(Montreal) Air Canada has rejected compensation claims from some travelers who were among the thousands affected by flight delays due to computer malfunctions in recent weeks — a response it now describes as “false,” ensuring cash offers are in the works.
In letters to some customers, the airline initially stated that the computer problem was beyond its control, relieving it of its obligation to pay compensation.
“In this case, the compensation you are requesting does not apply, as the disruption was caused by an event beyond our control. This flight has been delayed due to an unforeseen technology issue, affecting one of our suppliers, which has caused the disruption to occur,” the airline said in an email to passenger Douglas Judson on Thursday. affects our business.”
Douglas Goodson claims he arrived at his destination more than three hours late when his flight from 1any June, between Winnipeg and Toronto, was delayed due to a computer problem.
“I find the dishonesty and disrespect of all of this most infuriating,” he said in a phone interview.
“There are some really interesting logical aberrations at Air Canada when it comes to whether something is really wrong.”
While Air Canada denied his claim for compensation, it offered Mr. Judson a 15% discount on any future flights, which the carrier considered a “goodwill gesture”.
Contacted by The Canadian Press on Friday, the Montreal-based company said the response stemmed from an error.
“Air Canada is providing compensation consistent with Air Passenger Protection Regulation (APPR) compensation levels for flights affected by the computer outage. Some passengers received incorrect answers from us, and we are in the process of calling them back with the correct answer,” spokeswoman Angela Mah said.
Fill in the gaps in the existing rules
The nation’s largest carrier has been struggling with intermittent computer issues for the past 15 days.
On May 25, it delayed more than half of its flights due to a “technical problem” with the system the airline uses to communicate with planes and monitor their performance. 1any In June, it delayed or canceled more than 500 flights — more than three-quarters of its flights that day, according to tracking service FlightAware — due to a “computer glitch.”
On the same day, Transport Minister Omar Al-Ghabra said that Air Canada has obligations to the affected passengers.
“Air Canada has obligations to the affected passengers because it is caused by things the airline has control over,” he told reporters on May 1.any June, hours after the emergence of computer problems.
In April, Minister Al-Ghabra introduced measures to toughen penalties and close loopholes in passenger compensation as part of a proposed reform to Canada’s Passenger Rights Act.
If passed as part of the budget bill, the reforms would require airlines to prove that flight disruptions were caused by safety issues or causes beyond their control, with specific examples being drawn up by the Canada Transport Agency for exceptions to compensation.
It will no longer be the passenger who will have to prove that they are entitled to compensation. “It will now be the airline that will have to prove that they don’t have to pay,” Al-Ghabra said April 24.
Currently, a passenger is entitled to compensation between $125 and $1,000 for a delay of more than three hours or a cancellation made within 14 days of the scheduled departure, unless the disruption is caused by events outside the airline’s control, such as weather conditions. or a security problem, including a mechanical problem. The amount varies depending on the size of the carrier and the length of the delay.
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