Air Canada addresses accusations of price-gouging during Fort McMurray evacuation
Karolyn Coorsh, CTVNews.ca
Published Friday, May 6, 2016 12:54PM EDT
Air Canada says it will be adjusting the fare for travellers who flew out of Fort McMurray after they were charged a premium for a flight earlier this week.
In a statement posted on their website, Air Canada refuted accusations that they hiked airfares as thousands of residents fled Fort McMurray due to raging wildfires. They did say however, that premium fares were a result of Air Canada’s computerized fare system.
“It is not correct that we raised fares in response to this devastating situation,” Air Canada said. “In some cases, customers booking last minute on May 3 and 4 on flights from Fort McMurray and Edmonton paid premium fares.
“This was a result of Air Canada’s computerized revenue management system, which automatically manages fares.”
The airline went on to say that they were unable to intervene in advance to manually adjust fares. “In those instances we will be contacting customers who paid a premium to adjust the fare to the normally available, lowest advance fare and refund the difference.”
Customers took to Air Canada’s Facebook page to air their grievances over the “outrageous” cost of flights out of Fort McMurray amid the wildfire crisis.
Air Canada Spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick said in an email to CTVNews.ca Friday that the airline has since been offering “our lowest available fares” to people affected by the Fort McMurray situation, including dropping extra fees.
He also said that Air Canada and Air Canada Express partner Jazz have taken “a number of measures” to assist in the wildfire situation, including additional 1,300 extra seats into Alberta for people wishing to travel, delivering supplies and chartered aircraft at cost to oil field companies airlifting employees.
Air Canada has also donated $50,000 to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts.
“We continue to explore other options for assisting in this difficult situation and are constant contact with those co-ordinating the response, letting them know we are standing by to help as needed,” Fitzpatrick said.
Calgary-based WestJet is also involved in rescue efforts, including flying relief supplies into the affected areas, as well as flying evacuees and workers out of Fort McMurray.