The Aburto family will soon be heading stateside after their frustrations with Sunwing Vacations’ refusal to accommodate their Zika-virus related fears were heard by staff at Air Canada.

Wilfredo and Leslie Aburto were preparing for an upcoming family trip to Cuba with Sunwing Vacations when the couple discovered they were pregnant. The couple researched potential safety concerns and was alarmed to learn of Zika-virus warnings in the Caribbean nation. Canada’s Public Health Agency currently advises against pregnant woman travelling to Cuba.

The Aburtos reached out to Sunwing and requested that the trip for their family of four be postponed or that their money be refunded. They were informed their vacation package, which cost $6,000, was non-refundable and non-transferrable as they had not purchased travellers’ insurance.

A CTV Calgary story on the Aburtos stalemate with Sunwing Vacations drew the attention of Air Canada officials.

“It just tugged at my heartstrings, said Mark Dantu, Air Canada spokesperson. “I just thought we would see what we could do for them.”

Air Canada reached out to the family and Wilfredo was stunned by the call. “He told us that he had seen us in the news and he was very sad to see - just the outcome and - the struggle that our family was going through just to be able to go on a family getaway,” recalled Wilfredo. “He proceeded to offer us a family getaway.”

“As you can imagine, I was very, very happy to hear the news. I was also surprised.”

The family was asked where they would like to travel to and, after eliminating Caribbean destinations because of health concerns, the Aburtos decided on a trip to Southern California and an opportunity to visit Disneyland with their 17-month-old son Noah.

The family’s eldest son will still be visiting Cuba with Sunwing Vacations on the non-refundable ticket.

Leslie Aburto says she was overcome with emotion when she learned of the offer.

“We’re very grateful to Air Canada for giving our family an opportunity to have a vacation especially after so much disappointment over the past week,” said Leslie. “We’re just overjoyed.”

Wilfredo says the family is still out more than $3,000 over Sunwing’s refusal to reschedule their trip. While Air Canada’s generosity is greatly appreciated, the Aburtos say their decision to bring their story to the media was to motivate Sunwing to review its policies.

“When we decided to come forward with this, the whole intention was to try to get Sunwing to do the right thing,” said Wilfredo. “We were just looking to postpone our vacation.”

The Aburtos will board an Air Canada flight destined for Los Angeles on Friday.

Air Canada’s offer to the Aburtos comes at a time when the airline could use some positive publicity.

J.D. Power’s airline rankings were released earlier this week and Air Canada finished dead last among North American airlines when it comes to passenger satisfaction.

“This is a very cheap way, from an airline’s perspective, to improve your image,” explained Gabor Lukacs, an advocate for air passenger rights. “You give free tickets to one family while you still keep shortchanging everybody else.”

Lukacs says Sunwing Vacations did nothing wrong in its handling of the Aburtos’ case but the travel company will end up losing when it comes to public perception.

The Aburtos say they will likely purchase travellers’ insurance when they book their next family vacation.

With files from CTV Calgary's Kamil Karamali