A British Columbia couple receives compensation after suing Air Canada for a flight that was delayed: Travelers arrived at the final destination of their vacation 56 hours later than expected.


A British Columbia couple receives compensation after suing Air Canada
A British Columbia couple receives compensation after suing Air Canada


The Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) of British Columbia awarded a couple $2,000 in compensation after determining that Air Canada had not sufficiently demonstrated that the primary reason for the disposal was outside of its control. (Radio-Canada’s Jean-Claude Taliana)


Following a flight cancellation that left them and three members of their immediate family stuck in Vancouver for two days while traveling to Egypt, a couple from Kelowna, British Columbia, has won their small claims lawsuit against Air Canada.


The pair received $2,000 in compensation plus $155.48 in interest and charges on Tuesday from British Columbia’s Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT), which determined that Air Canada had failed to make a convincing case that the primary reason for the takeaway had become uncontrollable.


It was believed that Abdallah Mohamed, Ghada Ali, and three other family members would depart Kelowna for Vancouver at 5:30 p.m. on July 4 and would arrive in Cairo late that evening on July 5.


However, their flight was delayed by more than two hours, which prevented them from making their connecting flight from Vancouver to London.


After that, Air Canada rescheduled them for a 6 p.m. flight out of Vancouver. On July 6, which was 56 hours after the original start time, they were delivered to Cairo.

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The pair claimed that staffing issues that were within Air Canada’s control caused the first flight to be delayed.


According to Canada’s Air Passenger Protection Regulations, they requested $5,000 in modern damages, or $1,000 for each passenger who arrived more than nine hours late.


Air Canada disputed this, claiming the delay was outside its control and was brought on by ground delay packages (GDP) run by Nav Canada and air-website traffic control.


The inbound flight to Kelowna was delayed by a GDP sent by Nav Canada (NavCan), which had an effect on the couple’s trip from Kelowna to Vancouver, the CRT noted.


However, all other WestJet flights left Kelowna at the scheduled hour of 5:30 p.M. According to information provided before the CRT, the GDP in place in Vancouver did not begin to affect arrivals until after the late Air Canada flight had already touched down on July 4.


Air Canada no longer offered evidence to dispute that, consistent with the choice, but NavCan also listed airline personnel concerns as contributing to the flight’s takeoff.


In the Aug. 8 decision, CRT vice chair Shelley Lopez stated, “While I even have determined there was a GDP outside Air Canada’s control that had some impact on [outbound flight] AC8279, I discover the burden of evidence does now not show that changed into the primary purpose.”

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“I find that Air Canada has a responsibility to disclose that the primary factor in the cancellation that prevented the applicants from making their connecting flight, AC862, was beyond their control, but I find that it has not done so.”


According to Lopez’s ruling, Air Canada must pay Mohamed and Ali $1,000 plus $33.89 in interest for each of them, as well as $87.50 to cover half of the CRT submission rate.


However, she determined the couple couldn’t seek damages on behalf of the other three nameless members of their own family and disregarded the legality of the claim.


CBC News reached out to Mohamed and Ali for comment, but they didn’t respond.


According to aviation data company Cirium, more than half of Air Canada’s flights were delayed by more than 15 minutes in the past month, which is higher than any other airline in the top 10 in North America.


Failure of the passenger reimbursement device, according to experts

The ruling, according to experts and activists for consumer rights, is positive, but the fact that customers must go to small claims court to receive compensation is evidence that “the tool isn’t operating.”

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One expert claimed that although the Canadian Transportation Agency’s complaints procedure for delays, cancellations, or lost or damaged baggage is meant to be simplified, many passengers have been waiting for more than a year because there are already more than 50,000 court cases in line.


John Gradek, a college lecturer at McGill University’s faculty of continuing studies’ aviation control software, said: “It’s regrettable that customers have resorted to go to the tribunals to really get decisions reviewed.


The industry is now providing stronger protections for passengers, but Gradek believes Ottawa needs to impose more stringent laws and penalties to force businesses to pay customers what they’re owed because delays, which are specifically fueled by persistent shortages of key personnel, continue to plague airlines.


According to Gradek, airlines “basically need to be brought to reckon that the ones situations are not right.”


According to Gábor Lukács, president of the non-profit advocacy group Air Passenger Rights Canada, more consumers should file small claims lawsuits to keep airlines accountable.


“Even small amounts are powerful and effective if [airlines] are systematically required to make the rate,” he declared.

By Jhone Marky

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