Do you know passengers can be compensated if their Canadian flights get canceled? Learn how to go about it.

With COVID-19 restrictions easing up in Canada and abroad, many Canadians are excited to get back to travel. However, the return to summer vacations hasn’t been nearly as smooth as the travel industry and passengers had hoped.

Cancelled and delayed flights, lost baggage, and incredibly long wait times are some of the issues that Canadian travelers are experiencing this summer. Despite Canadian airlines reducing their summer flight schedule at the end of June, many travelers are still having trouble receiving compensation for travel disruptions. If that sounds like you, then here’s what you need to know to get compensated if your flight is canceled in Canada.

How To Get Compensated If Your Canadian Flights Was Canceled

 

Know your rights

Canadian travellers should familiarize themselves with the Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR), which were developed by the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) and came into effect in 2019. The APPR covers flights to, from, and within Canada, including connecting flights.

Situations, where you may be eligible for filing a complaint, include:

  • Flight delays and cancellations
  • Lost luggage
  • Lack of accessible transportation for the disabled or elderly
  • Discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender expression, etc.

Should you be in a position where you need to request compensation or a refund from an airline, the first step is to go to the airline itself. If the airline denies your claim, you can then file a complaint with the CTA. These claims do require a lot of paperwork, so make sure to keep all documents related to your flight. This includes the original flight details (flight number, airline, date, and time), and any official notification that your flight has been changed. It’s also handy to hold onto any receipts from food or accommodation that you needed to purchase as a result of the canceled or delayed flight.

Under the APPR, you have up to one year to make a claim (in writing) against the airline, and the airline then has 30 days to respond by either issuing payment or explaining why compensation is not owed.

The APPR states that compensation is required for flight cancellations or significant delays that are “within the carrier’s control.” For example, for a flight delay of three to six hours, passengers on large airlines are entitled to compensation of $400. If that delay extends to nine hours or more, passengers are entitled to $1,000.

 

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Loopholes and amendments

However, one of the biggest issues airlines have this summer is crew shortages due to COVID-19. Many airlines are stating that this is beyond their control and, as such, passengers who have had their flights canceled or delayed are not entitled to any compensation. This has resulted in a number of problems that have extended past the airlines and onto the CTA.

In an effort to fix this gap in regulations, the CTA has announced upcoming amendments to the APPR that will take effect on Sept. 8, 2022. These new amendments will provide additional measures benefitting the passenger in situations that are considered outside the airline’s control.

Until this gap in regulations is bridged, many Canadians are finding themselves denied compensation. In these situations, travel insurance may come in handy. Additionally, travelers to Europe can take advantage of Regulation EC No. 261/2004. Under this protective regulation, passengers have legally entitled to 250 to 600 Euros if they are denied boarding, bumped from their flight, have a delayed flight, or if the flight is canceled.

All travelers should also be aware of the Montreal Convention 1999 (MC99). This treaty establishes airline liability in several cases, including flight disruption and delay, damage, or loss of baggage and cargo. For your best chance at receiving compensation, make sure to keep all flight and luggage-related documents. You should also take photographs of your suitcase to have on hand, showing the brand and color. If you have receipts for the items in your luggage, submit those with the claim since airlines will always undervalue them. That being said, there is a maximum claim of US $1,700, so be mindful of checking any valuables.

MC99 is a universal treaty meant to govern airline liability worldwide, so it is only applicable to international flights between countries that are part of the treaty. Again, make your claim with the airline first and emphasize the Montreal Convention. If you still have problems receiving compensation, take the claim to the CTA.

 

More tips for requesting compensation from airlines

The regulations above help you better understand when you should receive compensation or a refund from the airline. However, travelers and airline employees have a few other suggestions to help with the process.

 

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Be prepared

Some Canadians are lucky in that they learn about their flight delay or cancellation well in advance. However, there are many others who find out that their flight has been canceled or disrupted right before their time of travel.

Since this is a possibility, it’s best to arrive at the airport prepared for worst-case scenarios. This means bringing cash, purchasing travel insurance, and downloading the airline app with your ticketing information. You might also want to consider a tracking device like AirTags in the case of lost baggage.

 

Be patient

Should you end up in a situation where you are seeking financial compensation, you’ll need to be patient. Erika Lange, who works in customer service for a Canadian airline, shares that generally speaking it should only take 30 days for travelers to receive their reimbursement. However, each claim is assessed by a specialist based on the APPR criteria. Due to both COVID-19 and the increased volume in claims, it’s taking longer than normal.

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Be kind

Roy had flights to Amsterdam to catch Ed Sheeran in concert in July but ended up being bumped off his flight back to Canada. He called Air Canada and nicely asked the assisting agent what had happened and how she could get back home. Meek, the airline agent, told them that the original flight was fully booked and asked if they had any flexibility in their return date. Roy agreed to leave a day later than originally planned and was upgraded to business class as a thank you for his patience and willingness to be flexible.

 

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