WestJet Airlines Ltd. has quietly changed its refund policy to allow some customers whose flights were cancelled due to the pandemic to reclaim their cash.

The move appears to make WestJet the first major Canadian carrier to offer refunds rather than credit to passengers whose trips were called off due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The refund offer, spelled out in a document sent to travel agents and obtained by The Canadian Press, applies to flights that include a U.S. or U.K. city as the destination or origin.

WestJet says in an email it is reaching out to customers to alert them to the new option, which applies to all fares and classes but not vacation packages.

The policy does not include flights within Canada or to continental Europe, Mexico or the Caribbean. It is also off limits to customers who chose to cancel a trip ahead of time.

Transportation authorities in the United States and European Union have required airlines -- including foreign ones -- to offer refunds for flights cancelled as a result of the pandemic.