How to get compensated if your flight is cancelled in

These tips can keep you from joining the throng of travelers struggling to get a refund

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

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Canceled and delayed flights, lost luggage and incredibly long wait times are some of the problems Canadian travelers are facing this summer. Although Canadian airlines reduced their summer schedule at the end of June, many travelers are still struggling to get travel disruption compensation. If that sounds like you, then here’s what you need to know to get compensation if your flight is canceled in Canada.

know your rights

Canadian travelers should familiarize themselves with the Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR), developed by the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) and effective in 2019. The APPR apply to flights to, from and within Canada, including connecting flights.

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Situations where you may be entitled to make a complaint include:

  • Flight delays and cancellations
  • Lost Baggage
  • Lack of accessible transport for the disabled or elderly
  • Discrimination based on race/religion/gender expression etc.

Should you be in a situation where you need to claim compensation or a refund from an airline, the first step is to contact the airline themselves. If the airline denies your claim, you can file a complaint with the CTA. These claims require a lot of paperwork, so 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 changed. It’s also handy to keep receipts for food or accommodation that you had to buy due to the canceled or delayed flight.

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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 a payment or explaining why no compensation is owed is.

The APPR states that compensation is required for flight cancellations or significant delays that are “within the airline’s control”. For example, if a flight is delayed from three to six hours, passengers on major airlines are entitled to $400 in compensation. If this delay is nine hours or more, passengers are entitled to $1,000.

gaps and changes

However, one of the biggest concerns facing airlines this summer is staffing shortages due to COVID-19. Many airlines say this is out of their control and therefore passengers whose flights were canceled or delayed are not entitled to compensation. This has created a series of problems that have spread beyond airlines to the CTA.

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To fill this regulatory gap, the CTA has announced upcoming changes to the APPR, effective September 8, 2022. These new changes will provide additional measures to benefit the passenger in situations beyond the airline’s control.

Until this regulatory loophole is closed, many Canadians will be denied compensation. In these situations, travel insurance can be helpful. In addition, travelers to Europe can benefit from Regulation EC No. 261/2004. According to this protection regulation, passengers are entitled to 250 to 600 euros in the event of denied boarding, flight delays, flight delays or flight cancellations.

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All travelers should also be aware of the 1999 Montreal Convention (MC99). This convention sets out the airline’s liability in several cases, including flight disruption and delay, damage or loss of baggage and cargo. For your best chance of compensation, you should keep all flight and baggage related documents. You should also photograph your suitcase to have the brand and color at hand. If you have receipts for the items in your luggage, present them with the claim as airlines always undervalue this. That being said, there’s a maximum claim of $1,700, so be sure to check any valuables.

MC99 is a universal treaty intended to regulate airline liability worldwide, so it only applies to international flights between countries that are part of the treaty. Again, make your claim with the airline first, emphasizing the Montreal Convention. If you’re still having trouble getting compensation, contact the CTA.

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More tips on claiming airline compensation

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

Be prepared

Some Canadians are lucky enough to find out about their flight delay or cancellation well in advance. However, there are many others who, just prior to their trip, learn that their flight has been canceled or disrupted.

As this is a possibility, it is best to arrive at the airport prepared for the worst case scenario. That means bringing cash, purchasing travel insurance and downloading the airline app with your ticket information. You might also want to consider a tracking device like AirTags in case of lost luggage.

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Be patient

Should you find yourself in a situation where you want monetary compensation, you must be patient. Erika Lange, who works in customer service for a Canadian airline, shares that it generally should only take travelers 30 days to receive their refund. However, each claim is evaluated by a specialist based on the APPR criteria. It is taking longer than normal due to both COVID-19 and the increased volume of damage.

Be polite

Cook had flights to Amsterdam to see Ed Sheeran at a concert in July but was bumped off her flight back to Canada. She called Air Canada and nicely asked the assistant what happened and how to get home. Mike, the airline agent, informed them that the original flight was fully booked and asked if they had any flexibility on the return date. Sarah agreed to depart a day later than originally scheduled and was upgraded to business class as a thank you for her patience and willingness to be flexible.

This article is informational only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without any guarantee.



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