'Travel preferences' and not COVID-19 led to cancelled airline ticket, B.C. tribunal rules in refund dispute

A B.C. man has lost his bid to get his money back after cancelling a non-refundable flight to Germany when COVID-19 restrictions were ramped up in that country.

A decision from the province’s Civil Resolution Tribunal was posted online Wednesday, outlining the reasons the would-be traveller argued he should get a full refund and the decision not to grant him one.

Hamid Seyed Alamolhoda booked his plane ticket in October of 2021, planning a vacation over the Christmas holidays, according to the decision. The cost of the airline ticket was $1,760.36 and he was booked to fly with Lufthansa.

On Dec. 7 – amid a surge in cases driven by the Omicron variant – he decided not to make the trip.

“Mr. Alamolhoda grew concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic and elected to cancel their flight reservation,” tribunal member Andrea Ritchie wrote.

“Specifically, Mr. Alamolhoda says most of the shops in Germany were closed, and he was supposed to go on a holiday, not to a ‘ghost town.'”

Although the booking was made through a travel agent, the tribunal heard, Alamolhoda approached the airline directly for a refund.

A representative for Lufthansa told the tribunal that the ticket was non-refundable, and provided documentation to that effect while also saying Alamolhoda was given the option to rebook his travel at any time within the next year without incurring any change fees.

For his part, Alamolhoda denied purchasing a non-refundable ticket but “did not provide any evidence showing the ticket’s fare rules,” Ritchie wrote.

Ultimately, the tribunal ruled in the airline’s favour.

“I find it was Mr. Alamolhoda’s choice to cancel their reservation based on their holiday preferences, not based on any COVID-19 travel restrictions,” Ritchie concluded.


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By Samy

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