Air Traveller Rights

More than half (56%) of Canadians still don't know they have new rights as air travellers, according to research released by the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA). 

Changes made to the air passenger rights in December 2019:air passenger rights

  • Cash compensation for delays and cancellations of more than three hours within the carrier’s control.
  • Airlines will be required to rebook and/or refund travel that is delayed or cancelled, depending on circumstances.
  • Airlines will also have to facilitate seating of children under the age of 14 with their parent/guardian, at no cost.

Changes made to the air passenger rights in July 2019:

  • Airlines must inform travellers in simple, clear and concise language what their rights are on all itinerary-related documents and messaging.
  • Overbooking: Compensation up to $2,400 for being involuntarily bumped from a flight and no cost re-booking.
  • Increases to an airline’s maximum liability on domestic flights for lost or damaged baggage to match current international flight limits and the requirement to refund any baggage fees paid.
  • Tarmac delays: Airlines will be required to provide standard of treatment (access to toilets, heating/cooling, refreshments, etc.) beginning at the time of the delay. Airlines will also have to disembark passengers no later than 3 hours after the delay starts.

CAA will continue to advocate on behalf of travellers for better and more clear rights. Here is what is still missing, in our view:

  • The proposed rules will, in most cases, require travellers to file a claim with an airline in order to get compensation, even when it is obvious a plane was many hours late.
  • In addition, there will be no compensation if a problem is caused by “mechanical issues” – the definition of which is not clear.
  • Air travel performance data which allows Canadians to judge whether the new regime is working won’t be available for a period after implementation of the regulations.