Canada: Transportation Agency decides in flight cancellation and overbooking cases

Michael Wukoschitz's picture

In five separate decisions of June 28, 2012, the Canadian Transportation Agency ruled on the reasonableness of international tariff provisions of Air Canada, WestJet and Air Transat, and domestic tariff provisions of Air Canada and WestJet relating to the overbooking, cancellation, delay and rerouting of flights.

The Agency held that passengers should be able to fully understand their rights and the remedies available to them simply by reading the tariff, which is the contract between the carrier and the passenger. Tariffs are governed by the Canada Transportation Act, the Air Transportation Regulations and the Montreal Convention. The Agency evaluated the tariffs in light of these instruments. There is no presumption that a tariff is reasonable.

The five decisions increase the rights and remedies for passengers travelling with Air Canada, WestJet and Air Transat. In the event a flight is delayed, overbooked or cancelled, passengers can choose whether they prefer a refund or to be rebooked. In certain cases, carriers must consider rebooking passengers on the first available flight(s), including flights with non-partnered carriers. If overbooking or cancellation of a flight results in the passengers choosing to no longer travel, they will be entitled to a return flight home within a reasonable time, free of charge, and a full refund of the ticket price.

By applying consistency to the carriers’ international and domestic tariff provisions, the Agency is ensuring that consumers are protected while travelling with the airlines both within and to/from Canada.

Although WestJet and Air Transat already filed proposed tariff amendments that meet most of these enhanced passenger rights, the Agency’s Decision Nos. 249-C-A-2012, 248-C-A-2012 and 252-C-A-2012 found that certain proposed amendments remain unclear or unreasonable. Both air carriers have until July 28, 2012 to revise their tariffs to incorporate the ordered tariff amendments set out in these Decisions.

In Decisions Nos. 250-C-A-2012 and 251-C-A-2012, the Agency also found that certain tariff provisions are unreasonable and is directing Air Canada to make amendments to its tariff provisions on overbooking, cancellation, delay and rerouting .

Source: Canadian Transportation Agency press relase of June 28, 2012

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