Canadian Passenger Rights


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16 hours ago, mo32a said:

Our cruise was cancelled, full refund and 25% off any future cruise, airfares refunded through travel agent.

Paid for seat selection on our own and now AC is not answering their phones.

likely because you are caller 1662737 in line right now 

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For Air Canada Today NO..... YES....   Called AC Res yesterday...was on hold 43 minutes.....Explained my problem to agent .........within 5 minutes I had two .pdf files in my email advi

I listened on the radio this afternoon to people complain about this. They had the opportunity on the screen in front of them to protect themselves in the event something like this happened... fu

Yes, I see your point but it's not quite as simple as the airline just cancelled the one flight that a particular person was booked on and refuses to refund. Think of a very simple example; a per

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I had stepped away and this could be my last post but I thought it might be of interest

Determination No. A-2020-42

March 13, 2020
 

DETERMINATION by the Canadian Transportation Agency relating to COVID-19 pandemic – Temporary exemptions to certain provisions of the Air Passenger Protection Regulations, SOR/2019-150 (APPR).

 
Case number: 
20-02750
 

[1] On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization assessed the outbreak of COVID-19 as a pandemic.

[2] Since the outbreak of the virus, a number of countries, including Canada, have imposed travel bans, restrictions, or advisories.

[3] Public health experts have also recommended behaviours, such as enhanced hygiene practices and social distancing, to mitigate the spread of the virus.

[4] The situation is evolving rapidly, and further restrictions relating to travel may be implemented.

[5] The pandemic is causing a significant decrease in demand for air travel. Flying with many empty aircraft seats can result in significant financial difficulties for air carriers, which may therefore decide to cancel or consolidate flights. Due to the evolving nature of the situation and public behaviours, these decisions may need to be made much closer to a scheduled flight day than would normally be the case.

[6] Other aspects of air carrier operations may also be impacted by the pandemic, including but not limited to staff shortages due to quarantines or refusals to work, additional hygiene practices onboard the aircraft, and passenger health screenings. These factors may result in flight delays.

[7] Under the APPR, air carriers have minimum obligations to passengers when flights are cancelled or delayed. Those obligations depend on whether the disruption was within the control of the air carrier, within the air carrier’s control but required for safety, or outside the carrier’s control:

  • Situations within the air carrier’s control: keep the passenger informed, provide standards of treatment (such as food and water), compensate the passenger for inconvenience, and rebook or refund the passenger.
  • Situations within the air carrier’s control but required for safety: keep the passenger informed, provide standards of treatment, and rebook or refund the passenger.
  • Situations outside the air carrier’s control: keep the passenger informed and rebook the passenger so the passenger can complete their itinerary.

[8] Section 10 of the APPR provides a non-exhaustive list of situations considered outside the air carrier’s control (the third category above). These include medical emergencies and orders or instructions from state officials. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the following would be considered outside a carrier’s control:

  • flight disruptions to locations that are covered by a government advisory against travel or unnecessary travel due to COVID-19;
  • employee quarantine or self-isolation due to COVID-19;
  • employee refusal to work under Part II of the Canada Labour Code, R.S.C, 1985, c. L-2, (or equivalent law) due to COVID-19; and
  • additional hygiene or passenger health screening processes put in place due to COVID-19.

[9] Beyond such situations, air carriers may make decisions that are influenced by the pandemic, including decisions to cancel and consolidate flights due to dropping passenger volumes. Whether such situations are within or outside carrier control would have to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. If the disruption was within the air carrier’s control, the air carrier would be subject to more onerous obligations.

[10] In the extraordinary context of this pandemic, reasonable expectations regarding air travel have changed, taking into account government travel bans, restrictions, and advisories; public health practices; and impacts on travel demand and air carrier operations.

CONCLUSION

[11] The Agency finds that, in the context of the significant declines in passenger volumes and disruptions to air carrier operations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, temporary exemptions to the APPR should be made to provide air carriers with increased flexibility to adjust flight schedules without facing prohibitive costs.

[12] Specifically, the Agency finds it undesirable, in the current extraordinary circumstances, that carriers be obligated to provide compensation for inconvenience to passengers who were informed of a flight delay or a flight cancellation more than 72 hours before their original scheduled departure or to passengers who were delayed at destination by less than six hours. The Agency further finds it undesirable that carriers be required to offer alternative travel arrangements that include flights on other air carriers with which they have no commercial agreement.

ORDER

[13] The Agency orders that all air carriers be exempted from:

  • the obligation, under paragraphs 19(1)(a) and 19(1)(b) of the APPR, to pay compensation for inconvenience
    • if the flight delay or the flight cancellation is communicated to passengers more than 72 hours before the departure time indicated on the passengers’ original ticket; or,

       

    • if the flight delay or the flight cancellation is communicated to the passengers within 72 hours of the departure time indicated on the original ticket, on condition that the carrier pays the passengers the following compensation for inconvenience;in the case of a large carrier,
      • in the case of a large carrier,

- $400, if the arrival of the passenger’s flight at the destination that is indicated on the original ticket is delayed by six hours or more, but less than nine hours, or

-  $700, if the arrival of the passenger’s flight at the destination that is indicated on the original ticket is delayed by nine hours or more; and

      • in the case of a small carrier,

- $125, if the arrival of the passenger’s flight at the destination that is indicated on the original ticket is delayed by six hours or more, but less than nine hours, or

- $250, if the arrival of the passenger’s flight at the destination that is indicated on the original ticket is delayed by nine hours or more.

  • the obligation, under subsection 19(2) of the APPR to pay compensation for inconvenience to passengers who opted to obtain a refund instead of alternative travel arrangement, if the flight delay or the flight cancellation is communicated to passengers more than 72 hours before the departure time indicated on the passengers’ original ticket;
  • the obligation, under paragraphs 17(1)(a)(ii),17(1)(a)(iii), and 18(1)(a)(ii) of the APPR to provide a confirmed reservation on a flight operated by a carrier with which the carrier does not have any commercial agreement.

[14] The exemption is effective immediately, will remain valid until April 30, 2020, and may be extended by a further determination of the Agency, if required.

 

Member(s)

Scott Streiner
Elizabeth C. Barker
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'Air Canada is headquartered in Montreal, WestJet in Calgary. If you think the prime minister bent his government, and his reputation, all out of shape to protect SNC-Lavalin a year ago over a supposed 9,000 jobs, imagine the lengths he’ll go to for a Montreal-based airline that carry’s the national flag. And to rescue Air Canada while letting WestJet disappear would be to hand Wexiters a departure visa and an invite to pick their new flag.'

Canada's air passenger bill of rights fails its first big test with COVID-19

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28 minutes ago, dagger said:

I'm scratching my head at the notion that anyone outside of a Postmedia journalist expects Westjet to disappear. Now, whether Gerry Schwartz will like the bailout terms is another matter.

Well Dagger, perhaps the great unwashed (supported by their Lawyers) want the industry to shrink to what it was in the 60 & 70s.  IMO that is exactly where it would be headed. No more 10 flights to chose from but rather 2 or 3 a week and even on Transcon perhaps 6 ow flights a day if even that. That would of course eliminate the Pilot Shortage and even the need to purchase more aircraft, after all we all know that most aircraft (take the DC3 for example) can motor on for 50 or more years as long as properly maintained. Just imagine the self loading freight on an aircraft with no WIFI, NO MOVIES ETC BUT PERHAPS WITH REAL MEAL SERVICE ETC. FOR THOSE WHO COULD AFFORD THE VERY INCREASED FARES.  

Maybe time to get away from open skies and instead return to regulated routes etc.  

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17 hours ago, Marshall said:

Well Dagger, perhaps the great unwashed (supported by their Lawyers) want the industry to shrink to what it was in the 60 & 70s.  IMO that is exactly where it would be headed. No more 10 flights to chose from but rather 2 or 3 a week and even on Transcon perhaps 6 ow flights a day if even that. That would of course eliminate the Pilot Shortage and even the need to purchase more aircraft, after all we all know that most aircraft (take the DC3 for example) can motor on for 50 or more years as long as properly maintained. Just imagine the self loading freight on an aircraft with no WIFI, NO MOVIES ETC BUT PERHAPS WITH REAL MEAL SERVICE ETC. FOR THOSE WHO COULD AFFORD THE VERY INCREASED FARES.  

Maybe time to get away from open skies and instead return to regulated routes etc.  

Sure, Shrink in back to the 60's and 70's and see how many people will pay $3500 to fly to Vancouver from YYZ.  ECONOMY

 

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19 minutes ago, boestar said:

Sure, Shrink in back to the 60's and 70's and see how many people will pay $3500 to fly to Vancouver from YYZ.  ECONOMY

 

Well it would solve a few problems.....  bring back the railways etc. ?

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50 minutes ago, boestar said:

Sure, Shrink in back to the 60's and 70's and see how many people will pay $3500 to fly to Vancouver from YYZ.  ECONOMY

 

Well, when you think about it ....perhaps a good hike in prices might just bring back civility, manners, and courtesy, and an adjusted attitude  to many who feel they are "entitled" to be in  the tubes today and expect premier first class service for their nickels.

ScreenShot001.jpg.b6ae021c21dae4ed6665295523f173fa.jpg

 

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My wife just had a great experience with AC. Had a reservation for a departure next week to an EU country, which won't let her in. Route in question is cancelled, and no connecting flight to her destination from FRA where she could have flown - except that the EU wouldn't have let her in. Got a full cash refund without an argument.

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41 minutes ago, dagger said:

My wife just had a great experience with AC. Had a reservation for a departure next week to an EU country, which won't let her in. Route in question is cancelled, and no connecting flight to her destination from FRA where she could have flown - except that the EU wouldn't have let her in. Got a full cash refund without an argument.

When was her ticket booked ?   What fare class was she in ?

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21 hours ago, Marshall said:

 perhaps the great unwashed (supported by their Lawyers) want the industry to shrink to what it was in the 60 & 70s.

Perhaps this greedy and grasping lot just want their money refunded for a product that wasn't delivered.

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1 hour ago, Airband said:

Perhaps this greedy and grasping lot just want their money refunded for a product that wasn't delivered.

Exactly

It's not an unreasonable request to get your money back vs a credit. COVID or not. The service wasn't provided. If I ordered a GMC pickup, paid for it, and then it wasn't delivered because the manufacturing line shutdown due to COVID I'd be **bleep** if they gave me a credit. I'd want my cash and then if I need a truck now I'd buy one wherever I wanted to. Not only at GM dealership. 

It's not like you can't get to a lot of these places by an alternate means. AC isn't operating to mainline China but I can still get there by other means just like I can still get a GM truck elsewhere too. 

 

Right now online it looks like WJ provides better direct service between YWG and YYZ  than AC ( 3 vs 1) and AC normally offers nearly double the frequency pre-covid.

But.......WJ cancels a lot of them and routes people through YYC. AC only offers one and doesn't cancel. The airlines deserve a lot of the pain they receive... I'm an airline employee but sometimes its embarrassing. 

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Maybe people should read the terms and conditions of their CONTRACT of carriage.  But alas no one does.

Cancellation insurance isn't so expensive sounding now is it?

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AC....YLW to YYZ....Mid April

Was advised I could change the date with no penalty fee (said so on their website.... due to virus....said my charges for the APRIL trip would be applied to the 'new" October flight...same route)

Did as directed.....now have paid in full for 2 flights on same route....Credit was not applied to the October flight

AC said the "would look into it"......nothing so far.

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4 hours ago, Bobcaygeon said:

Exactly

It's not an unreasonable request to get your money back vs a credit. COVID or not. The service wasn't provided. If I ordered a GMC pickup, paid for it, and then it wasn't delivered because the manufacturing line shutdown due to COVID I'd be **bleep** if they gave me a credit. I'd want my cash and then if I need a truck now I'd buy one wherever I wanted to. Not only at GM dealership. 

It's not like you can't get to a lot of these places by an alternate means. AC isn't operating to mainline China but I can still get there by other means just like I can still get a GM truck elsewhere too. 

Your example is disengenuous.  The example you should be using is someone who buys a GMC pickup at a 30% discount to the standard price but the contract is "non-refundable".  Most airlines, as far as I know, do sell fully refundable tickets - they just cost more.  It's up to the consumer to decide how confident they are in all factors aligning for the trip to happen.

I get it.  It's human nature to try to save money and buy the cheapest fare but a "fully refundable" ticket has value as we see now.

Even if there was a big red flashing button and a siren demanding an acknowledgement that the ticket about to be purchased was non-refundable people would still buy it and then complain bitterly on twitter if the trip didn't happen and they were given a voucher instead of a refund.

 

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8 hours ago, Kip Powick said:

 

The young fellow was just exceptional...Sent an email to Res Supervisor advising the agents name/time/date and a few details concerning  the exceptional service.

Yeah, that was me - you're welcome.  ?

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Canadian Transportation Agency says travel vouchers OK for cancelled flights as U.S., EU mandate refunds

Some Canadians were promised refunds but got travel credit instead

 
sophia-harris.JPG
Sophia Harris · CBC News · Posted: Apr 08, 2020 4:00 AM ET | Last Updated: an hour ago
 
The Canadian Transportation Agency states that airlines only need to provide travel vouchers, not refunds, for flights cancelled due to the pandemic. (motive56/Shutterstock)
 

While the Canadian Transportation Agency states airlines only have to offer passengers travel vouchers for cancelled flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both the European Union and the U.S. have declared that — under their rules — passengers are entitled to refunds.

"Canadians should have the same rights to get their refund," said passenger Olinda Vieira of Toronto. Although Sunwing initially promised her family a refund after cancelling their March 17 trip to Cuba, the airline issued a credit for future travel instead, she said.

 

"In my view, they're keeping [my money] hostage."

Vieira is one of dozens passengers who complained to CBC News after receiving a credit or voucher instead of a refund for flights cancelled by Canadian airlines during the pandemic. 

Due to a huge decline in air travel, airlines worldwide have been forced to cancel many flights or, in some cases, suspend operations entirely.

On March 18, the European Commission clarified that airlines must offer refunds for cancelled flights, as laid out in its EU passenger rights regulations

On April 3, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) also ordered airlines to offer refunds during the pandemic. 

"The obligation of airlines to provide refunds … does not cease when the flight disruptions are outside of the carrier's control," said DOT in a statement.

Canadian airlines affected

DOT said its rules also apply to foreign airlines cancelling flights to and from the U.S. That means a Canadian airline cancelling a round-trip flight from, say, Toronto to Miami must offer passengers full refunds. 

According to EU rules, Canadian airlines cancelling flights departing from Europe, including the U.K., must offer up refunds'Wind observations vital to weather forecasting.'

  • 7 days ago
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Lack of air travel around the world could affect the accuracy of weather forecasts. 2:11

On their websites, major Canadian airlines Air Canada, WestJet, Air Transat and Sunwing state they're currently providing credit for cancelled flights which must be redeemed within 24 months. 

CBC News asked all four airlines if they will issue refunds for flights that fall under U.S. and EU rules.

Only Sunwing responded, saying only its cancelled flights to Florida are affected, and that it's waiting on advice from its U.S. lawyers on how to proceed.

Air passenger rights expert Christian Nielsen said airlines are obligated to pay up, but because their revenues have plummeted during the pandemic, passengers may face difficulty collecting refunds under EU and U.S. rules at this time.

"Remember that you have this right to a refund and claim it a little later when that airline's cash situation improves," suggests Nielsen, chief legal officer with AirHelp, a company that pursues compensation claims for passengers for a fee. 

Passengers can also file a complaint with DOT or a European enforcement body for EU passenger rights. 

CTA says it's striking a balance

The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) issued its position on March 25, stating airlines only need to provide travel vouchers for flights cancelled due to the pandemic. 

The airline watchdog said that Canada's air passenger regulations — which cover flights to, from and within Canada — only require that airlines ensure passengers complete their trip for flight cancellations caused by reasons outside of their control.

The agency said in an email to CBC News that its position "strikes a balance" between passengers' rights and airlines, which are suffering financially during the pandemic. 

But passenger Vieira said she feels her rights have been violated because Sunwing initially committed to refunding her cancelled $3,413 March vacation package for herself and two family members. On March 16, the family also saw a message Sunwing posted to Instagram — since deleted — saying that it was issuing refunds.

On the same day, the airline announced in a news release that passengers whose flights were cancelled "will be eligible for a full cash refund." 

Even so, Vieira never got a refund. Instead, she said she learned on March 30 that Sunwing was now offering only travel credits.

"They're going back on their word," she said. "It's very concerning that during these times ... they're trying to keep people's money."

We had to make adjustments

Sunwing had to adjust its policy due to "changing circumstances," said spokesperson Jacqueline Grossman in an email to CBC News. 

"We understand that some customers would have preferred a refund, but are confident that during the next two years they will be able to take the flights or vacations they had planned."

Grossman added that Sunwing's policy is in line with other Canadian airlines and the CTA's statement approving credit for cancelled flights.

But passenger rights expert Nielsen argues that the agency's position isn't an official ruling on the matter.

"It's not legally binding on consumers," he said. "You could take it further — and we actually see a class action already."

In late March, a proposed class-action lawsuit was filed in federal court, targeting Canada's major airlines over issuing credits for trips cancelled due to the pandemic. It has to be certified by a judge before it can proceed.

The CTA declined to comment on the proposed lawsuit and said its current position "provides guidance in a situation without precedent."

The agency added that dissatisfied passengers can file a complaint with the CTA. Vieira's family has done just that. 

However, the family may have to wait a while. The CTA has suspended its complaint operations until June 30 to focus on more urgent matters during the pandemic. 

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Canadian airlines could 'fail' if forced to refund passengers, says transport minister

Passengers argue they're the ones giving interest-free loans to the airline industry

Ashley Burke · CBC News · Posted: May 29, 2020 2:31 PM ET | Last Updated: 1 hour ago
 
Transport Minister Marc Garneau says it's his responsibility to make sure Canada's airlines survive the pandemic. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Transport Minister Marc Garneau says that Canadian airlines could go bankrupt if the ailing industry is compelled to refund passengers billions of dollars for flights cancelled due to the pandemic.

"I have said many times that I have enormous sympathy for those who would have preferred to have a cash refund in these difficult circumstances. It is far from being an ideal situation," Garneau told a press conference earlier today.

 

"At the same time, if airlines had to immediately reimburse all cancelled tickets, it would have a devastating effect on the air sector, which has been reeling since the COVID 19 pandemic started."

Garneau was doubling down on a message he delivered to the House of Commons' pandemic committee on Thursday, when he warned MPs that if airlines "had to reimburse at this time, some of them could fail."

The minister said today it's his responsibility to help Canada's airlines survive the pandemic.

"It is so essential for this country," he said. "This is the second largest country on Earth, with its distances and remote areas, and we expect and need an airline industry in this country."

But his response isn't sitting well with Canadians struggling financially during the pandemic who argue it's their right as consumers to get their money back for flights they never took.

"It's very disappointing and frustrating," said Tammie Fang, an health care essential worker in B.C. "My rights as a consumer have been put aside to help balance the airline industry."

Fang works at a New Westminster hospital assisting with open-heart surgeries. She said she spends much of her spare time calling and emailing Air Transat seeking a refund of roughly $500 for a flight to Toronto she never took. She describes it as an extra burden during an already stressful and financially challenging time.

"It's disheartening," she said. "It's unbelievable how much effort we have to put in."

Airlines' survival versus consumers' rights

Canada's airline industry has been hit hard particularly hard by the pandemic, and most of the country's airline fleet is sitting idle at airports across the country. Airlines are losing 90 per cent of their normal revenue streams and some have put their operations completely on pause.

At the same time, pressure is mounting on the federal government to step in and force airlines to pay back passengers who also are struggling financially. Two petitions with more than 30,000 signatures combined have been submitted to Parliament in recent weeks calling on the government to demand that airlines tapping into taxpayer-funded government supports reimburse grounded passengers.

 
Most large passenger planes around the world have been grounded due to the pandemic. (Nick Oxford/Reuters)

Billions tied up in refunds

For the most part, Canadian airlines are offering those passengers travel vouchers redeemable for two years. Air Canada also announced last week that it's allowing people to transfer their tickets to others, which could permit ticket holders to sell them. The Canadian Transportation Agency has said offering vouchers could be a reasonable measure in the current circumstances.

Air Canada's books are open, since it's a publicly traded company. It has about $2.6 billion tied up in ticket sales for future travel over the next year.

Garneau's office said the industry-wide figure is in the billions of dollars. When CBC asked Transport Canada for specific numbers, it was told the figures the government receives from airlines amount to proprietary information that it isn't authorized to release.

Government in talks with airlines and consumers

Outside Rideau Cottage today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau repeated a message he's delivered in the past — that the government has to strike the right balance between keeping airlines afloat and preserving consumer's rights. 

"I hear clearly the concerns that Canadians have around their air tickets," said Trudeau. "We will continue to work with the industry and with concerned groups of Canadians to ensure that we find a fair way through this. 

"But I know Canadians at the same time want to make sure we continue to have an airline industry after this very difficult pandemic."

The government is in talks with airlines and is looking to see what other countries have done with travel refunds. It's expected to deliver an update on the file in the coming weeks.

 
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the government is in talks with airlines and consumers to try and find a fair approach to refunds for cancelled flights. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
 
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