In December 2019, just before the world took a strange turn for the worse, the Canadian Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR) became fully effective.
The COVID-19 epidemic must have tested the implementation of these new rules, which largely disappointed the people they had to protect.
As a result of the epidemic, the Canadian Transportation Agency recently announced changes to the APPR, which they argue provide better service to air travelers traveling from, or within, Canada.
Let’s take a look at the changes, effective September 8, 2022, and see if they fit the bill.
What are the Air Passenger Protection Regulations?
The Canadian Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR) are rules that legislate what airlines have to offer passengers. They affect the airlines’ responsibilities in a number of ways, including:
- Seating for the family
- IRROPS time communication
- Lost or damaged luggage
- Delayed and / or canceled flights, and
- Denied boarding example
Of these rules, delayed and / or canceled flight obligations are the most effective.
The number of delayed and canceled flights in the last two years is unprecedented. This was especially the case during the height of the epidemic, when air travel was largely halted, but continues to the present time, when airports, airlines and government service providers fight to provide a non-stop experience.
As a reminder, in the case of flight delays, airlines are obliged to provide specific standards of treatment depending on the cause and length of the delay.
Situations that are under the control of the airline, such as overbooking or mechanical errors during routine maintenance, require the airlines to pay the following compensation:
If late In three to six hours, You deserve to get at least 400 With large airlines and $ 125 With smaller airlines.
If late In six to nine hours, You deserve to get at least $ 700 With large airlines and 250 With smaller airlines.
If late Nine hours or more, You deserve to get at least 1,000 With large airlines and $ 500 With smaller airlines
For situations that are under the control of the airline but necessary for safety, such as safety decisions made by the pilot or unforeseen events that are legally required to reduce the risk to passengers, as well as situations that are completely under the control of the airline:
- Reasonable amount of food and drink should be provided
- Arrange to stay at the hotel in case of overnight delays
- Rebook passengers on any airline, if the delay is nine hours or more, and
- Offer return to passengers if arrangements no longer meet their needs
Although passengers will not receive any compensation if the cause of the delay is under the control of the airline but for safety reasons, they will at least (theoretically) be fed, sheltered and eventually reach their final destination.
Until now, if the cause of the delay was out of the airline’s control, such as war, inclement weather, bird strikes, or labor disruption, airlines had to make sure passengers completed their itinerary.
If they are not able to accommodate the passenger within 48 hours of the end of the disruption incident from the same airport, passengers must be booked to depart from another airport, as much as possible.
Changes to the APPR affect delays and cancellations Because the airline is out of control. Let’s take a look at what’s changing in particular.
What is change?
By September 8, 2022, if a flight is canceled or delayed by more than three hours due to out of air control, airlines must offer passengers the option to refund or rebook.
Significantly, this only happens when the passenger cannot be accommodated with the option to leave Within 48 hours of original departure time.
In addition, airlines have up to 30 days to issue refunds.
In other words, if the airline can re-book you flights that depart within 48 hours of your original scheduled departure time, either operated by the parent airline or by a partner airline, you are not eligible for a refund.
If the airline Can’t Provide a guaranteed reservation for departure within 48 hours of your original scheduled departure time, only then will you be offered a choice between re-booking or returning.
Again, these changes only affect flights that are delayed or canceled due to circumstances outside the airline’s control; Other aspects of the APPR remain largely the same.
These changes are effective as a result of loopholes in existing regulations during epidemics. The Minister of Transport directed the Canadian Transportation Agency to consult with the public, airlines, consumer lawyers and industry representatives so that these gaps can be closed in a way that is reasonable to all parties involved.
Upcoming changes, detailed above, are a direct result of this hearing. But it remains to be seen how effective they will be.
Are these changes helpful?
At first glance, it seems great for airlines to refund passengers for long delays or cancellations in situations beyond their control.
We have all seen that during the epidemic, customers fought against the airlines for getting their flights canceled. Airlines are stuck on money, basically without any kind of reaction, when passengers go to extremes, including taking the airlines to court to get their money back.
In addition, airlines have used or are using very liberal explanations of what was in their control and what was not to avoid returning passengers under the first iteration of the APPR.
Although crew scheduling certainly falls within the airline’s control, the airlines argue that crew scheduling limitations COVID-19 caused by the ongoing effects of the epidemic Was actually out of their control.
It appeared that the airlines were able to use any excuse to avoid the return of passengers, again basically without any response. As past events disappear, will these changes make a big difference for front passengers?
The key detail of these changes is that 48-hour timeline airlines require passengers to re-book. For delays or cancellations outside the airline’s control, unless they take you on your way within two days, they avoid a refund offer.
From the main hub and to the big airlines, it is very likely that they will be able to offer you one of the many options to get you to your destination in a reasonable time. This is especially the case if the airline is a member of an airline alliance, such as Star Alliance or SkyTeam, as they will use partner airlines if necessary.
From smaller hubs or smaller airlines, a reasonable alternative is less likely to be available, as there are not many options at the disposal of the airline.
For many passengers who travel for short trips, such as weekend trips or business day trips, or who travel on a tight timeline and have a small window to get to their destination, 48 hours is a long time. In fact, a full trip can last less than 48 hours.
If a flight is canceled on a Friday evening and you are re-booked on a Sunday morning, does the trip really make any sense if you have to return on a Sunday night anyway? In this situation, you will still not be eligible for a refund under the new provisions and you will either waste your money or your precious time.
For example, I recently booked a flight from Vancouver Island to Edmonton to soak in a play-off environment. I had a Saturday morning departure and set back on Sunday evening.
Fortunately, the cancellation was under the control of the airline and I got my money back without any problems, but if the new rules were in effect and the cause of the delay was out of the airline’s control, I would have fallen into an unfortunate situation.
Critics of the changes argue that giving the airlines a 48-hour risk-free window will leave many passengers hanging, while airlines and industry partners may suggest that this is a reasonable time for situations. Actually Out of their control.
I am not entirely confident that the reasons given to passengers for flight delays and cancellations in Canada are 100% honest, and I am not fully confident that there is strong enforcement or oversight.
While passengers can raise their claim by going to court for a CTA or small claim, it is an unnecessary burden that drags on much longer than it should be in a simple, streamlined process.
How does APPR compare to other countries?
It is impossible to please all parties involved in such a vague situation, but can APPR be combined with air passenger rules in other jurisdictions?
Those involved in creating the APPR have described it as “the world’s leading approach to air passenger rights,” while consumer advocates and critics point out the flaws in the APPR faster than similar regulations in other countries.
EU261, which covers travel to and from the European Union, is often regarded as the gold standard for the rights of airline passengers worldwide.
Under EU261, passengers are entitled to a refund if their flight is canceled For whatever reason.
In contrast to the impending changes to Canada’s APPR, there is no grace period for airlines to accommodate passengers in situations both inside and outside their control under EU261; If you delay more than five hours or your flight is canceled, you have the right to a refund.
This also happens in other countries like the United States, Israel and Turkey, where airlines have to offer passengers a refund if their flight is delayed by more than a few hours or is canceled for any reason.
In addition, in other jurisdictions, refunds must be processed in a more timely manner – Usually within a week.
Compared to similar air passenger safety regulations in other countries, Canada’s upcoming changes to the APPR, and indeed the standards of the APPR, seem to be very low.
An upcoming change is coming to Canada’s Air Passenger Protection Regulation. From September 8, 2022, in situations outside the airline’s control, airlines must return passengers if they cannot re-book within 48 hours of their original scheduled departure time.
Although these changes will be applied to close some of the gaps in the APPR exposed by the COVID-19 epidemic, the Canadian APPR will fail to offer the same or better regulations as in other countries.
These changes probably won’t affect most travelers who are likely to stay within the 48-hour window. Those who book short trips will lose time and / or money and it would be wise to close this gap further for APPR.