giving passengers more choices during their travels. Recent studies have shown that low-fare travel is important to Canadians. However, many have been hesitant to fly due to the recent events, affecting all airline travel.

Beginning on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 for $49 CAD., passengers booking seats in rows two to six will be able to take advantage of a middle-seat-free-experience. Comfort Choice Seating comes in addition to our industry-leading cleaning protocols that include disinfecting the aircraft at each stop using a state-of-the-art sanitizing product that lasts up to 10 days on a hard surface.

“We have heard and listened to the feedback passengers have given, and we are offering choices to enhance your Flair experience,” says John Mullins, Vice President, Customer Experience and Airports.

As Flair continues to evolve as an airline, the dedication to our passengers remains unchanged; your comfort, your choice.

Seven in ten Canadians think that increasing competition across Canada in the airline industry is an important or somewhat important contributor to the national interest

From Flair Airlines

urvey conducted by Nanos Research found that over 80 per cent of respondents agree or somewhat agree that discount airlines play an important role in the Canadian air travel industry, while over three in four Canadians say access to flights for under-serviced communities is an important or somewhat important contributor to the national interest.

EDMONTON, May 25, 2020 /CNW/ – A vast majority of Canadians believe a competitive airline industry is critical to the country’s economic recovery, according to a new national survey.

The Nanos Research survey, commissioned by Flair Airlines, also found that Canadians believe providing lower-cost flights is an important (49 per cent) or somewhat important (30 per cent) contributor to the national interest and making Canada a stronger country. More than that, the survey revealed a strong majority of Canadians say access to flights for under-serviced communities is important (37 per cent) or somewhat important (41 per cent) contributor to the national interest, while seven in ten say increasing competition across Canada in the airline industry is an important (36 per cent) or somewhat important (34 per cent) contributor to the national interest.

The results are part of a hybrid online and telephone omnibus survey of 1,001 Canadians aged 18 years and older, conducted by Nanos Research between May 17-19, 2020. The margin of error for this survey is ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

“Flair is very proud to offer Canadians a discount option for air travel” says Jim Scott, CEO of Flair Airlines. “We are pleased that Canadians see discount airlines as important contributors to the economic recovery and that they will want more options, not fewer, when they feel comfortable to travel again.”

Meanwhile, the Nanos survey showed that as the economy begins its restart and life gets back to a new normal, there is still very much a sense of trepidation as a majority of Canadians agree (44 per cent) or somewhat agree (30 per cent) they will be nervous about flying until there is a vaccine.

“Our customers and our staff are the reason we exist,” says Mr. Scott. “We are working hard to invest in and maintain safe operations for when confidence returns, and Canadians are ready to fly. Once we can secure the support required from the federal government, we are looking forward to flying together soon.”

Key findings include:

Three times as many Canadians say they need more rather than fewer airline options
Asked whether Canada has the right number of airline carriers when COVID-19 travel restrictions are relaxed, 36 per cent of Canadians said they need more options compared to 11 per cent who said they need less.

Canadians most frequently say that having a competitive airline industry to help the economic recovery is an important or somewhat important contributor to the national interest
More than four in five Canadians say that having a competitive airline industry to help the economic recovery is an important (47 per cent) or somewhat important (39 per cent) contributor to Canada’s national interest.

A majority of Canadians think that discount airlines play an important role in the Canadian air travel industry
More than eight in ten Canadians agree (47 per cent) or somewhat agree (35 per cent) that discount airlines play an important role in the Canadian air travel industry.

Three quarters of Canadians agree or somewhat agree that they will be nervous about flying until a vaccine is developed for COVID-19
Nearly three in four Canadians agree (44 per cent) or somewhat agree (30 per cent) they would be nervous about flying until there is a vaccine to protect them from COVID-19. Intensity of worry is stronger among older Canadians (84 per cent agree or somewhat agree compared to 65 per cent of Canadians aged 18 to 34).

For further insights please visit Nanos website at: https://www.nanos.co/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/2020-1655-Flair-May-Omni-Populated-Report-Updated-May-25-With-tabs.pdf

Flair Airlines Ltd. incorrectly associated to seizure of U.K. aircraft in Nigeria

From Flair Airlines Ltd

EDMONTON, May 19, 2020 /CNW/ – On May 18, 2020 an article was published by PM News Nigeria about the seizure of a foreign aircraft from the U.K. in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The article, and subsequent twitter posts, referenced a photo of a Flair Airlines Ltd. plane and, as such, have incorrectly implied involvement of our company.

Flair Airlines Ltd., a Canadian owned and operated company with no affiliations to organizations in the U.K., does not have authority to operate any aircraft – commercial, charter or cargo – to or from the Federal Republic of Nigeria or to any other country within Africa. The airline in question by Nigerian authorities is not Flair Airlines Ltd., and its employees and aircraft are not involved or engaged in this situation.

We have asked the publication – PM News Nigeria – to correct their story and retract our image but have received no response from the publication. Given the damage these stories have inflicted on Flair Airlines Ltd., we remain hopeful that the Nigerian media outlets or the Nigerian government itself will issue an apology for this error and correct the record.