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.
We made a promise to Canadian passengers to ensure they are treated with the fairness and respect they deserve. After long and thorough consultation with Canadians, I am proud to announce that our government’s new air passenger protection regulations have been finalized. pic.twitter.com/QakDnlbBSs— Marc Garneau (@MarcGarneau) May 24, 2019
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.
Canadians are finally getting access to the passenger rights they deserve. That’s why we implemented changes to the Air Passenger Protection Regulations. pic.twitter.com/tImV93BMqH— Gagan Sikand (@gagansikand) July 17, 2019
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.)
And fares will increase! Don’t ever think the airlines are going to pay for this!— smithrockchalets cathy (@smithrockchale1) May 24, 2019
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).
As a former flight attendant I have serious reservations about increasing the tarmax delay time from 90 minutes to 3 hours.— Sulemaan Ahmed (@sulemaan) May 26, 2019
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.
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