Airline passenger rights: get up to 600€ / 700 US$ / 900 CA$ for your flight delays!

To the point Here are the different rights of air passengers to/from Canada but also to/from the European Union.

Are you aware of your rights as an air passenger? I will try to present them to you whether you are traveling from Canada or from the European Union.

Air Passenger Rights in Canada

While not as extensive as those in the European Union, air passenger rights in Canada do exist.

Outline of your rights

For Canadian air carriers, when a flight is cancelled or delayed due to force majeure, the passenger has little recourse to the airline. It will be case by case to get redress.

But when the company is responsible for the delay or cancellation, the passenger can claim:

  • The cost of the hotel room
  • The meals
  • Communication costs
  • Loss of work income

However, this will often involve small claims litigation in order to win the case. Try to negotiate with your company before you get to that point and, above all, keep all your receipts.

Check your credit card insurance.

If you paid for your ticket with it, you may be covered for some expenses due to delay or cancellation.

Here are the web pages of the main rights:

Organizations to help you

Airline customer services

First of all, it is necessary totry to find an arrangement with your airline. Here is the site where you will find the list of customer services of the major airlines serving Canada.

If after 30 days there is no response to your problem, you can then turn to the Canadian Transportation Agency.

Canadian Transportation Agency

If you have not received satisfaction after 30 days, it is time to “escalate” your situation to theCanadian Transportation Agency. The Canadian Transportation Agency’s complaint resolution forms are available on this site.

transport canadaYou can also contact the Canadian Transportation Agency at 1-888-222-2592. C
he latter only deals with the “air transportation” portion of your trip.

If you have had a problem with “ground services”, then you should contact one of the provincial or territorial government agencies that deal with traveller complaints.

Office de la protection du consommateur (Quebec)

If you booked your trip with a Quebec travel agency, you may be covered by the“Fonds d’indemnisation des clients des agents de voyage” (Travel Agents’ Compensation Fund) .

office logoTo find out if this is the case for you, you can contact the OPC at 1-888-672-2556.

From / To the European Union

The European Union goes much further in protecting the air traveler.

Outline of your rights

Your rights as an airline passenger apply:

  • if your flight is within the EU and is operated by an airline established in the EU or outside the EU;
  • if your flight arrives in the EU from a non-EU country and is operated by an EU airline;
  • if your flight departs from an airport located in the EU to a country outside the EU and is operated by an airline established in the EU or outside the EU;
  • if you have not already received benefits (compensation, re-routing or airline assistance), in accordance with the applicable legislation of a non-EU country, for problems related to a flight during the trip concerned.

So if you are flying from Canada to the EU on Air France, Lufthansa or Swiss, you are eligible!

However, if you fly with Air Transat, Air Canada or Westjet… you will not be covered for the outbound flight (Canada – EU)…

but you will be covered for the return flight (EU – Canada) by all airlines including North American airlines!

flag on map of Europe

Refund or re-routing

If you are denied boarding, or if your flight is cancelled or overbooked, you are entitled to

  • rerouting to your final destination under comparable conditions or,
  • reimbursement of your ticket and, if necessary, free re-routing to your point of departure.

If your flight is delayed by 5 hours or more, you can also request a refund (the company is then no longer obliged to help you).

In all cases, the airline must inform you of your rights and explain why your flight was cancelled or delayed (for any delay of more than 2 hours, or 4 hours for flights over 3,500 km).


This is the most interesting part because… concrete!

You can be compensated in 4 cases

  • if you are denied boarding
  • if your flight is cancelled
  • if your flight arrives more than 3 hours late at its final destination
  • if your luggage is lost, damaged or delayed

To be compensated, it must not be due to exceptional circumstances (weather conditions for example) beyond the company’s control.

For delays and cancellations, the compensation will be between 250 and 600 euros depending on the distance of the flight:

In the EU

  • Up to 1 500 km: 250 euros
  • More than 1 500 km: 400 euros

Between an airport in the EU and an airport outside the EU

  • Up to 1 500 km: 250 euros
  • From 1 500 to 3 500 km: 400 euros
  • More than 3 500 km: 600 euros

Example: Your Paris-Montreal flight arrives 3.5 hours late in Paris, you are entitled to a compensation of 600 euros!

N.B.: In the direction North America – EU, the company must be European to be entitled to compensation. Therefore, Air Transat or Air Canada does not have this right. However, in the other direction, they are obliged to compensate!

For lost, damaged or delayed luggage, the airline is responsible and must pay you a compensation of approximately 1,300 euros. However, if the damage is due to a defect in the baggage itself, you are not entitled to any compensation.

If you wish to file a claim for lost or damaged baggage, you must do so in writing to the airline within 7 days, or within 21 days of retrieving your baggage if it was delayed. There is no standard form at European level.

Organizations to help you

First of all, you will need to contact the airline by sending them a“European Airline Passenger Rights Complaint Formwhich you can download from this page.

These are procedures that you can do yourself.

Companies like Air Help make it easy for you to get compensation from airlines in exchange for a commission on the amount paid by the airline.

AirHelp takes care of everything: you indicate the problematic flights, some information about you, and the company will collect the compensation due to you.


In addition, you can have AirHelp scan your emails to see if there are other flights you have taken in the past that could qualify for compensation!

airhelp import flights
Import of past flights on AirHelp

The national competent body

If you do not receive a satisfactory response from the airline, you will have to turn to the appropriate national agency in the EU country where the incident occurred (or to which you were traveling).

You will find a list of these organizations on this page.

EU Air Passenger Rights FAQ

You will find all the answers to your questions on this page.

Bottom line

So you can see that. If you are traveling to or from the European Union, it is best to do so on an EU airline to be almost certain of getting compensation in case of a problem.

Don’t hesitate to check your credit card insurance, which in many cases covers expenses caused by flight delays or cancellations.

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!
Jean-Maximilien is an expert in Canada and France about Loyalty programs, Credit cards and Travel. He is the Founding President of Milesopedia.

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