What is the Travelers’ Charter?
The Travellers’ Charter was announced less than two years ago to protect Canadian travellers from certain behaviours deemed abusive by the airlines:
- Lack of sufficient communication
- Delays and cancellations
- Denied boarding
- Lost / damaged luggage
The European Union has had similar legislation for several years allowing travelers to pick up up to $900 under certain circumstances.
The Traveler Protection Regulations will allow for compensation ranging from $125 to $2,400 depending on the situation and will go into effect in 2 stages: July 15 and December 15, 2019.
Measures effective July 15, 2019
All requirements for:
- delays on the tarmac
- denied boarding
- lost or damaged luggage
…will be effective as of July 15, 2019.
For example, if you are denied boarding on your flight (overbooked), you can get:
- 900 (delay from 0h to 6h)
- 2,400 (9 hours or more late)
For lost or damaged luggage, you can receive up to $2,100.
Measures effective December 15, 2019
All delay and cancellation requirements will be effective December 15, 2019.
Compensation will depend on the size of the airline (+/- 2 million passengers/year):
- Between 3 and 6 hours: $125 – $400
- Between 6 and 9 hours: $250 – $700
- 9 hours and more: $500 – $1000
For example, if your flight with Air Canada is delayed between 3 and 6 hours, you can receive $400 in compensation.
Conditions related to delays and cancellations
Delays and cancellations are commonplace in the airline industry. This can be related to many factors… including the weather, a real issue in Canada.
But the Passenger Protection Regulations have been quite protective of the airlines here! Indeed, the law provides for many exclusionary measures such as:
- Situations beyond the control of the carrier:
- war or political instability
- an illegal act or an act of sabotage
- weather conditions or a natural disaster that make it impossible to operate the aircraft safely
- air traffic control instructions
- a NOTAM as defined in subsection 101.01(1) of the Canadian Aviation Regulations
- a threat to safety
- problems related to the operation of the airport
- a medical emergency
- a collision with a wild animal
- a labour dispute at the carrier, an essential service provider such as an airport or an air navigation service provider
- a manufacturing defect in the aircraft, which reduces the safety of passengers, discovered by the aircraft manufacturer or by a competent authority
- an instruction or order from any state or law enforcement official or airport security official
- Mechanical failure: Mechanical problem that reduces passenger safety, excluding the problem discovered during planned maintenance performed in accordance with legal requirements.
- Necessary for safety reasonsSafety Management System (SMS): Any legal requirement that must be met in order to reduce risks to passenger safety, including safety decisions that are the responsibility of the pilot of the aircraft or that are made in accordance with the safety management system (…) with the exception of planned maintenance performed in accordance with legal requirements.
If your delay or cancellation is not related to one of these situations… then you can be compensated!
Let’s hope that the airlines will not try to “blame the weather” for many delays or cancellations… !
To whom do these measures apply?
These measures apply:
- to a charter flight within Canada
- to a chartered flight to or from Canada
Thus, all flights operated by Air Canada, Air Transat, WestJet… are affected by this measure.
This also applies to flights operated by foreign airlines (Air France, Delta, American, Swiss…) that originate or terminate in Canada.
How to be compensated?
Each airline will have procedures in place to allow you to obtain compensation.
You will have 1 year to file a claim and the airline must respond within 30 days.
The airline may offer you compensation other than money (such as a coupon for another trip), but it must be more than the monetary compensation provided.
You will have the option to accept or decline this offer (or to choose a cash refund).
This Travelers’ Charter is great news for all travelers! It remains to be seen what influence it will have on the behavior of airlines… and possibly on the price of air tickets!
This does not prevent you from being equipped with the right credit cards to obtain compensation for flight delays or cancellations, or lost / delayed luggage!
To that end, check out our article on the best credit card for travel insurance with premium tickets!