I cancelled a return flight 40 minutes after booking when I realized I made a mistake. Currently it has been ~36 hours and still no money is showing up in my account, even though the money left the account immediately after purchase.

I did message them on Twitter and they said:

The ticket is voided which means that the money should be back in your account. There might be an authorization pending for the next 72 hours but it will drop afterwards.

If it makes any difference, I paid with a Mastercard debit card. I found this forum post on Google but it didn't give a definitive answer.

  • 1
    their comment means you should have the refund. If you don't, call them. DM for the number on twitter if you need to. Aug 10, 2018 at 13:57
  • Even if AirCanada refunded it immediately, the card processing companies (Visa, Mastercard, etc.) take typically multiple days, sometimes weeks.
    – Aganju
    Aug 10, 2018 at 18:54
  • 2
    Depends more on the card processing company than anything. 72 hours max is about right. I routinely buy and cancel tickets within the 24 hour period, but then I use credit cards instead. Aug 10, 2018 at 20:43

2 Answers 2


If you cancelled within 40 minutes, then it's almost guaranteed that Air Canada didn't actually charge you for the ticket in the first place, so there's nothing to be refunded.

When booking a ticket, the airline will generate a pre-authorization against your credit (or debit) card. This will generally show against your card as a "pending transaction", and whilst it will reduce the available funds on your credit card, the amount has not yet been charged.

Then, a day or so later, they will issue an actual charge for the amount, using that pre-authorization as a reference. It is only at that point that the money is actually charged to your credit card.

If you "void" the ticket before that charge (which is what normally happens when you cancel the ticket within 24 hours), then the airline simple never completes the second part of this process. The pre-authorization step occurs, but the charge never does. A few days later the pre-auth disappears, and it's as if it never happened.

If you're using a debit card the process is basically the same, except that as there's no concept of "available funds" other than the actual money in your account, it will appear that the money has been taken from your account - but at that stage it's just the bank reserving that money for the future charge. When that charge never comes, your bank will return the money to your account when the pre-auth disappears a few days later.

As they've said, the pre-authorization will normally disappear within 72 hours, at which time you'll get your money back.

The difference in the way such authorizations are treated is one of the many reasons that it's recommended to use credit cards (rather than debit cards) for transactions like this if you have one.

  • Thanks for this information. I have since been in contact with Air Canada, and Transferwise, the people I have my card from; the problem was on TransferWise end, not with Air Canada, as per your explanation: that if the ticket was voided then the charge never went through; so they didn't have the money, TransferWise did. When I contacted TW, they requested proof from me about the cancellation and purchase of the booking, which I provided, and then they released the funds. albeit 100+ hours after cancellation.
    – NotAPro
    Aug 14, 2018 at 18:11

Air Canada Refund Services

How long will it take for my refund to be processed?

If your refund request is being reviewed by one of our refund representatives, we ask that you kindly allow up to 3 weeks* for your refund claim to be reviewed.

And remember that you can check the status of your refund anytime.

*Unless otherwise stated by applicable law

What happens if I cancel my reservation within 24 hours of purchase?

If you cancel your reservation online within 24 hours of purchase, you will receive a full refund. We’ll send you an email confirming that the price of your ticket will be refunded automatically.

In the case of Flight Pass bookings, credits that are cancelled within 24 hours of booking will be credited back to your Flight Pass account and no cancellation fee will apply.

  • None of which actually answers the asked question...
    – Doc
    Aug 13, 2018 at 15:30
  • @Doc it was a debit card and often those cancellations are delayed by the vendor's fraud protection units.
    – Giorgio
    Aug 13, 2018 at 15:38
  • Not for transactions that never made it to a charge (but just an auth), and resulted from a ticket void
    – Doc
    Aug 13, 2018 at 15:53

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