Dear ACTA Members,
On Monday July 15, 2019, the Canadian Transportation Agency shared guidance material regarding the newly published Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR). While we have included all the documents provided by CTA, below is a summary of some of the key points of interest and possible questions travel agencies may receive from your customers. These notes cover the obligations of airlines concerning communication, denied boarding, tarmac delay, lost or damaged baggage and the transportation of musical instruments. The remaining obligations of delayed or cancelled flights and the seating of children under the age of 14 will come into effect on December 15, 2019.
- All flights that land or take off in Canada (domestic and international) are covered by the APPR. When a passenger’s itinerary involves flights between two points outside of Canada that connect with a flight to or from Canada, the APPR will apply depending on the type of fare and the airline operating the flight.
- Sometimes, travel agencies or online flight sellers group flights together themselves and offer them to consumers. If a passenger purchased separate fares combined by these third parties, this would not be considered a single fare – so the APPR wouldn’t apply to any flight in this package that wasn’t to or from Canada.
- The tarmac delay disembarkation rules apply only to flights delayed at a Canadian airport.
- There are different requirements depending on the role an airlines plays with respect to a flight:
- Airline issuing the ticket: The airline issuing the ticket is responsible for providing the required information on digital platforms the airline uses to sell tickets and on travel documents on which the passenger's itinerary appears.
- Operating airline: In the event of a flight disruption, the airline operating the affected flight is responsible for communicating with passengers, providing standards of treatment, rebooking or refunding the passenger, and paying compensation.
- Joint liability: Where passengers are being carried by one airline on behalf of another under a commercial agreement, those carriers are jointly liable for the requirements regarding: notices at the airport, the seating of children under the age of 14, and the transportation of musical instruments.
- Airlines are required by regulation to use a standard notice to passengers that contains the text previously shared in our July 15, 2019 bulletin posted on the ACTA website. This notice will be adjusted once the second phase of obligations come into effect December 15, 2019.
- The standard notice and summaries of key terms and conditions must be included on tickets, itinerary receipts, and any other document listing the passenger’s itinerary issued to the passenger, however, hyperlinks to this information are acceptable.
- Travel agents need to provide carriers the contact information of the passenger so that carriers meet their responsibilities under the regulations as well as travel agents under IATA Resolution 830d. If a passenger exercises his or her right not to provide contact details, this must be indicated in the PNR.
- This guide explains the difference between “denied boarding” and “refusal to transport”, how airlines’ obligations differ depending on whether they deny boarding for reasons within their control or outside their control; and
- What airlines must do for the affected passengers in those different cases.
- There are different obligations depending on whether the carrier is large (transported at least two million passengers during each of the past two years) or small.
- Before any carrier denies boarding for reasons within its control or required for safety, it must look for volunteers from all confirmed passengers. It may not deny anyone boarding until it has taken this step
- Passengers already on board cannot be denied boarding other than for safety reasons.
- If an airline must deny boarding to a passenger against their will because it has been unable to find a volunteer willing to give up their seat, the airline must take measure to prioritize boarding. The Priority Boarding List is included in the guide.
- If an airline denies boarding against a passenger’s will, its obligations include making alternate travel arrangements, providing standards of treatment, paying compensation for inconvenience and communicating key information to passengers.
- Compensation in all denied boarding cases within the carrier’s control except those required for safety:
- $900 if the passenger’s arrival time at their destination on the original ticket is delayed by less than six hours;
- $1,800 if the arrival time is delayed by six hours or more, but less than nine hours; and
- $2,400 if the arrival time is delayed by nine hours or more.
- In all instances, the airline must provide the passenger their payment within 48 hours.
- Airlines may offer another form of compensation, such as vouchers, however under strict conditions noted in the guide.
- If a passenger accepts another form of compensation, the passenger must confirm in writing that the airlines informed them of the monetary amount they were entitled to and that elected to accept the other form of compensation.
- Airlines operating domestic flights that are not captured by the Montreal Convention are liable in cases of lost, delayed or damaged baggage as through the Montreal Convention applied.
- The maximum liability for damages for baggage lost, damaged or delayed is 1,131 special drawing rights (SDR) which is the International Monetary Fund’s unit of accounting and equals approximately $2,100 CAN (subject to currency exchange rates). This amount could change over time, and is reviewed every 5 years.
- There are strict time limits for making a claim.
Disruptions within the carrier’s control can include:
- Commercial decisions:
- Overbooking flights;
- Consolidating or cancelling flights with low passenger demand; and
- Similar actions aimed at maximizing revenue.
- Day-to-day operations:
- Staff and flight crew scheduling and availability;
- Flight preparation activities like aircraft cleaning, baggage loading, and aircraft fueling; and
- Routine or scheduled maintenance, including any subsequent repairs or required activities. A disruption caused problem with the in-flight entertainment system would be considered within a carrier’s control.
Disruptions outside the carrier’s control include safety and security, medical emergencies, natural phenomena and other situations such as instructions from air traffic control, airport operational issues and strikes or other labour disruptions at an essential service provider (airport or air navigation)
- Unexpected aircraft malfunctions. If a passenger had to be denied boarding due to the discovery of a broken seatbelt and there were no additional seats, this would be considered a situation within the carrier’s control, but required for safety.
The CTA has created a variety of new banners and other materials in both official languages, which are now available at https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1DbgngNg5vZnoE2p2xK3-2tr8ZaIOGtr5.
There are additional YouTube videos that can be linked to your websites or shared with your clients: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqjvCRt2m-Q
ACTA will continue to keep you updated as new information becomes available from the CTA, air carriers and GDSs.