Delays, cancellations and schedule changes

Times shown in timetables or elsewhere are approximate and are not always guaranteed. Schedules can sometimes change, and flights can also be delayed or cancelled for various reasons. Your carrier should make reasonable efforts to inform you of any delays, cancellations and schedule changes, and, to the extent possible, the reasons for them.

Air carriers are required to apply their tariff and can be ordered by the Agency to compensate you for out-of-pocket expenses you may incur if they do not do so. Furthermore, pursuant to applicable international conventions, carriers are also liable for damages you have incurred unless they can demonstrate that they took all the measures that could reasonably be required to prevent them, or that it was impossible for them to take such measures.

They will often arrange alternate transportation to enable you to reach the destination named on your ticket. If this is not possible, you may be entitled to a refund of the unused portion of your ticket. You should be aware that the Agency cannot award compensation for inconvenience, stress, pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment as a result of a schedule irregularity.

In cases of long delays, some carriers will offer vouchers for food and overnight accommodation upon request. Some major Canadian carriers have additional service commitments describing how they should treat passengers in the event that a flight is delayed, overbooked or cancelled, as well as other related passenger rights incorporated as terms and conditions of carriage in their tariffs, which are enforceable by the Agency. This includes instances where a lengthy delay requires an overnight stay or the flight is delayed on the tarmac.

In 2012, the Agency issued five final decisions on the reasonableness of international and domestic tariff provisions of some carriers about overbooking and cancellation of flights. The rulings significantly increased the rights and remedies of the passengers travelling with the air carriers named in the decisions. However, as these rulings do not apply to all air carriers, not all passengers can benefit from the same rights and remedies. For those carriers subject to the decisions, in the event a flight is delayed, overbooked or cancelled, passengers can now choose whether they prefer a refund or to be rebooked. In certain cases, carriers must consider rebooking passengers on the first available flight(s), including flights with non-partnered carriers. If overbooking or cancellation of a flight results in the passengers choosing to no longer travel, they will be entitled to a return flight home within a reasonable time, free of charge, and a full refund of the ticket price.

Always review your carrier's tariff for its policy regarding delays, cancellations and schedule changes.

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