Air Canada ordered to pay $1,500 to BC Pair for travel delay
Air Canada has been ordered to pay more than $1,500 in damages and costs to two passengers from British Columbia whose travel plans were delayed by more than seven hours due to staffing constraints amid the COVID pandemic -19.
The British Columbia Civil Resolution Court found that Inayat Singh and Suk Young Yoon owed compensation under the federal Air Passenger Protection Regulations after their flight was canceled and rebooked on a later flight.
The couple were scheduled to leave Victoria International Airport at 12:30 a.m. on August 22, 2021 and arrive in Toronto at 7:56 a.m.
However, the flight was canceled hours before its scheduled departure due to what the airline described as “crew constraints resulting from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our operations”, according to the decision of the court delivered on Thursday.
Air Canada rebooked the pair on another flight arriving in Toronto at 3:30 p.m. the same day.
The company argued that it owed no compensation to Singh and Yoon, saying such flight disruptions cannot be analyzed individually, but must be assessed “in the context of the aviation ecosystem” during the pandemic, which was beyond the control of the airline.
Tribunal Vice President Shelley Lopez called Air Canada’s response “insufficient” and “vague.”
“There is no express exception under the APPR [Air Passenger Protection Regulations] for delays due to disruptions in the overall ‘aviation ecosystem’, nor are there express exceptions due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Lopez said.
“I find the delay was within Air Canada’s control and not for security reasons.”
The court ordered the airline to pay passengers $1,561.78 within 21 days of the decision. The total compensation includes $1,400 in damages, $125 in legal costs and $36.78 in prejudgment interest.
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