Airline obligations for flight disruptions depend on the level of control they have over the situation as set out in the Air Passenger Protection Regulations.

If the situation is within the airline's control

Airlines' obligations to you include:

  • compensation;
  • standards of treatment; and
  • completion of your itinerary or a refund.

Often, these situations stem from commercial decisions the airline makes. They can also stem from decisions the airline makes in its day-to-day operations, such as how it manages aircraft maintenance and staffing schedules.

If the situation is within the airline's control, but required for safety purposes

Airlines' obligations to you include:

  • standards of treatment; and
  • completion of your itinerary or a refund.

These situations are generally unforeseen events where the flight disruption is legally required to reduce risk to passengers' safety.

If the situation is outside the airline's control

The airline’s obligation to you is to complete your itinerary only.

These situations are caused by events over which the carrier does not have control, which include:

  • weather conditions or natural disasters that make the safe operation of the flight impossible;
  • instructions from air traffic control;
  • airport operation issues;
  • medical emergency;
  • security threat;
  • collision with wildlife;
  • war or political instability;
  • illegal acts or sabotage;
  • Notice to Airmen (as defined in the Canadian Aviation Regulations);
  • labour disputes within the carrier or an essential service provider such as an airport or an air navigation service provider;
  • a manufacturing defect in an aircraft that reduces the safety of passengers and that was identified by the manufacturer or a competent authority; or
  • request from a police, security or customs official.

Notices

Passengers have new rights under the Canadian Transportation Agency’s (CTA) Air Passenger Protection Regulations when they travel by air.
2019-07-15
Date modified: