Earlier this week, the city of Yellowknife declared a state of emergency and subsequently issued an evacuation order for its approximately 20,000 residents, in response to the advancing wildfires.
The authorities in the Northwest Territories, where Yellowknife is situated, set a deadline of noon on Friday (18:00 GMT) for the evacuation to be completed. The wildfires had come within 16 kilometers (10 miles) of the city as of Thursday.
As the evacuation efforts were underway, many noticed that something was not right about Air Canada’s fares, prompting complaints on social media.
Some individuals reported exorbitant fares, reaching as high as $4,665 for flights departing from Yellowknife.
In an email to CBC News, Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick clarified that the airline had instituted fare caps for direct flights originating from Yellowknife. He mentioned a flight from Yellowknife to Edmonton priced at $272, although his statement did not specify the flight date.
Fitzpatrick went on to explain that the elevated fares exceeding $1,000 were a result of complex itineraries that involved multiple flights, occasionally spanning different carriers, rather than direct routes.
But this does not seem to be true for the example captured on the tweet from Kristin Raworth below, which was for a non-stop business class flight from Yellowknife to Edmonton directly from Air Canada’s booking website before the price cap was instated.
The airline later issued a statement, saying that they will monitor pricing on their website to “ensure that the capped fares continue to display as intended,” noting that there may be errors in the pricing due to some technical factors.
“Rest assured, we get these corrected as soon as possible, and we refund passengers who inadvertently purchase a fare before it gets corrected by our team.”
Air Canada also highlighted that they had added two extra flights for Thursday to support the evacuation efforts.
“We have also substituted a larger 169-seat Boeing 737 for one of those flights to provide extra seat availability. For Friday, August 18, Air Canada has also added an extra B737 flight in addition to the usual two flights, and we will continue evaluating opportunities for adjustments.”
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