Passenger checks display board for flight status
The airline industry has experienced a fair bit of turbulence since COVID restrictions were lifted and passengers rushed to the skies. Travellers facing delays and cancelled flights might therefore be interested to know what recourse they have for the time and expense of their disrupted trip. The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) finalized the Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR) in 2019 with the goal of ensuring passengers enjoy a safe and reliable experience when flying within or to and from the country and are not left stranded or out of pocket due to circumstances beyond their control.
Delays, Cancellations, and Denied Boarding - One of the significant aspects of the APPR is the protection it offers passengers against flight disruptions. The regulations set out clear rules for compensation and assistance in the case of a delay, cancellation, or being denied boarding. Passengers are entitled to compensation, meals, accommodation, and alternative travel options when necessary.
Communication - During a flight disruption, airlines are required to keep passengers regularly informed. As soon as feasible, they must explain why the flight has been disrupted via audible or visible announcement or a passengers chosen communication method (e.g. text message). Then they must provide flight status updates at least every 30 minutes until a new departure time has been confirmed.
It's important to note that passengers also have the right to be informed about their rights, and the regulations emphasize that the airlines must be transparent in all communications. This enables passengers to make informed decisions regarding their travel plans.
Disembarking - If there are delays on the tarmac, airlines must provide passengers with the option to disembark after three hours. This provision ensures that passengers are not left in uncomfortable conditions for extended periods.
Lost or Damaged Baggage - The APPR stipulates that airlines are responsible for passengers' checked baggage, including compensation for lost or damaged items. The compensation varies depending on the circumstances so you will want to check the APPR language to assess how much you are entitled to.
Families with Young Children - The APPR also has stipulations for families traveling with young children. Airlines are required to make reasonable efforts to ensure that a child under the age of 14 is seated adjacent to a parent, guardian, or tutor at no extra cost. This provision is intended to reduce parent stress and ensure the children’s safety and well-being during the flight.
By offering all of these protections and rights, the APPR gives passengers the confidence to navigate the skies, knowing that their journey will be smoother, more comfortable, and less stressful. It's a significant step toward ensuring that air travel in Canada is not just efficient but also passenger-centric, making travel a more pleasant and hassle-free experience for all.
Did you know?
Other countries and jurisdictions have their own passenger rights regulations. According to the consumer advocacy group Air Passenger Rights, the framework in the European Union/European Economic Area is the gold standard for passenger protection. Take this quick quiz to test your passenger rights knowledge and visit the Air Passenger Rights site for comprehensive information.