Canadians will soon be eligible for up to $1,000 compensation for delayed flights, thanks to the second phase of The Canadian Transportation Agency’s (CTA) new rules coming into effect this weekend.
Beginning December 15, 2019, airlines will have to do the following:
- Provide compensation of up to $1,000 for flight delays and cancellations within an airline’s control that are not safety-related
- Rebook or refund passengers when flights are delayed, including, in some cases, using a competing airline to get passengers to their destination
- Provide food, drink, and accommodation when passengers’ flights are delayed
- Facilitate the seating of children under 14 years in close proximity to an accompanying adult, at no extra charge
Different amounts of compensation based on delays
The regulations focus specifically on reimbursing passengers for flight disruptions, delays, and cancellations, and they apply to all airlines flying to and from Canada.
The amount of compensation will depend on the size of the airline and the length of delay at their arrival at the final destination.
Passengers will have one year to make a compensation claim, and the airline will have 30 days to respond by either issuing payment to the customer or informing them why they aren’t eligible.
Airlines can also offer compensation in the form of vouchers or rebates, but “passengers will always have the right to select what they prefer,” says the CTA.
After a two-hour delay at departure, the airline operating the disrupted flight will have to provide passengers food and drink in “reasonable quantities” and an electronic means of communication such as free WiFi.
If the delay is expected to extend overnight, the airline will have to offer a hotel or “other comparable” accommodation free of charge and free transportation to said accommodation.
Rebooking and refunds
Airlines operating the flight will also need to ensure passengers reach their final destination for any types of flights or cancellations.
When the flight reaches a three-hour delay, the airline needs to rebook the passenger on their next available flight.
If the flight cancellation is within the control of the airline and not related to safety matters the airline will have to do the following:
- Rebook passengers in the same class of service
- Rebook the passenger on another (competing) airline if their own next available flight departs 9 or more hours after the passenger’s original departure time (this will be a requirement for larger airlines)
Passengers will be entitled to receive a ticket refund and compensation for inconvenience ($400 for large airlines and $125 for small airlines) if the flight cancellation is within the airline’s control and not related to safety reasons and rebooking doesn’t meet the customer’s travel needs.
The first phase of new rules came into effect summer 2019
Some of the CTA’s new regulations already came into effect as of July 15.
The first set of regulations required airlines to do the following:
- Communicate to passengers in a simple, clear way providing information on their rights and recourses and regular updates in the event of flight delays and cancellations
- Provide compensation of up to $2,400 for bumping a passenger for reasons within their control
- Ensure passengers receive standards of treatment during all tarmac delays and allow them to leave the airplane, when it’s safe to do so (if a tarmac delay lasts for over three hours and there’s no prospect of an imminent take-off)
- Provide compensation for lost or damaged baggage of up to $2,100 and a refund of any baggage fees
- Set clear policies for transporting musical instruments
‘The Air Passenger Protection Regulations establish a clear, consistent set of minimum airline obligations towards passengers if, for example, their flight is delayed or cancelled, they’re bumped from an overbooked flight, they sit on a plane during a tarmac delay, or their bag is lost or damaged,” said Scott Streiner, chair and CEO of the Canadian Transportation Agency, in a statement made earlier this year.
“Thousands of Canadians participated in the consultations that helped shape these new rules. We’re grateful for their input and confident that these groundbreaking regulations will help ensure passengers are treated fairly if their air travel doesn’t go smoothly.”
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