Air Passenger Protection Regulations – learn what they mean for you!

Airplane flying

In 2019, the federal government rolled out the Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR), which apply to flights to, from and within Canada.

As of September 8, 2022, the protections were expanded.

Before this date, the APPR required refunds to be provided for flight disruptions within the control of airlines.

Now, airlines are required to provide passengers with either a refund or rebooking, at the passenger’s choice, when there is a flight cancellation, or a lengthy delay, due to a situation outside the airline’s control.

What are the details?

As of September 8, 2022, if a delay of three hours or more or a cancellation is outside the airline’s control, and the airline cannot provide the passenger with a confirmed reservation leaving within 48 hours of the departure time on the passenger’s original ticket, the airline is required to, at the passenger’s choice:

  • Provide a refund; or
  • Make alternate travel arrangements for the passenger, free of charge
    • Large airlines will have to rebook the passenger on the next available flight of any airline, including competitors.

Passengers can change their decision and choose a refund at any time before being provided a confirmed reservation on an alternate flight.

When a passenger chooses to receive a refund, the airline will be required to refund the person who originally purchased the ticket, using that person’s original payment method (for example, a refund on the person’s credit card). The airline will be allowed to offer an alternative form of payment, as long as it’s agreed upon in writing. Airlines must issue refunds within 30 days.

What did the APPR already cover?

  • Airlines are required to compensate passengers for flight delays or cancellations that are in their control and not related to safety.
    • If you are flying on a large airline and the length of the delay is:
      • From 3 to 6 hours, your compensation is $400;
      • From 6 to 9 hours, your compensation is $700;
      • 9 hours or more, your compensation is $1,000.
    • If you are flying on a small airline and the length of the delay is:
      • From 3 to 6 hours, your compensation is $125;
      • From 6 to 9 hours, your compensation is $250;
      • 9 hours or more, your compensation is $500.
  • If a passenger is bumped from their flight for reasons within the airline’s control (e.g., the flight is overbooked), the airline must provide compensation of up to $2,400.
  • Airlines have to clearly communicate to passengers their rights, the recourse available to them, and any updates about delayed or cancelled flights.
  • Airlines are required to seat children under the age of 14 in close proximity to their parent or guardian.
  • If a tarmac delay lasts for over three hours and takeoff isn’t imminent, passengers are entitled to basic necessities and must be allowed to leave the plane once it’s safe to do so.
  • Airlines are required to provide compensation of up to $2,100 for lost or damaged baggage, and refund any baggage fees paid by the passenger.
  • Clear policies for transporting musical instruments must be put in place by airlines.

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