Air Canada was ranked as one of the worst airlines in the world for on-time performance in 2018 & 2019.
Thousands of passengers were left waiting for hours at the airport, reaching their destinations much later than expected. Some will have even missed important events due to Air Canada’s bad performance.
Fortunately, a new set of rules were activated in December 2019 that advocate for air passenger rights in Canada. Air Canada has to compensate their passengers for delays, cancellations and overbookings, by law.
Since the rules are so new, and since the airlines don’t want you to know about them, so few passengers know about Air Canada flight delay compensation. Even if you do request compensation, they often use tricks to avoid paying you.
As well as the Canadian regulations, Air Canada passengers departing from an EU airport are also protected by the similar EU Regulation 261/2004.
If you had a bad experience flying with Air Canada because of delays or cancellations, you’ve come to the right place. Tackling the experience of making a claim alone can be long, stressful, and lead you nowhere.
This guide will tell you:
You have a few options when it comes to claiming your Air Canada compensation for a flight delay.
The fast, easy way is by using our free claim calculator to calculate what you’re owed. If you’re eligible to receive compensation, we’ll handle the whole process for you, so you don’t have to stress.
The other option is to contact Air Canada’s customer service directly by emailing them or phoning them. This is a notoriously difficult route to take that is long and complicated.
In 2018, it took Air Canada 65 days on average to process a claim. In 2019, it took them 90 days on average.
Air Canada is also known for trying to avoid paying you what you’re owed by hiding the reasons for a delay or cancellation.
You might be entitled to up to 600€ from the airline!
If your flight has been delayed for over 3 hours, you’re officially eligible for compensation. This applies to both the EU and Canadian regulations. If your Air Canada flight departs from an EU airport, the EU regulations are active too.
The delay has to be within the airline’s control. Unfortunately, you’re not owed compensation if the delay was caused by extraordinary circumstances, such as:
- Security incidents
- Medical emergencies
- Safety concerns
- Bad weather
Oftentimes, delays are within an airline’s control. They will be understaffed, or consolidate flights, or do untimely scheduled maintenance. In these situations, they must pay you for the inconvenience you faced.
Note: If your delayed flight took place over a year ago, you can no longer file a claim. There is a one-year time limit on claiming flight delay compensation.
If your Air Canada flight departed from an EU airport, you will most likely receive €600 in compensation, since most flights will be over 3,500km. If the delay is between 3 and 4 hours only, you will get 50% of that amount, totalling €300.
If your Air Canada flight departs from anywhere outside of an EU airport, you’re covered under the Canadian regulations.
In this case, you will be compensated based on how long the delay was for.
The time of the delay is calculated based on the arrival time to your destination. They will count how many hours later you arrived compared to the original scheduled time.
Yes, you can get a flight delay refund! As long as your alternative flight departs 3+ hours later than your original one. You’re also entitled to compensation for the inconvenience you faced during the delay, in addition to the refund for your ticket.
You received the dreaded news that your Air Canada flight has been cancelled.
What happens now?
First of all, Air Canada must offer you either reroute you or refund your ticket. You choose which option you prefer. Air Canada automatically rebook you, but you don’t have to accept the next travel arrangements. You are within your rights to receive a full ticket refund instead.
If Air Canada cancels your flight and you’re still at the airport, head to an Air Canada agent for help.
If your rescheduled flight is meant to arrive 3+ hours later than scheduled, you’re also eligible for monetary compensation. Head to ClaimCompass to start your claim for flight cancellation compensation. Even if you choose to accept the alternative flight, if your delay was over 3 hours, money is still owed to you.
To be eligible for compensation, you have to have been informed about the cancelled flight less than 14 days before the flight. You’re not eligible if you cancelled the ticket yourself, or were informed more than 14 days in advance.
If you arrive at your destination more than 3 hours later than the original scheduled time, you’re entitled to money.
If you reject Air Canada’s offer for a rerouted flight, you will still get compensated for your inconvenience if you make a claim. They must pay you $400, on top of the refunded ticket price.
The amount of compensation you’ll receive depends on how long the delay was and the size of the airline. In this case, Air Canada is considered a large airline.
Here’s what you’re entitled to:
The length of the delay is calculated based on how much later you arrived at your destination than the scheduled original time. For example, if you had a flight from Toronto to Los Angeles that was scheduled to arrive at 2pm, but you got there at 6pm, you’re entitled to $400 CAD.
If your flight departed from an EU airport, you can choose to claim your compensation through the guidelines outlined in EU Regulation 261/2004 route instead.
In this case, the cancelled flight amount of compensation you’ll get is based on the length of your journey and how much later you arrive at your destination compared to when your original flight was supposed to arrive.
You’re only entitled to compensation if your alternative flight arrives at your destination 3+ hours after the scheduled one was supposed to.
If your flight meets those conditions, here is what you can claim:
Note: In cases of flights longer than 3,500km but delayed by less than 4 hours, you are entitled to only 50% of the amount (€300).
If you get the dreaded news that your Air Canada flight has been overbooked, the first thing that will happen is the customer service agents will ask for volunteers to surrender their seats.
We recommend that you do not volunteer to surrender your seat, since you automatically lose your right to receive compensation.
If you were involuntarily denied boarding as a result of an overbooked flight, you will get compensated.
For an Air Canada flight that departs from an EU airport and exceeds 3,500 km in flight distance, you’re eligible to receive €600 in denied boarding compensation.
That amount is cut in half (€300) if your alternative flight lands between three and four hours after your original scheduled landing time.
The compensation amounts are different for Canadian regulations.
Passengers who are involuntarily denied boarding can claim compensation in these amounts:
Note: If your Air Canada flight departed from an EU airport, you must choose whether you want to make your claim through the EU regulations, or the new Canadian regulations. You cannot receive compensation from both.
Do they offer live chat support?
No, Air Canada don’t currently offer live chat support on their website.
Phone number and/or email for support
Within Canada & US: 1-888-247-2262
Toll free number to North America for other countries: 00 800 669 92222
Yes, but in 2018, it took 65 days on average to process a claim. In 2019, it took them 90 days on average.
One passenger spoke to Global News about their nightmare experience claiming compensation from Air Canada:
“Di Censo estimates it took her around 50 hours’ worth of phone calls, emails and research for her family to eventually gain compensation and an apology.”
It’s also common for Air Canada to try and hide the real reasons for delay, in order to avoid paying compensation.
Air Canada is the largest airline in Canada, with a fleet size of 185 aircraft, flying to 207 destinations around the world. It was founded in 1937 and is a member of the Star Alliance.
Air Canada employs over 30,000 people, with its corporate headquarters located in Montreal, Quebec. Its main hub airport is Toronto Pearson International Airport.
As far as frequent flyer programs, they operate under the Aeroplan program, which co-exists with their own internal rewards program called Altitude.
There’s no sign of Air Canada going away anytime soon, considering they earned over $19 billion in 2019.
Their luggage requirements are standard compared to other airlines. The amount of free baggage you can take onboard depends on your ticket level. For Economy class, you can bring one carry-on and one personal item onboard. If you’re travelling within Canada or between Canada and the U.S., you have to pay for any checked bags. If you’re travelling internationally, you’re allowed one free checked item.
The tab below provides specific data regarding the airline's on-time performance. It includes the amount of flights operated by the airline each month, which portion of these flight arrived on time (i.e with less than 15 minutes delay), which portion consists of delayed flights, and the average delay of their flights in minutes. Source: Flightstats.com
Almost a third of Air Canada’s flights reach their destination with a delay of at least 15 minutes, making the Canadian airline one of the worst performers in terms of punctuality. Average delays are close to 52 minutes. This poor on-time performance since the beginning of January 2018 is reflected in the rating of 2 out of 10.
While the airline’s punctuality can be argued, Air Canada is rather good at processing compensation claims, with a rating of 7.0.
As illustrated by the table above, Air Canada is quick to provide a first reply to compensation claims. Passengers can expect a reply in about 2 weeks. The Canadian airline also performs relatively well when it comes to closing claims, with an average processing time of 65 days. Only when the claim goes to court does Air Canada rank among the average of the industry: After the court has ruled that compensation should be paid to the passenger, the airline takes 91 days on average to send the money. However, toward the end of 2018, Air Canada started to make their claiming process more complicated for passengers who do not want to deal with it themselves and use the services of companies like ClaimCompass. This is a change for the worst, since not all passengers have the legal or technical expertise to claim compensation on their own - yet, they are entitled to compensation too.
Yes, if both tickets were under the same booking number and the airline is responsible for the delay of the first leg of your journey.
If you’ve already boarded your flight and you’re stuck waiting in your seat for the flight to depart, this is what’s called a “tarmac delay”.
The new Canadian regulations from the Canadian Transportation Agency protect your air passenger rights in the case of a long tarmac delay (3+ hours).
The airline is required to give you a “minimum standard of treatment” on the plane, including working restrooms, complimentary food and drinks, and proper ventilation.
They also must let you leave the plane if you’ve been waiting on the tarmac for over three hours. In certain situations, that figure is extended to 3 hours, 45 minutes if they’re confident that they will lift off in that time.
You’re also entitled to compensation, just like an ordinary delay spent in the airport. The compensation amounts are the same:
Air Canada has a strict flight cancellation policy. Your right for a ticket refund depends on the type of ticket you purchased.
For the first 24 hours after booking a flight, every passenger has the right to cancel their flight and receive a full refund.
After that first 24 hours, budget or promotional tickets, such as Economy Basic, cannot be refunded, unless you want to pay a large fee.