TORONTO — Dealing with a flight delay can be one of the most frustrating experiences for travellers. So what exactly are you entitled to as a passenger? Well, it depends on which airline you’re flying with and what the scenario is.
Here’s a look at some of your options.
If your WestJet flight is delayed within Canada, you are entitled to:
If your Air Canada flight is delayed, you are entitled to:
The policies are an update from 2013, when the company said it had “no set written policy for handling these sorts of problems” and operated on “a case-by-case basis when dealing with them.”
Sunwing’s policies also appear to have been revamped in the last two years. Previously, compensation was dealt with on a “case-by-case basis” and there was no compensation provided for delays less than eight hours.
Now, Sunwing passengers who are delayed can expect the following:
A Porter spokesperson said the airline has “policies in place to help mitigate costs for certain situations.”
“When a flight is cancelled for uncontrollable reasons (e.g. weather) expenses are not covered, unless the passenger is stuck overnight mid-connection. If a flight is cancelled due to a controllable issue with the airline, we will provide accommodations.”
According to the Porter’s conditions of carriage (section 16.1), passengers can try to seek reimbursement for expenses resulting from delays by submitting a written claim, accompanied by proof.
There was no Expedia spokesperson available for comment, but in 2013 the company’s vice president and managing director, Sean Shannon, told us the following:
“When a customer books a flight through Expedia.ca, the contractual obligation is between the ticket issuer (in this case, the airline) and the customer. As such, the customer is bound to the rules and regulations imposed by the airlines as they relate to flight delays and regulations. These conditions vary by airline.”
To avoid disappointment, Expedia.ca encourages customers to familiarize themselves with the terms and conditions imposed by the airlines before they book. They also encourage travellers to check the status of their flight before heading to the airport. Should customers encounter a flight delay, they may contact Expedia.ca customer support agents who are available 24/7 to provide assistance as required. If a delay occurs once the person has checked in, the airline has full control of the booking and is, therefore, best equipped at handling the reservation. Nonetheless, should a customer contact Expedia.ca, the company will advocate with the airline on the customer’s behalf.
There is no legislation or rule in Canada stating that airlines or travel companies legally have to do anything for you if a flight is delayed.
Every airline has a “Contract of Carriage,” which must be on the company’s website. Passengers are advised to read it and check flight delay policies before booking.
If a passenger feels that a carrier has not complied with its terms and conditions, a complaint can be filed with the Canadian Transportation Agency. However, the passenger first needs to try and address the matter directly with the carrier.
If that doesn’t work, and if the CTA finds the carrier didn’t fulfill its obligations to passengers, the agency can order the carrier to compensate passengers for out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of the delay.
It cannot, however, order compensation to passengers for their pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment; nor can it impose penalties, or order the carrier to compensate every passenger on a flight for failing to follow its own terms and conditions.
So before you book, read the fine print, and remember that you usually get what you pay for. Also, if a delay does occur, try to be patient with staff and approach them to request hotel or meal vouchers if the delay is long enough.
You can learn more about your flight rights on the Transport Canada website.Follow @TrishKozicka
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