If you experienced a problem, you should first contact your airline to resolve it. If that does not work, you can file a complaint with us. The CTA processes complaints and settles disputes between travellers and airlines.
During these difficult times, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) continues to maintain its normal operations while our employees practice social distancing. Our dedicated employees are working remotely and are available through electronic means to provide service. You can continue to request CTA services, file applications, and do normal business with us through our normal channels.
Please note, however, that the CTA has temporarily paused all dispute resolution activities involving air carriers until June 30, 2020, to permit them to focus on immediate and urgent operational demands. While you can continue to file air passenger complaints with us and all complaints will be processed in due course, we may not be able to respond quickly. On or before June 30, 2020, the Agency will determine if the pause should end on that date or be extended to a later date.
Note: If your baggage is damaged or missing, contact your airline right away. You must fill out a claim form with your airline within 7 days for damaged baggage and 21 days for baggage that is potentially lost.
Note: If your complaint also relates to an accessibility issue, please see the Accessible Travel section.
On December 15th a new set of airline obligations came into force.
In the event of a flight delay or cancellation, your airline must let you know:
The airline must communicate new flight status information to you as soon as possible. In the case of a delay, they must also provide status updates every 30 minutes until a new departure time is set or new travel arrangements have been made.
If your flight is delayed or cancelled and the reason is within the airline's control and not safety-related, you are entitled to a specific standard of treatment, compensation, and rebooking or a refund.
If your flight is delayed or cancelled and the reason is within the airline's control and required for safety purposes, you are entitled to a specific standard of treatment and rebooking or a refund.
If your flight is delayed or cancelled and the reason is outside of the airline's control, you are entitled to rebooking.
In addition to the minimum compensation described in this guide, a passenger who is delayed while travelling internationally may also be entitled to make a claim under the Montreal or Warsaw Conventions for any damages – such as expenses – that happened because of the delay. Passengers must make these claims with the airline in writing.
A tarmac delay at departure begins after the doors of the aircraft are closed for take-off. A tarmac delay on arrival begins after the flight has landed.
During all tarmac delays carriers must ensure passengers are given the following, free of charge:
After a three-hour tarmac delay at a Canadian airport:
If a tarmac delay occurs after landing at a Canadian airport, a carrier must provide you an opportunity to disembark as soon as is feasible.
Reference: Airline obligations for tarmac delays are set out in the Air Passenger Protection Regulations.
If your bag is damaged or missing, contact your airline right away. You must submit a written claim with your airline within 7 days of receipt of your baggage if it is damaged. You must submit a claim within 21 days for baggage that is potentially lost. Failure to submit a claim within the set time limits could result in the carrier denying your claim.
In the event your bag was lost, damaged or delayed, you may file a claim for the expenses you incurred up to approximately $2,300.
In the event of a lost or damaged bag, the airline must also reimburse your checked baggage fees.
Send your claim in writing to the airline within the time limits listed above. Be sure to include all out of pocket expenses. All claims are subject to proof of loss.
Reference: Airline obligations for lost, damaged or delayed baggage are set out in Montreal Convention and the Air Passenger Protection Regulations.
Airlines must communicate clearly to you. They must:
Reference: Airline obligations in this area are set out in the Air Passenger Protection Regulations.
As a passenger you have responsibilities to ensure that you are not refused transport by an airline. You must:
There may be additional reasons for refusal to transport please check the airline's tariff.
To prevent this from happening you should:
Consult your airline's tariff to learn more about their policies on refusal to transport.
Denied boarding happens when there are fewer seats available on a flight than there are passengers who have checked in and arrived at the gate on time for boarding and are in possession of valid travel documentation.
Bumping does not include situations where a passenger must be refused transport for reasons such as not having a valid passport or arriving late at the gate.
Before bumping a passenger for a reason that is within their control, airlines must first seek volunteers.
If you volunteer to move to a later flight the airline must provide you with a written confirmation of the benefits that you accepted.
If they are unable to find a volunteer the airline must:
If you are denied boarding (bumped) involuntarily and the reason is within the airline's control but not safety-related, you are entitled to a specific standard of treatment, compensation, and rebooking or a refund.
If you are bumped involuntarily and the reason is within the airline's control and required for safety purposes, you are entitled to a specific standard of treatment and rebooking or a refund.
If you are bumped involuntarily and the reason is outside of the airline's control, you are entitled to rebooking.
Reasons within an airline's control include:
Airline obligations for denied boarding (bumping) are set out in the Air Passenger Protection Regulations.
Airlines must, at the earliest opportunity and at no extra cost, take steps to seat children under the age of 14 near their parent, guardian or tutor. The distance will depend on the age of the child:
Airline obligations for seating of children under the age of 14 years are set out in the Air Passenger Protection Regulations.
Some airlines accept unaccompanied children aged 5 to 11 years and will escort them from check-in through to their arrival at the destination airport (usually for a fee). Be sure to consult your airline's terms and conditions before booking a flight for an unaccompanied minor.
For international travel, airlines must establish a policy for unaccompanied minors and prohibit minors under the age of five from travelling without their parent or an accompanying person who is at least 16 years old.
Reference: Airline obligations in this area are listed in their tariffs. Specific obligations for international travel are set out in the Air Passenger Protection Regulations
Airlines must include in their tariffs the terms and conditions of carriage regarding the transportation of musical instruments as checked or carry-on baggage. This includes:
Please consult your airline's tariff for transporting musical instruments.
Reference: Airline obligations for transportation of musical instruments are set out in the Air Passenger Protection Regulations
A reservation is a record of the flights booked with your airline. Having a reservation does not automatically entitle the passenger to travel. When the airline receives payment, it issues a ticket linked to that reservation, which allows the passenger to travel.
Whether you made your reservation with a travel agency, tour operator or online with a web service (like Expedia, Travelocity etc.) you should carefully review the details of your reservations to ensure:
Airlines sometimes charge fees in order for passengers to change their flight and travel dates. These extra costs are based on:
The availability of fares and flights continually changes. They are never guaranteed until you have paid in full.
Any time you buy an airline ticket, you should carefully review the details to ensure:
Airline customer service issues such as food quality or staff courtesy are generally outside the purview of the CTA. Please contact your airline customer service department if you have this type of issue. If you believe the airline's customer service issue has impacted your rights under the Air Passenger Protection Regulations, you can file a complaint with the CTA. If you believe it has impacted your right to accessible travel, you can find more information or file a complaint on the CTA's Accessible Travel page.
The CTA works together with other federal agencies that have a human rights mandate, such as the Canadian Human Rights Commission, to ensure that human rights related complaints be dealt with efficiently and expeditiously by the most appropriate organization.
If you file a complaint with the CTA that involves a human rights issue experienced during your air travel, such as discrimination on the basis of race, gender identity or expression, or other prohibited grounds of discrimination and the CTA is not in a position to deal with it, the CTA may officially, or informally with your consent, refer your complaint to the most appropriate organisation.
Most complaints about travel agents and tour operators fall under provincial jurisdiction. Please consult your provincial or territorial government authority for consumers. Your travel agency or tour operator (including on-line reservations) must be registered with a provincial authority in Canada in order to help you.
Complaints about the land part of a tour package or services offered by a tour operator also fall under provincial jurisdiction.
Complaints related to the air part of your tour package are accepted by the CTA.
Only Air Canada is subject to Canada's Official Languages Act. If you have a concern you may contact the Commissioner of Official Languages.
Your air passenger rights are the same whether you paid for your ticket or used an airline loyalty program.
The CTA can also accept complaints about other aspects of airline loyalty programs that are owned by an airline.
Reward programs that are owned by corporations and financial institutions such as Aeroplan, Air Miles, RBC Avion, etc. are independent of airlines. Your transactions with these programs are private and contractual and issues should be reported to your provincial or territorial government authority for consumer protection.
If you have a complaint about an airline's competitive practices, please consult the Competition Bureau of Canada to submit a complaints related to: false advertising; mergers and acquisitions; and predatory behaviour of airlines in Canada.
A route with little or no competition is any route within Canada served by a single carrier and its affiliates.
You may contact the Secretariat to file a complaint.
An airline carrier must notify the community if it proposes to reduce domestic air service to a community. Notice must be given if the airline plans to:
In these situations, the carrier must notify the affected communities at least 120 days before discontinuing or reducing the service. If the carrier has served the point for less than one year, it must give 30 days notice. In addition, the carrier must give elected officials of the affected communities an opportunity to discuss the impact of its proposal.
If you believe that a carrier has not properly notified the community as described above, you may contact the Secretariat to file a complaint.
You must submit a claim with your airline within 7 days of receipt of your baggage if it is damaged.
You must submit a claim within 21 days for baggage that is potentially lost.
We will send your complaint to the airline for you if you have not already contacted them in writing or if you have written to the airline, but not given them 30 days to answer you in writing.
Please keep in mind that complaints can often be settled directly with the airline. But, if you're not happy with the airline's written answer, we can try to help you.
Please advise us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org , if:
Please include the case number that was assigned to you.
Please upload copies of any documents related to your complaint, such as tickets, claim forms, receipts of expenses for reimbursement, correspondence between you and the airline. This will speed up the review of your complaint. There is a limit of 20 documents for uploading.
Please do not include sensitive personal information, including your social insurance number, personal financial data and credit card numbers.
You can also choose to send your documents by mail, email or fax. Please indicate your case number in the subject line. Please do not send us your original documents. Keep these for your records. Please ensure the copies you send are clear and legible. DO NOT send new complaints to this mailbox as this email address is only monitored for documents in support of a complaint filed online.
I have read and understood the Personal Information Collection Statement below.
Information contained in this form is obtained under the authority of the Canada Transportation Act to help us deal with your complaint. Providing information is voluntary. If you do not provide all of the information required on this form, the Agency may not be able to process your application.
Your personal information is protected under the federal Privacy Act. By submitting your personal information, you are authorizing us to collect, use, hold and, with your consent, share your file with transportation providers and any other party involved with your case.
The information is included in the following personal information bank (PIB):
CTA PPU 014 Air Travel Complaints
We want to protect you, so please do not include sensitive personal information including your Social Insurance Number, personal financial data and credit card numbers.
Our online form uses a secure method to encrypt and send your information electronically to the Agency. We will retain your information in an encrypted folder on a secure server hosted on our internal network until 30 days after we close your file. The Agency securely stores the information in its Corporate Repository and Case Management System, retains it for 10 years upon file closure, and then destroys it, as described in the PIB above.
If you have any questions, comments, concerns or complaints regarding the collection, use and disclosure of your personal information and our administration of the Privacy Act, please contact our Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator by emailing email@example.com, by calling 613-316-4474 or by writing to: Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator, 15 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec, J8X 4B3.
You may contact us anytime to request access to your information and to ensure that it is accurate. Please use the Personal Information Request Form to contact us.
If you are not satisfied with our response to your privacy concern, you may wish to contact the Office of the Privacy Commissioner by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 1-800-282-1376.