Decision No. 260-C-A-2015

August 14, 2015

APPLICATION by David Smith against Air Canada also carrying on business as Air Canada rouge.

Case number: 
15-02795

INTRODUCTION

[1] David Smith filed with the Canadian Transportation Agency (Agency) an application on behalf of himself and four family members against Air Canada also carrying on business as Air Canada rouge (Air Canada), regarding the delay of direct Flight No. AC1728 from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada to Montego Bay, Jamaica, due to an unscheduled stop in Montréal, Quebec, Canada. Mr. Smith states that due to this unplanned stop, the flight arrived at its destination almost three hours late and cost his family half a day of their vacation. Mr. Smith requests compensation in the amount of $925.00 paid out in either cash or a non-expiring voucher.

ISSUES

  1. Did Air Canada properly apply Rules 80(A)(1) and (A)(3) of its International Passenger Rules and Fares Tariff, NTA(A) No. 458 (Tariff) as required by subsection 110(4) of the Air Transportation Regulations, SOR/88-58, as amended (ATR), when it made a stop in Montréal, resulting in the delay of Mr. Smith’s travel?
  2. If Air Canada did not properly apply its Tariff, what remedy, if any, is available to Mr. Smith?

RELEVANT TARIFF EXTRACTS

[2] The applicable Tariff provisions relevant to this matter are set out in the Appendix.

ISSUE 1: DID AIR CANADA PROPERLY APPLY RULES 80(A)(1) AND (A)(3) OF ITS TARIFF, AS REQUIRED BY SUBSECTION 110(4) OF THE ATR, WHEN IT MADE A STOP IN MONTRÉAL, RESULTING IN THE DELAY OF MR SMITH'S TRAVEL?

Position of Mr. Smith

[3] Mr. Smith submits that on February 27, 2015, his family boarded a direct flight from Halifax to Montego Bay and once on board the aircraft, the pilot informed the passengers that the aircraft would be stopping in Montréal for “fuel and tech”. Mr. Smith states that he was informed by a flight attendant that the detour was due to headwinds that would not allow the aircraft to return from its destination. Mr. Smith contends that when they arrived in Montréal, he did not see the aircraft being fuelled, but witnessed a change in flight crew. Mr. Smith points out that he paid for a direct flight, but due to Air Canada’s “bungling” of its scheduling, it had to stop in Montréal for a flight crew change. According to Mr. Smith, they were to arrive in Jamaica at 12:20 p.m., but arrived almost three hours late. Mr. Smith asserts that this stop in Montréal cost them to lose half a day of their vacation.

[4] Mr. Smith states that he contacted Air Canada regarding the delay and he was offered 10 percent off his next vacation, which he rejected.

Position of Air Canada

[5] Air Canada submits that Mr. Smith’s travel was governed by the terms and conditions of carriage found in Rules 80 (A)(1) and (A)(3) of the Tariff.

[6] Air Canada asserts that a technical stop in Montréal was required to allow for fuel to be added to the aircraft due to flight load restrictions and headwinds. To support this submission, Air Canada provided a statement from its Flight Dispatch Director and evidence to demonstrate the prevailing weather conditions at the time of the flight. This resulted in Flight No. AC1728 arriving in Montego Bay at 2:10 p.m., instead of 12:45 p.m., as stated on the itinerary. Air Canada contends that this is contrary to Mr. Smith’s statements and it was not a delay of “almost three hours”. Air Canada argues that the remedies sought by Mr. Smith are not available to him through the Agency, and requests that the application be dismissed.

ANALYSIS AND FINDINGS

[7] When an application is filed with the Agency, the applicant must, on a balance of probabilities, establish that the air carrier has failed to apply the terms and conditions of carriage appearing in the applicable tariff.

[8] Mr. Smith states that he paid for a direct flight from Halifax to Montego Bay, and that the unplanned stop in Montréal caused his family to lose half a day of vacation. According to Mr. Smith, he did not see the aircraft being fuelled but did see a change in flight crew. Air Canada argues that according to its Tariff, it is permitted to make a stopover when needed, and that the times of departure and arrival as stated on itineraries are not binding, and are subject to change. Air Canada provided a statement indicating that Mr. Smith was delayed by less than an hour and a half, and not the three hours he stated. Air Canada also provided evidence of headwinds and contends that this made it impossible to continue to Jamaica non-stop with all the passengers. The Agency notes Mr. Smith’s statement that he did not personally observe the aircraft being fuelled; however, the Agency accepts Air Canada’s evidence that this was the reason for the stopover based on the evidence submitted by Air Canada.

[9] Based on the above, the Agency is of the opinion that, on February 27, 2015, Air Canada’s Flight No. AC1728 experienced a schedule irregularity, as defined by Rules 80(A)(1) and (A)(3) of its Tariff, and that Air Canada properly applied its Tariff by making a stop for operational reasons. Therefore, the Agency finds that Mr. Smith has failed to establish, on a balance of probabilities, that Air Canada did not properly apply the terms and conditions set out in its Tariff, as required by subsection 110(4) of the ATR.

[10] Therefore, there is no need for the Agency to address Issue 2.

CONCLUSION

[11] The Agency dismisses the application.


Appendix

Air Canada’s International Passenger Rules and Fares Tariff NTA(A) No. 458

Rule 80 SCHEDULE IRREGULARITIES

(A) GENERAL

(1) Schedules not guaranteed. Time and aircraft type shown in timetables or elsewhere are approximate and not guaranteed, and form no part of the contract of carriage. Schedules are subject to change without notice. No employee, agent or representative of the carrier is authorized to bind carrier by any statements or representation as to the dates or times of departure or arrival, or of the operation of any flight. It is always recommended that the passenger ascertain the flight’s status and departure time either by registering for updates on their electronic device, via the carrier’s website or by referring to airport terminal displays.

[...]

(3) Best efforts. Carrier undertakes to use its best efforts to carry the passenger and baggage with reasonable dispatch, but no particular time is fixed for the commencement or completion of carriage. Subject thereto carrier may, without notice, substitute alternate carriers or aircraft and may alter the route, add stopovers or omit the stopping places shown on the face of the ticket in case of necessity.

Member(s)

Stephen Campbell
Date modified: