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Canadian airlines accused of Dismissing COVID-19 precautions, denying refunds – CTV News

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TORONTO —
When Bobbi Jo Green booked a trip back May for herhusband, and her kids to visit two ailing relatives, she had been counting the airline’s bodily distancing principles to still be set up.

But only 3 months earlier Green and her household were put to fly from Edmonton into Sydney, N.S., on July 17, WestJet announced that it was ending its policy of leaving the center seats on its flights vacant.

“I was devastated,” Green stated, noting her household spends each summer in Nova Scotia together with her 93-year-old grandma who’s experiencing severe dementia and a different relative with an incurable type of cancer.

“We all knew it could very well be the last summer we would spend with them.”

When Green called WestJet to find out whether any lodging could be made, ” she told the firm she’s a heart disease that places her at the insecure category for COVID-19.

Despite her pleas, Green stated the airline told her that it had been not able to make any specific accommodation, nor does it permit her to alter the date of their flight before July 1, even once the rules were relaxed, without paying a commission.

And Green’s not exclusively: as states start to unwind domestic travel limitations, the cessation of bodily distancing principles by 2 Canada’s largest airlines — WestJet and Air Canada — is causing despair and despair among several passengers.

Gabor Lukacs, head of the advocacy group Air Passenger Rights Canada, stated he’s fielded countless complaints from passengers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of which are linked to the very same problems: airlines attempting to provide refunds or lodging involving the abolition of physical distancing rules.

While he admits the attempt to fill chairs is because of airlines trying to recover billions in lost earnings, Lukacs asserts that the businesses risk deterring customers from flying in any way.

“The question is: do we allow economic considerations to override public health? We don’t allow supermarkets to sell spoiled meat because it’s cheaper. Are we going to allow doctors to skip disinfecting their tools to save the cost?”

There’s some signs he is correct: a new survey conducted by Leger along with also the Association of Canadian Studies discovered 72 percent of respondents state they’re uncomfortable flying today that Air Canada and WestJet have culled their chair distancing policies.

Only 22 percent stated they’d be OK with flying beneath the recently relaxed rules.

In reaction to criticisms, WestJet forwarded The Canadian Press a statement by a July 3 site article regarding adjustments to its chair distancing policy.

“The blocked middle seat was introduced at the beginning of the pandemic before the myriad of safety measures were put in place and mandated on board,” the announcement reads.

“Seat distancing was never intended to be in place permanently or throughout the pandemic.”

The article notes numerous measures WestJet has taken to help block the spread of COVID-19 on its own flights, such as compulsory masking, pre-boarding questionnaires for many passengers, fever screening, comprehensive cleaning of aircraft between flights, along with the limitation of in-flight dining services.

As of Tuesday day, Air Canada didn’t respond to your request for comment.

However, the firm has also denied it is placing passengers and employees in danger by filling flights pointing to additional security measures as mitigating the danger of dispersing COVID-19.

Yet a few passengers report firsthand experiences in which concealing protocols weren’t followed.

Maureen Isabel Green, 31, flew out Vancouver into Fredericton three months back with Air Canada to go to her loved ones, also said she had been astounded by the lax usage of masks by both airport workers along with also the passengers on her two connecting flights. )

“I just think of all the people who are getting on a flight and risking their life, or risking the life of the people they’re going to visit, because some people don’t want to wear a mask for a few hours,” she explained.

Green, who’s a health-care employee, stated there were many instances on her trip from Vancouver to Montreal in which a bunch of young, male passengers took their masks off when flight attendants weren’t current.

While in the Montreal airport, Green stated a guy was able to board a trip without even having a mask, by simply telling anglers he had a medical condition that prevented him from doing this.

Air journey was in the center of numerous headline-grabbing incidents across the pandemic — especially since travel restrictions are eased in certain areas.

On July two, health authorities in B.C. cautioned that the passengers of four distinct flights they might have been subjected to COVID-19.

Just per day earlier — about the specific day that the airlines stopped their social distancing policies — that the Nova Scotia Health Authority warned passengers of a Toronto-to-Halifax WestJet flight in the preceding week they might have been subjected to COVID-19.

And on Sunday, that a Halifax man allegedly walked from a St. John’s-bound flight after learning that he was the sole passenger travelling inside the so-called “Atlantic bubble,” sparking debate regarding the potency of airlines’ COVID-prevention policies.

This report by The Canadian Press was published on July 7, 2020.

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