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Flight isn't cancelled, but US/Canada border closure means I can't get to the airport

I live in Montana and fly out of Calgary for most overseas flights. I have a flight booked from Calgary to Amsterdam (via London) in mid May and just learned that the US/Canada border will be closed until after the date my flight leaves. I checked the airlines website and the Calgary to London route is still active (the London to Amsterdam leg doesn't show up any longer). I used Expedia to book the American Airlines flight and my confirm said the check in for the flight was at the British Airways desk. I'm thoroughly confused on who to talk to. I don't think I want to cancel via the Expedia website as it is not clear what options (refund, voucher, anything) I will have if I submit the cancellation form. Any advice would be appreciated.

Posted by
3230 posts

You have to deal with whoever you bought the ticket from. They own it, and only they can refund it (even if the actual airline has already refunded it to the purchasing agent). Whether or not Expedia decides to refund you or give you a voucher is solely up to them. The US has said in very forceful terms that in the current situation, refunds must be given when requested for canceled flights.

Posted by
1424 posts

If the London to Amsterdam leg is no longer showing up, it's probably been cancelled. That should be sufficient for you to be due a refund, if that's what you want.

If you do want a refund, I would advise against cancelling your own reservation via the Expedia (or either airline's) website. Even if the one leg has been cancelled, if you are the one who cancels the reservation, at the very least it could make it difficult for you to get a refund.

You can check the American Airlines site to see their policies, but what I've seen with my own (now-cancelled) flight on British Airways, is that if you bought the ticket through a 3rd party, you will go through them to request the refund. In your case, you'll go through Expedia.

I would call Expedia to request a refund (if that's what you want) or a voucher. Don't be surprised if you have trouble getting through or a very long wait once you are in the phone queue. I feel fortunate to have gotten through to BA on the 7th try and was only on hold for about 42 minutes.

Posted by
5487 posts

Did Expedia give you an airline booking "number"? Use the booking code and the airline website to check the status of your trip and see if that airline is offering cancelation options. If your final destination is Amsterdam, the airline would have to give you a refund if they cannot get you to Amsterdam reasonably close to the scheduled booking.

Posted by
464 posts

Please be careful everyone in your answers. The OP is flying out of Canada to Europe. US Dept of Transportation rules do not apply; Canadian rules do.

OP, sadly the fact that you are in the US and cannot get into Canada for your flight is also irrelevant. The sole issue is being your rights under Canadian law in terms of cancellation, refund, voucher etc. I suspect your also learning another lesson- always book directly with the airline flying the plane.

Posted by
6141 posts

I may need one more cup of coffee, but am I understanding it that you used Expedia, which then booked a BA flight through AA?

In your position, I would start with expedia..... and hope they take care of it and not send you on a trip through 'wonderland'

Posted by
5645 posts

Similar issue, flying into Canada from US to drive into nearby city in US. I am waiting for the airline(AA) to cancel. Flights to Canada and back are so much less expensive as are rental cars which influenced this itinerary.

Posted by
3133 posts

donegal, that you are in the US has no relevance to your round-trip flights between Calgary and Amsterdam via London. Worse, you used Expedia, a third-party as opposed to buying directly from the airline. From your description in the OP, unless you can find someway to get yourself into Canada, you will lose the money you spent on round-trip tickets between Calgary and Amsterdam via London if you can’t get to Calgary for your transatlantic flights.

When your round-trip flight between your local airport in Montana and Calgary is canceled, Expedia hopefully will give you a refund. The airline will certainly refund Expedia since they are the ones who bought the tickets for you so you will have to deal with Expedia to get a refund. Worse, Expedia will keep you waiting hours and hours to speak with an agent. I had to deal with Expedia earlier this month to cancel a 100% refundable hotel reservation and I tried calling them directly. When they said the wait time would be hours, I hung up and went to their website to try to use the chat function. The chat function was down and another phone number was made available so I called that and ended up speaking with an agent a few minutes later. Do what you can to speak with a human being and request a refund for your Montana — Calgary roundtrip. Expedia told me that it would take 4 weeks for that refund to come. I actually got that refund in 3 weeks.

Posted by
1030 posts

Do you fly to Calgary or drive the 3 hours? I'm not sure how cross border flights are being handled but no way you'll be able to drive across the border unless certain situations like this are being considered. Here's the link to Canada Border Services. Maybe you can find a contact number to call.

https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/travel-voyage/web-qaf-eng.html

Your flight will be on British Airways and not American but you will need to speak to Expedia first. The Canadian Transport Agency has ruled that cancelled flights originating out of Canada will be eligible for vouchers and the airlines don't have to provide refunds.

By the way, in the future, KLM has direct flights from Calgary to Amsterdam every day around 3:30.

Posted by
170 posts

Simple answer, you booked with Expedia so you must go to them with any questions. Doesn't matter that you are in the US and leaving from Canada. Doesn't matter if it's an AA flight using BA. What does matter is that Expedia must follow their policies and Canadian laws. We assume that it's one ticket so with the London to AMS being cancelled it may help you. But you have to talk to Expedia, the airlines will tell you the same.

Posted by
6543 posts

Call up to the border and ask them if you could receive permission to enter since you have documentation that you're just flying out of Canada. Never know, they might let you through.

Posted by
1030 posts

If I'm interpreting the Transport Canada website correctly, people fro the US are allowed to transit via flight through Canada if it's not their final destination;

For practical purposes, the denial of boarding applies to all foreign
nationals, with some exceptions*, on flights to Canada.

The measures came into effect on Wednesday, March 18. They do not
apply to:

  • a person who has been only in the United States or Canada during the
    period of 14 days before the day on which they board;

    • a person in transit through Canada to another country.

https://www.tc.gc.ca/en/initiatives/covid-19-measures-updates-guidance-tc/aviation-measures.html

Posted by
3436 posts

Although I have no personal experience, press coverage indicates that the best you can hope for from Air Canada is a voucher. Canadian transport regulations are less customer-friendly than the EU and some of the US policies.

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you all for responding; you gave me some good ideas. When I checked email this morning, British Airways sent me an email (although the res states American) that the flight was cancelled. As I was reading the BA email, Expedia sent an email that I would receive a voucher (very restrictive limitations IMHO since it's the airlines who cancelled the flight), so I'm going to call American and see what they say. Wish me luck!

Posted by
464 posts

donegal- Wishing you good luck with American Airlines! Sadly you are flying under Canadian and not American rules. As for voucher time limits you may wish to check with Canadian focused travel forums (if there are any) to insure you are being provided the full benefits available under Canadian law.

Posted by
5487 posts

Just wondering if the Canadian vouchers are denominated in CAD?

Posted by
464 posts

Doubtful- I suspect they are in French Francs per Canadian equality mandates.

Posted by
6141 posts

Expedia sent an email that I would receive a voucher

Which entity is issuing the voucher? Expedia? BA? AA?

Not to make light of OP's plight, but a US originated transaction on a UK airline, flying from Canada to the Netherlands, on a US (AA) airline coding. I suspect the voucher could be denominated in Ferengi Gold Pressed Latinum as the intergalactic currency of choice. Shudder to think what the exchange fees will be.

Hope OP gets a satisfactory result. Will be interesting to learn how this turns out.

Posted by
90 posts

I have the same issue....but luckily my trip isn't until late July. We have tickets on Alaska Air to Boston and doing a driving trip, coming home from Montreal on Air Canada. If things are still shut down in July I can't fly, even if the flight goes, hotels are open and sightseeing available.

Nothing much for me to do but wait....not my strength!