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Air Canada seemingly encouraging 'leisure' flights to U.S. amid pandemic

Last Updated Aug 18, 2020 at 3:14 am MDT

Summary

'Did you know that Canadians are permitted to travel by air to and from the U.S. for leisure or business?' airline asks

A travel advisory is currently in effect for the Unites States, Air Canada opposes widespread easing of restrictions

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Those waiting on hold with Air Canada’s customer service line are now hearing a message that appears to encourage travel to the United States as COVID-19 cases surge south of the border.

“Are you eager to reunite with friends and relatives in the U.S.? Did you know that Canadians are permitted to travel by air to and from the U.S. for leisure or business?” the recording asks.

A travel advisory is currently in effect for the Unites States.

“Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice,” it reads.

“It is up to the individual to decide what constitutes ‘non-essential travel,’ based on family or business requirements, knowledge of a country or region, and other factors.”

Although land-crossings are closed, the airline points out in a statement that cross-border flights have never been banned, and Air Canada has been operating on a modified schedule throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Even with the virtual industry shutdown brought about by government restrictions, Air Canada has continued to operate a basic schedule. This has made it possible to ship necessary cargo (including PPE, vital medical goods, essential machinery for business and perishable foods), repatriate Canadians abroad and facilitate required business travel and importantly, family reunifications,” a statement reads.

“Recognizing the importance of these services, government regulations for trans-border travel specifically make allowances for people to fly between Canada and the U.S.”

Furthermore, the company issued a statement in July opposing widespread relaxation of border restrictions. 

Anyone returning to Canada — from the U.S. or elswewhere — is still required to self-quarantine for 14 days.