Air Canada is canceling more than 9,500 flights this summer. What this means for your travel plans

Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Toronto Pearson International Airport on April 28, 2021.Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Air Canada announced last week that it was canceling thousands of flights in July and August in a bid to ease what it called ‘unprecedented pressures’ that the overwhelming resurgence in travel had placed on the industry air transport.

The airline was already operating at just 80% of pre-pandemic levels. The move has sparked outrage from consumers and advocates, who say Air Canada should offer better compensation to the hundreds of thousands of passengers whose summer flights have now been canceled.

Air Canada cuts summer flights as industry faces ‘unprecedented pressure’ on travel operations

Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said the airline believed the schedule changes announced last week would help stabilize the situation, but warned it would take time.

Here’s what cancellations mean for your travel plans.

How many flights will be cancelled?

More than 9,500 flights will be canceled in July and August – an average of 154 flights per day – as Air Canada seeks to cut its schedule by 15%, most of which will be to and from Toronto or Montreal.

Three routes from Montreal to Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Kelowna, British Columbia, will be temporarily suspended. Air Canada will also suspend its service from Toronto to Fort McMurray, Alberta.

International flights will not be affected, in part because they are harder to book, Mr Fitzpatrick said.

Some of the airline’s main problems relate to late-night flights using single-aisle aircraft, he said. The reduction in evening flights, Mr. Fitzpatrick added, will allow Air Canada to improve its start-up performance the next morning, help stabilize the airline’s schedule and help in other areas such as as baggage handling, catering and aircraft grooming.

Does Air Canada offer refunds and financial compensation?

Currently, Air Canada’s policy on delays and cancellations offers customers the option of receiving a full refund, regardless of the reason, if a flight is cancelled, delayed by more than three hours or if a connection is added to a route.

The airline is also offering compensation – separate from refunds – between $400 and $1,000 due to cancellation or delay for travelers who arrive at their final destination three hours or more after the arrival time. scheduled for reasons deemed to be within Air Canada’s control and unrelated to safety issues.

Cancellations for reasons beyond Air Canada’s control include crew scheduling issues or when necessary equipment is not available. However, travelers whose flights have been canceled due to safety issues such as maintenance issues, travel advisory updates, bad weather and sick crew members or passengers will not be eligible for compensation.

More protections for passengers are coming. Changes to the Air Passenger Protection Regulations, which came into force in 2019, will require airlines to provide refunds or alternative flights to passengers whose trips are canceled or delayed by at least three hours for reasons beyond the control of the carriers. They will come into force on September 8.

Airlines will reimburse passengers facing long delays and cancellations under new regulations

The changes allow customers to choose between a refund or another flight that departs within 48 hours on the airline in question, or a partner airline, at no additional cost. Major carriers are required to put customers on competitors’ planes. But until then, passengers whose flights are canceled or delayed by three hours or more for reasons the airline cannot control, including weather conditions or border closures, are not entitled to a refund. , and the airline must rebook them on the next available flight.

How to check if your flight is affected

Air Canada’s flight status page on its website allows passengers who have already booked a flight to see if it has been canceled up to a week in advance. Travelers with a reservation can enter their flight number or flight itinerary and departure date into the search engine.

When you book a flight with Air Canada, the airline indicates that you are also automatically subscribed to receive flight notifications, which can be reconfirmed when you check in. For further questions, travelers in Canada and the United States can call 1-888-247-2262. at any time.

What to do if your luggage gets lost

If you cannot find your baggage at baggage claim, Air Canada advises you to contact your airline’s baggage service agent upon arrival, who will ask you for your contact information, a detailed description of your baggage and items, your baggage claim stubs and boarding. pass.

This information will be used to help you create a WorldTracer incident report, which you can use on the WorldTracer website to update or review the status of your lost baggage. Air Canada advises anyone who does not immediately create this incident report to call Air Canada’s central baggage office at 1-888-689-2247 as soon as possible, at all times.

If your baggage is not found after three days, you will be asked to complete a baggage tracking form, which you can find here.

If your baggage is lost, Air Canada will refund checked baggage fees and offer interim refunds for “reasonable expenses you incurred for rental or essential items.” You can claim reimbursement here, provided your claims are supported by receipts.

“Each delayed bag is expensive for us to manage and deliver post-flight, so we have a double incentive to get bags arriving with customers,” Air Canada said in an emailed statement.

With reports of David Milstead, Eric Atkins and The Canadian Press.

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