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Air Canada racks up more refund complaints than any foreign airline in U.S.

Last Updated Jun 29, 2020 at 12:41 pm EDT

An Air Canada check-in area is shown at Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, Saturday, May 16, 2020. Air Canada's chief financial officer says the airline is starting to see "some improvement" on domestic bookings, but that international business will only improve when governments start to lift travel restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Air Canada has more customer complaints about refunds to the U.S. Department of Transportation than any foreign airline.

The department says Air Canada racked up 969 refund complaints out of about 7,500 in April, outpacing more than 80 non-U.S. carriers in the category.

The Montreal-based airline has the third-most refund complaints of any carrier, after United Airlines and American Airlines.

Air Canada and other Canadian airlines have refused to reimburse most customers whose flights were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S., like the European Union, requires airlines to refund passengers, meaning a complaint to the U.S. transportation department offers a potential path to reimbursement for some Air Canada customers who have been turned down north of the border.

Despite the high complaint numbers, Air Canada carries fewer passengers on flights with a U.S. segment than British Air and Lufthansa as well as four U.S. airlines.

WestJet Airlines Ltd. ranks right below Air Canada in cross-border passenger numbers but garnered the 10th-most refund complaints at 217, tying with Air France. WestJet has said customers on U.S. or U.K. flights are entitled to refunds.

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