New air passenger rights in Canada

Last updated on May 27, 2019

The federal government settled new rules for air passenger rights. These air passenger rights apply for flight delay compensation, tarmac delays, trip cancellations, overbookings and lost luggage in Canada.

The passenger-rights rules include all flights to, from and within Canada and come in two waves: from July 15 and from December 15.

Starting July 15:

  • Airlines will have to compensate anyone who is denied boarding due to overbooking. For delays of up to 6 hours compensation will be $900, more than 6 hours, but less than 9 hours – $1800; more than 9 hours – $2400. The airline will have to pay compensation at the time the passenger is notified of the denied boarding.
  • Airlines will have to inform passengers clearly about delays, cancellations, denials of boarding, lost or damaged baggage and the seating of children under 14.
  • If a tarmac delay hits 3 hours, airlines will have to let passengers get off planes, unless they are sure that within the next 45 minutes the flight can depart. After the extra time, if the plane still stands in tarmac, passengers have to get off the plane unless there’s a safety or security reason against it. Passengers must have access to lavatories, be provided by food and drinks and the air in the plane must be ventilated during tarmac delays.
  • Compensation for lost or damaged luggage will be up to $2,100.
  • Musical instruments will be allowed as checked or carry-on baggage, but it will be airlines decision on transportation fees and creating policies detailing size restrictions, cabin-storage options

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Starting December 15:

  • A new compensation structure will have effect for any passenger with delayed or cancelled flight. For flight delay between 3 and 6 hours, large airlines (those that transport more than two million passengers annually) will have to pay $400, for 6-9 hours delay – $700 for and for more than 9 hours delay – $1,000. The compensation for smaller airlines is $125, $250 and $500 accordingly.
  • In order to get compensation passengers will have to file a claim with the airline. The Airline will have 30 days to pay out or provide an explanation for not paying.
  • Airlines will have the possibility to offer air passengers to choose cash, vouchers or rebates. The value of non-cash compensation will have to be higher than the cash offer, and can never expire.
  • When a delay takes 2 and more hours, airlines will have to offer food and beverages and amenities such as free Wi-Fi.
  • When a delay takes 3 and more hours, airlines will have to book their passengers the next available flight, if there is no own flight, then a competing airline flight. If rebooking is not appropriate for the passengers, they can receive a refund and an extra $400 from large airlines, and $125 from small carriers.
  • Airlines will have to provide seats next to a parent or guardian at no extra cost for children under age 5. Children 5 to 11 years old can be separated by no more than one seat in the same row, 12 and 13 years old children can’t be separated from guardians by more than one row.

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