Fight or flight: Passengers take matters into their own hands after Air Canada delay

May 26 2023, 7:37 pm

Air Canada has been ordered to pay two passengers for a flight delay that caused them to arrive nearly eight hours later than they were initially supposed to.

Inayat Singh and Suk Young Yoon were the two passengers impacted by the flight delays, and they claimed $1,400 based on the $700 per passenger for flight delay compensation under the Air Passenger Protection Regulation (APPR).

While Air Canada admitted the delay resulted from “crew constraints,” it said the constraints were due to COVID-19 and outside of its control.

“Air Canada said the applicants must prove otherwise and have not done so.”

Or did they? Here’s what the BC Civil Resolution Tribunal decided.

In this proceeding, Air Canada didn’t submit any evidence or written arguments about the claims of the passengers.

The passengers were booked on a flight scheduled to leave Victoria, BC, on August 22, 2021, at 12:30 am and scheduled to arrive in Toronto at 7:56 am. However, a few hours before the flight was to take off, it was cancelled, and Air Canada said at the time that it was due to “crew constraints resulting from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our operations.”

After being rebooked, the passengers arrived in Toronto by 3:30 pm, or over 7.5 hours after the originally scheduled arrival time.

After he requested compensation under the APPR, Air Canada told Singh that crew constraints are “considered required for safety and compensation under APPR does not apply.”

The tribunal was not impressed by Air Canada’s response.

The tribunal member overseeing the case said, “I find it insufficient for Air Canada to simply assert that it was outside its control or due to safety concerns, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Second, I also am not prepared to accept the vague and unsupported assertion that I must consider the aviation ecosystem as a whole and find that the applicants’ particular flight delay was outside Air Canada’s control or done for safety reasons.”

According to the tribunal, Air Canada failed to prove that the delay was outside its control.

Ultimately, Air Canada was forced to pay the two passengers $843.39 and $718.39, respectively.

“It is undisputed that, for large carriers like Air Canada, sections 10, 12, and 19 of the APPR provide $700 in compensation per passenger for flight delays between 6 and 9 hours, where the delay was within the airline’s control. I find that applies here, where the delay was 7.5 hours. I allow the applicants’ claimed $1,400 for flight delay compensation, under the APPR.”

If you travel a lot, it might be worth checking out the APPR and knowing your flight rights.


Amir AliAmir Ali

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