airline rights canada

Airline passengers will soon get up to $2,400 for flight delays in Canada

Canada's first-ever "air passenger bill of rights" is officially ready to go, according to the federal government, meaning that travellers will soon be reimbursed for potentially thousands of dollars in the case of significant delays.

Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced on Friday morning during a press conference that these new rules, which will force airlines to compensate passengers for everything from overbookings to lost or damaged luggage, would be rolled out in two phases by the end of 2019.

Phase one, which starts on July 15, will lay out regulations surrounding the treatment of passengers while they're still on the tarmac.

Airlines will legally be required to ensure that their planes are properly ventilated, kept at comfortable temperatures, have working toilets and that passengers are provided with food and drinks.

Once a plane has been sitting on the tarmac for more than three hours, passengers must be allowed to disembark.

Also coming into effect in July are new rules and a compensation structure for overbooking.

If a passenger is bumped from an overbooked flight as of July 15, they will need to be financially compensated based on how many hours they must wait until reaching their final destination.

A late arrival of up to six hours due to overbooking would entitle a flyer to $900, while those who arrive more than nine hours late would get $2,400— within 48 hours, and in cash. That is, not flight credits.

Airlines will also have to compensate passengers handsomely for lost or delayed luggage as of July 15, up to $2,100 per bag plus any baggage fees.

Phase two will roll out on December 15 and see airlines compensating passengers for both delays and cancellations based on time and the size of the airline.

Delays of more than nine hours for any reason will cost large airlines $1,000 per passenger. Those flying on smaller airlines will recieve $500.

"Our goal was to provide a world-leading approach to air passenger rights that would be predictable and fair for passengers while ensuring our air carriers remain strong and competitive," said Garneau in a statement released by Transport Canada on Friday.

"After a long and thorough consultation process, I am proud to say these new regulations achieve that balance and will give air travellers the rights and treatment they pay for and deserve."

Lead photo by

Nicoli OZ Mathews


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