flight delay compensation canada

You will soon be able to get up to $1000 compensation for flight delays in Canada

Though it may be one of the most hectic times of year to try and book a trip, starting this month Canadian travelers can look forward to at least some peace of mind in the form of compensation for delayed and cancelled flights.

December 15 marks the introduction of a new phase of Air Passenger Protection Regulations nationwide. The Canadian Transportation Agency started rolling out some of the new rules earlier this year after they were finalized in May.

Travelers can now hopefully expect better treatment from players in what some may call a notoriously monopolistic and exploitative industry

The set of laws are based on feedback the CTA sourced from the airline industry, travelers and consumer rights groups, and fall under the Canada Transportation Act.

The rules will mandate, among other things, that carriers pay out customers who experience flight delays of three hours or more.

Big airlines will have to pay $400-$1,000, depending on how long the delay. For smaller airlines, the penalty will be $125-$500, with the largest amount of compensation going to passengers who were delayed nine or more hours.

Given that our national airline is known for flight delays and an overall bad customer experience, this is potentially good news for Canadians. The rules will cover all flights to and/or from Canada with any carrier.

But, there is some concern that airlines may jack flight prices up even further to cover new costs as a result of the regulations.

Also, that the specifics of the rules may mean most delayed travelers won't actually see any payment in the end, as the regulations won't find airlines culpable for delays or cancellations caused by "uncontrollable factors" like weather and unforeseen mechanical issues.

(However, experts pointed out to the CBC that if airlines had to compensate consumers for delays due to mechanical issues, the companies would likely opt instead to fly planes when they shouldn't to avoid paying, which is a far worse alternative.)

Many are also taking issue with some other aspects of the new act, such as the fact that the time allowance for tarmac delays has been doubled from 90 minutes to three hours (though passengers must now have access to washrooms, food and drink during these instances).

In addition to the regulations that come into effect this month, rules instituted over the summer mandate that $900-$2,400 be paid to customers who are bumped from flights due to aircraft change or overbooking on behalf of the carrier — a thing that has been quite a common practice in the business.

Affected passengers will have to file a claim for compensation within one year of an incident, and airlines will have to pay up within 30 days. Also, carriers are now required to inform all patrons of their rights and potential entitlement to compensation.

Lead photo by


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Travel

10 places in Canada with the most breathtaking fall colours

This massive corn maze might be the largest in Canada

Canada's 4 biggest airports will now check temperatures of domestic passengers

Barbados wants Canadians to work there for a year

These are the interprovincial travel restrictions in Canada this summer

You can now take a virtual tour of some of Canada's most beautiful national parks

United Airlines just suspended all flights to Canada

10 of the most remote places in Canada to get away from it all