Future Canceled Flights | Flight tickets must be refunded within 30 days

From September 8th, flights canceled by airlines for reasons beyond their control must be refunded within 30 days. Added this new requirement to the passenger protection regulations.

Posted yesterday at 7:00am

Isabelle Dube

Isabelle Dube
The press

The changes to the regulations are being contacted by consumer groups with encouragement The press.

The original settlement only covered cancellations attributable to airlines. However, the changes now include situations beyond their control where it is not possible to complete the passenger’s itinerary in a reasonable time – extreme weather conditions, volcanic eruptions, bird strikes, pandemics, military conflicts, etc.

If an airline is unable to offer an alternative flight within 48 hours of the time shown on the passenger’s original ticket, it must rebook the passenger or refund the passenger to the original method of payment within 30 days.

“We are very happy”

“It is an appropriate time and we are very pleased about it,” says Jacob Charbonneau, CEO of volenretard.com, who nevertheless has reservations. “If the airline does not refund within 30 days, the file must be submitted to the Canadian Transportation Agency [OTC], which has very long delivery times. If it takes a year and a half for the OTC to settle cases, there is no point in setting a 30-day deadline because the customer will get their money back in a year and a half. »

Option consommateurs, which also welcomes the changes, specifies that the Civil Code already provides for a refund obligation in the event of force majeure.

“The obligation to reimburse was not provided for in this regulation. If the amendments clarify the situation, so much the better, provided they provide no less than the law than the Civil Code. »

All consumers who bought their flight ticket online or through a travel agency can be reimbursed according to the passenger protection regulations. For accommodation and other items included in package holidays, travel agency customers must rely on the Compensation Fund for Travel Agency Customers (FICAV), explains Sylvie De Bellefeuille, lawyer, budget adviser and lawyer at Option consommateurs.

Goodbye, travel credit

Criticized by many consumers, travel credits can no longer be taxed by transport companies. The passenger is entitled to a cash refund of the full price of their unused ticket, including additional services such as seat reservation, checked baggage and a special meal.

“We raised the issue of travel credit before the regulations went into effect in 2019 and it was not addressed by the Canadian Transportation Agency,” says Jacob Charbonneau. It creates multi-thousand dollar stakes when planes stay grounded. We are therefore very pleased that it can finally be found in the regulations. »

“This rule does not apply retrospectively, but Sylvie De Bellefeuille clarifies. It won’t solve the situation of all those people who had the problem during the pandemic. It applies to future disruptions after September 8th, even if you bought your flight ticket two months ago. »

Public consultations and reviews

The first version of the regulation came into force in 2019. It was created to address denied boarding, problems with flight delays or cancellations, and hours of waiting on the tarmac before takeoff or disembarkation.

In December 2020, the Minister for Transport had asked the OTC to revise the regulations to adapt them to the new problems brought to light by the pandemic. After a consultation process, the draft amendments were released for public consideration and comment in 2021. The latest changes to the regulations were presented on Wednesday.

During the trial, elected officials from all political parties criticized the CTA for its pro-airline positions, particularly on travel credits, which the agency considered sufficient, and the suspension of compensation in the event of delays or flight cancellations.

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