Are you getting the compensation you deserve from airlines?

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]We’re all so used to flight delays, overbookings, lost luggage and other minor airline issues that it’s easy to forget that your airline ticket is a contract— when an airline does not provide the services you paid for, the law requires it to keep you informed, treat you fairly and offer a solution or a refund.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”20px”][vc_column_text]The Canadian Transportation Agency, backed by the terms of the Canada Transportation Act, makes sure that carriers fully respect the rights of air travellers and that they keep their promises.

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”20px”][vc_column_text]The Canadian Transportation Agency provides assistance in two ways:[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”20px”][vc_column_text]1)

It offers informal dispute resolution processes, which include facilitation and mediation services, for passengers who are not satisfied with how a carrier dealt with their issue such as lost baggage or cancelled flights. After first trying to resolve their issues with the carrier and giving them 30 days to respond, passengers can file a complaint with the Agency through its Complaint Wizard.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”20px”][vc_column_text]

2)

It offers a court-like complaint process for passengers who want to challenge a carrier’s policies (tariff provisions) as being unclear, unreasonable or discriminatory, for such things as compensation when they are denied boarding or are not adequately informed of changes in flight schedules.

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To learn more, consult the Canadian Transportation Agency’s air complaints section at www.cta-otc.gc.ca.


You can contact the Agency by calling 1-888-222-2592 or by email at [email protected]

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In 2008, the Canadian Government introduced Flight Rights Canada, a voluntary six point code of conduct for Canada’s airlines. Here’s a sample of these points:

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1)    Passengers have a right to information on flight times and schedule changes.

Airlines must make reasonable efforts to inform passengers of delays and schedule changes and to the extent possible, the reason for the delay or change.

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2)    Passengers have a right to take the flight they paid for. If the plane is over-booked or cancelled, the airline must:

a) find the passenger a seat on another flight operated by that airline;

b) buy the passenger a seat on another carrier with whom it has a mutual interline traffic agreement; or

c) refund the unused portion of the passenger’s ticket.

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3)    Passengers have a right to punctuality.

a) If a flight is delayed and the delay between the scheduled departure of the flight and the actual departure of the flight exceeds 4 hours, the airline will provide the passenger with a meal voucher.

b) If a flight is delayed by more than 8 hours and the delay involves an overnight stay, the airline will pay for an overnight hotel stay and airport transfers for passengers who did not start their travel at that airport.

c) If the passenger is already on the aircraft when a delay occurs, the airline will offer drinks and snacks if it is safe, practical and timely to do so. If the delay exceeds 90 minutes and circumstances permit, the airline will offer passengers the option of disembarking from the aircraft until it is time to depart.

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Basically, you need to know your rights before you travel. A delay you may think is just an annoyance may actually entitle you to some sort of refund.

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Read the rest of the six point code of conduct here.

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Canada still has some catching up to do when it comes to rights for passengers and needs to get in line with other jurisdictions. The NDP recently tried to fight for the rights of consumers, but apparently we don’t complain enough! There were only 518 complaints out of the 78.4 million passenger flights travelled, so the bill wasn’t passed.

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Although the bill was defeated, consumer advocates still fought— and achieved some results:

Air Canada must now compensate $100 cash or a $200 voucher for people who are bumped from overbooked flights.

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Flight delays were also addressed:

Consumers are entitled to $200, $400, or $800 per passenger depending on whether a delay was less than two hours, between two and six hours, or more than 6 hours.

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Unfortunately for many people affected in winter, when weather more often comes into play, the airlines bear no responsibility for delays.

Neither European nor Canadian airlines are required to compensate passengers for long delays or cancellations when those delays or cancellations are due to extraordinary circumstances such as bad weather.

The airline’s responsibility is simply to fly you out at the earliest opportunity. Air Canada offers $40 compensation per day for meals, although you aren’t always guaranteed the full amount.

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By comparison, in the U.S., If your plane is delayed by one hour you are owed up to $650 and 400% of your one-way ticket price and up to $1,300 if you’re delayed by 2 or more hours.

When your flight is oversold and you are denied boarding, U.S. law requires an airline to pay you 200% of your one-way ticket price.

However, this is where a well-timed complaint comes into play: as a rule, airlines do not voluntarily offer you the full amount in cash, instead, they offer travel vouchers worth a fraction of what you are entitled to.

Also in the U.S., if an airline loses or damages your luggage the Department of Transportation requires that the airline must compensate you for the value of the contents, up to a maximum or $3,300.

Again, most customers – whether out of lack of knowledge or lack of resources – will not fight to receive the amount they are entitled to and settle for travel vouchers instead of disputing in court.

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Next time you travel, make sure you do your research. Don’t let an airline win you over with travel vouchers when you could be entitled to far more.

And even though you may be loathe to bother – do complain! That way, when it’s time for another shot at an Airline Passenger Bill of Rights, there will be more support and it might go through.

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If you need some resolution, your first step is to get in touch with the airline’s Customer Service Department .

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If they aren’t willing to help, your next step is to contact the Canadian Transportation Agency.

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Why trust your booking to the internet? Let us make your holiday perfect. Call or email Jill: 416.926.2500

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If you need some resolution, your first step is to get in touch with the airline’s Customer Service Department .

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If they aren’t willing to help, your next step is to contact the Canadian Transportation Agency.

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