COVID-19 travel refunds: BC man loses dispute

A British Columbia man has lost his bid to get his money back after canceling a non-refundable flight to Germany when COVID-19 restrictions were tightened there.

A ruling from the province’s Civil Resolution Court was posted online Wednesday, outlining the reasons the would-be traveler argued he should get a full refund and the decision not to award one.

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

On December 7 – amid a spike in cases brought on by the Omicron variant – he decided not to make the trip.

“Mr. Alamolhoda became concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic and chose to cancel his flight reservation,” wrote court member Andrea Ritchie.

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

Although the booking was made through a travel agency, the court heard that Alamolhoda had contacted the airline directly for a refund.

A Lufthansa representative told the court that the ticket was non-refundable and provided documentation to that effect while saying Alamolhoda had the option to rebook his trip at any time over the next year without incur change fees.

For his part, Alamolhoda denied purchasing a non-refundable ticket but “provided no evidence showing the ticket’s fare rules,” Ritchie wrote.

Ultimately, the court ruled in favor of the airline.

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

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