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Changes to the Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR)

To the point Changes to the Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR) that protect passengers on flights in and out of Canada.

The Airline Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR) were introduced in December 2019, just before the pandemic.

For the past two years, the RPPA has been put to the test. However, there are several shortcomings with this charter in regards to situations that are out of the airline’s control.

For example, the labour shortage is a carrier-driven situation. However, if the underlying cause is a COVID-19 outbreak among the crew, would the lack of personnel then be considered a circumstance out of control?

Covid-19 Dépistage

As a result, the Canadian Transportation Agency has just announced changes to better protect passengers in the event of a flight delay or cancellation beyond the control of the carrier.

These changes will take effect on September 8, 2022.

Review of the Air Passenger Protection Regulations

The Air Passenger Protection Regulations are a passenger bill of rights that dictate the minimum obligations that airlines must fulfill to the travelling public.

All airlines operating flights to and from Canada must comply.

This article discusses the Air Passenger Protection Regulations and the compensation you may receive following a flight delay or cancellation. To know your rights in case of flight schedule changes, click here.

Selecting seats for children

Under the Airline Passenger Protection Regulations, carriers must assign seats near a parent (or guardian) at no additional charge. This rule applies to youth under the age of 14. After that, the specific proximity is determined by the age of the child.

  • Under 5 years old: adjacent to a parent
  • Between 5 and 11 years old: in the same row and cannot be separated by more than one seat with the parent
  • Between 11 and 13 years old: cannot be separated more than one row with the parent

To ensure you have side-by-side benches with your children between the ages of 5 and 13, you can use the travel credits with National Bank’s World Elite Mastercard® and the HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® for seat selection.

With the Revenge Travel phenomenon, it’s better to be in full control when you can!

Flight delay and cancellation

The Airline Passenger Protection Regulations state that you can be compensated and that you must be treated with a minimum of standards when your flight is delayed or cancelled.

The PAPR guidelines will be amended to benefit consumers in this area. During the current pandemic period, schedule changes, as well as delayed and cancelled flights, have become commonplace.

Since the beginning of the RPPA, airlines are required to pay you monetary compensation if they were responsible for the late arrival at your destination.

The situations attributable to the airline are:

  • commercial overbooking
  • mandatory routine maintenance of the aircraft
  • mechanical failures found during routine maintenance
  • delay or cancellation of a flight due to lack of crew
  • communication of flight change or cancellation within 14 days of departure

In these situations, the carrier’s responsibilities are:

  • offer meals or meal coupons
  • provide accommodation and return transportation if the delay is overnight
  • offer an alternative route (including another airline) to the destination if the delay is more than 9 hours
  • offer the possibility of a refund

Compensation varies according to the time incurred if the company is responsible:

Delay Large companies Small companies
between 3 and 6 hours $400 $125
between 6 and 9 hours $700 $250
9 hours and more $1,000 $500

Changes to the Air Travellers' Protection Regulations

As of September 8, 2022, travelers will also be protected against situations that are categorized as “out of control” by the carrier such as weather delays, strikes, COVID-19, etc.

The RPPA rules regarding delays due to company circumstances remain unchanged.

The 48-hour window

In the event of a delay of more than 3 hours, the Air Passenger Protection Regulations require the carrier to rebook you on another confirmed flight according to your preferences. The latter (their aircraft or another airline) must be within 48 hours of the departure time of your initial flight.

If the airline is unable to rebook you on another flight within the 48-hour window, you will have the option of receiving a refund or booking a later flight.

However, there will be no compensation if the cause of the delay is beyond their control.

Finally, if you request a refund, it must be given to you within 30 days.

Before September 8, for situations considered out of their control, the carrier was not obligated to rebook you on another flight within a specific time frame or to offer a refund. The company was only required to take you to your destination. This is a modification that is in the passenger’s favour.

However, this new rule will not solve the problem in all situations. For example, if you were scheduled to leave for a Friday-Sunday getaway to New York, the carrier does not have to reimburse you if they can reschedule you on another flight within 48 hours of your original flight; your 3-day getaway may turn into a daytrip.

The method of reimbursement

Beginning September 8, 2022, if the carrier is unable to issue you a new confirmed ticket within 48 hours of your original departure, you may request a refund.

A refund of the unused portion of the ticket must be made in the original form of payment for flight delays and cancellations for reasons beyond the airline’s control. The carrier may also issue a travel credit if and only if it does not have an expiration date.

Travel insurance

Travel insurance should not be overlooked even though the RPPA protects against flight delays and cancellations. For example, a flight delay could result in the loss or late arrival of your luggage!

The Air Passenger Protection Regulations assure that the carrier must book you on another flight within 48 hours. However, if your bags get lost in the airport rush, good insurance will reimburse you to replace your belongings. So, you can buy your bathing suits and start your vacation at your all-inclusive resort.

Travel insurance from National Bank’s World Elite Mastercard® is the best in the market. Since you’ll probably be paying for your trip with a credit card, get a card that offers excellent insurance for you and your family!

Conclusion

The changes to the Air Passenger Protection Regulations bode well for Canadian travellers even though the APPR falls far short of the European Union’s charter.

Soon, we will have some protection during those sticky situations out of the airline’s control. The carriers will be obliged to put us on another flight within 48 hours or refund us.

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!

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