airline refund

Not everyone is happy with the newest rule impacting air travel in Canada

As travelling through Canada's largest airports remains an absolute ordeal for passengers, the federal government has implemented one change that will hopefully bring some relief to those hit with delays or cancellations, which are still impacting more than half of flights out of Toronto's Pearson airport.

As of September 8, airlines will now have to provide customers with either a refund or a rebooked flight — whichever the traveller chooses — any time there is a long flight delay or a flight is cancelled, no matter the reason.

Previously, this was only the case if the reason for the disruption was within the carrier's control; now, it will apply even if the issue is due to something like widespread problems at an airport — like a connecting flight being held because too many passengers are stuck in a lineup at customs — or even weather.

While this may provide a bit of a comfort to the masses who have (rightfully) been complaining about the chaos plaguing air travel right now, certain stakeholders are obviously not thrilled with the new rule.

Canadian carriers and the council that represents them, for one, are feeling as if this is putting all of the pressure of the industry's woes on airlines, which are just one part of the equation and are also still trying to bounce back from the pandemic.

"We are disappointed that airlines continue to be singled out as the only point of ownership and accountability for travel in Canada as this must be a shared responsibility by the entire ecosystem," a spokesperson for WestJet tells blogTO.

"The amendments requiring airlines to be the sole provider of reimbursement for delays outside of the airline's control creates an unbalanced system that does not reflect the responsibility that we collectively hold to the Canadian traveller."

The National Airlines Council of Canada, whom Air Canada advised media to speak with on behalf of carriers, has asserted the same position, telling the National Post that the new guidelines don't take other players in the industry to charge for delays, which are taking place at every step of the travel process these days.

Pearson in particular was named the worst international airport for flight delays this summer, though the authority that operates it insists that things are slowly but surely improving.

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