In November 2019, my girlfriend and I started planning our first trip together. In January 2020, we had booked our flights, Airbnb and had everything prepared, just planning what we wanted to do during our time in Seattle and Vancouver. As time went on, by end February, my mom warned me saying that if COVID-19 continue to spread, we might have to cancel our trip. I thought that this was crazy and the virus would never get to the level that it is at. But, by end-March, we cancelled our Airbnb and yesterday, I got credit on our flights. Tomorrow was supposed to be the day that we flew out to Vancouver, but instead, we are social distancing and waiting for this to end to plan our next vacation.
In terms of companies and airlines being understanding and flexible, Airbnb was by far the best. They had a generous cancellation policy where we cancelled about a month in advanced and was able to receive a full refund. We booked our flights through Expedia with Air Canada and that was a more tricky process.
When we realized that this vacation was not going to happen, it was about a month ago. Schools were just starting to shutting down, I came home from university and started social distancing and staying home. I did some research online and Air Canada said that we could cancel our flights and receive a credit that we had to use within the next year. Here was the problem with that. First, we weren’t very confident that one year was long enough for us to use the credit. Both of us are constantly taking courses, even during the summertime. Second, is that this is a global pandemic and we are unsure how long this is going to last worldwide, so even if the virus is no longer in our area, we don’t know if we would be able to travel to another country within the next year. Ideally, what we were hoping for was a refund or some sort and if that was not possible, a longer time to use the credit.
The Air Canada website said to call the service that I used to book the tickets. So I called Expedia who said that they would not take my call unless my flight was in the next 72 hours. Given the circumstances, we patiently waited. Yesterday, I gave a call to Expedia and got through. They said that the most they could do were to extend the credit for another two years which was great! The service that I received from them was fantastic. Very understanding and took their time with me to help me understand how the credit worked. They were able to refund our travellers insurance. Side Note: when we were booking our flights, my girlfriend said that we should get the cancellation coverage in case of anything. I said that it was a waste of money and we are going to have a great time on this trip. She was right. I was wrong. Never again. After calling Expedia, I figured I’d try my luck and called Air Canada instead. After being on hold for an hour, they told me that there is nothing they could do.
I really appreciate the efforts and policies that both Air Canada and Expedia provided. More Expedia as I felt that Air Canada did not care and had no sympathy and refunded the add-on travellers insurance without asking, something I completely forgot about. I get that they are trying to follow the policy, but Expedia did more research and suggested that I at least try to apply for a refund and show me how. With Air Canada, I got a flat “no” and “thanks for calling, have a great day”.
As for planning our next vacation, it isn’t happening anytime soon. We don’t know when and where simply because this pandemic needs to end in order for us to have a better idea on how to plan. As frustrating as it is, it is what it is.
COVID-19 is something that no one was able to predict, interrupted everyone’s lives and for some, hurt them in many ways. This vacation was something that I was really looking forward to for over a year. I always wanted to be able to save up my own money, work for it and go on a vacation. As sad as it was to cancel the trip, I have to believe that everything happens for a reason.