Air Passenger Rights

Key protections include:

  • Airlines must inform travellers in simple, clear and concise language what their rights are on all itinerary-related documents and messaging.
  • Overbooking: Compensation up to $2,400 for being involuntarily bumped from a flight and no cost re-booking.
  • In the event your bag was lost, delayed or damaged, you may file a claim for the expenses you incurred up to approximately $2,300 CAD and airlines must refund any baggage fees you paid
  • Tarmac delays: Airlines are required to provide standard of treatment (access to working washrooms, proper ventilation and heating/cooling, food and drink in reasonable quantities, etc.) beginning at the time of the delay. Airlines are also required to disembark passengers no later than 3 hours after the delay starts
  • Cash compensation for delays and cancellations within carrier control that last more than three hours
  • Airlines are required to offer free rebooking and/or refund travel that is delayed or cancelled, depending on circumstances
  • Airlines must facilitate seating of children under the age of 14 near their parent, at no additional cost

What Are Your Rights as an Air Passenger?

The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has released a plain-language resource to help you understand your rights as an air passenger. In addition, if you feel the airline has not provided you with a just level of treatment or compensation, you can file a complaint directly with the CTA.

For an additional resource detailing your rights as an air passenger, visit our CAA-Quebec Club’s guide “Air travel: rights and recourse.”

How we got here

The Canadian Automobile Association has been representing the travelling public since 1913. And for decades, we have been operating one of the country’s largest leisure travel agencies.

The United States and the European Union long ago put in place strong consumer protection laws for air passengers. CAA advocated for similar protections because Canadians deserved equal treatment as travellers in other jurisdictions.

CAA will continue to advocate on behalf of travellers for better and more clear rights.

Here is what is still missing, in our view:

  • The current rules do not offer proactive refunds.In most cases, travellers are required to file a claim with an airline in order to get compensation, even when it is obvious a plane was many hours late.
  • There is no compensation if a flight disruption is caused by “a mechanical issue” – the definition of which should be clearer.
  • Air travel performance data which allows Canadians to judge whether the new regime is working is not being made public.

The new system is far from perfect, but it provides a degree of protection Canadians did not have previously. Understanding your rights is the most important step to navigating any flight disruptions.

Canadians’ most common complaints filed with the regulator when it comes to air travel:

  1. Not being paid compensation for delays and cancellations within carrier control.
  2. Refunds for disrupted travel
  3. Delayed, lost or damaged baggage.
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What did Canadians tell CAA they wanted to see in an air passenger bill of rights?

Source: CAA polling from December 2018

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90% of Canadians say a national airline consumer code is important.

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85% of Canadians say it is important an airline consumer code includes a right to be reimbursed, rebooked, or transferred without additional fees if the cancellation is caused by the airline.

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Over eight out of 10 Canadians say a right to compensation and refunded fees for lost or damaged baggage is important to include in an airline consumer code.