A Vancouver Island family has been awarded $3,000 under the new federal air passenger protection rules on a flight they took from Comox to Fort Lauderdale on Air Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

A Vancouver Island family has been awarded $3,000 under the new federal air passenger protection rules on a flight they took from Comox to Fort Lauderdale on Air Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

B.C. family wins landmark tribunal case against Air Canada

“I feel a little bit like it was David versus Goliath.”

A Vancouver Island family has been awarded $3,000 under the new federal air passenger protection rules for a pre-pandemic trip from Comox to Fort Lauderdale on Air Canada.

In a Jan. 28 decision in the province’s Civil Resolution Tribunal (an administrative tribunal that has jurisdiction over small claims under $5,000, strata property disputes, motor vehicle accident injury claims and others) ordered the airline to pay Robert McNabb, Adrianne McNabb and their son Jonathan McNabb $3,000 in damages, and $159 in interest and fees.

The Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR) came into effect Dec. 15, 2019, and since the family travelled after the federal law came into effect, the APPR could apply, noted tribunal member Rama Sood in her decision.

In July 2019, the McNabbs, who live in the Comox Valley, booked roundtrip flights with Air Canada from Comox to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., which left on Dec. 31, 2019 and was set to return to the Valley Jan. 13, 2020. Their itinerary called for connecting flights in Vancouver and Montreal during both the flight out and return flight.

Upon their return to Canada, the McNabb’s flight from Montreal to Vancouver was delayed, which caused them to miss their connecting flight into Comox – the last flight of the day. They stayed overnight in Vancouver and flew out the following day; Air Canada did not pay for their accommodation, meals or transportation.

RELATED: Airlines failed to prepare adequately for new passenger rights charter: report

In the decision, Sood noted the McNabbs say the flight delay was within Air Canada’s control since it was due to staffing issues. Air Canada denied the delay was due to staffing issues and noted the one hour and 13-minute delay (the flight was delayed twice) was due to situations outside of its control.

The airline added it was only obligated to rebook the McNabbs’ flight to Comox, which it did. They also offered the McNabbs a 15 per cent promotional code as a goodwill gesture, which they declined.

While she agreed with some of the reasons for the initial delay, Sood said Air Canada’s reasons for the second delay were vague.

“On Jan. 13, it stated the delay was ‘due to additional preparation time,’ and then on Jan. 20 it stated the delay was ‘due to scheduling issues.’ It now says the delay was due to the crew’s flight to Montreal arriving late due to mechanical failure. Air Canada did not explain what the mechanical failure was and so I find it has not proved the delay was beyond its control, or within its control but due to safety purposes … I find the second delay within Air Canada’s control,” she wrote.

According to a rule within the APPR for provisions for delays, Sood noted the McNabbs are entitled to receive compensation of $1,000 each.

“I feel a little bit like it was David versus Goliath,” said Robert from his Royston home. “My hope was (going into this) was win or lose, we could come out of this with a way to tighten up air passenger regulations.”

He originally went through a complaint process directly with Air Canada upon their return to the Comox Valley, and “the results came back less than satisfactory – it was quite maddening.”

He and his family then decided to file the formal complaint to the Civil Resolution Tribunal in late summer 2020.

While he is delighted by the result, Robert admitted he fully expects Air Canada will object to the decision and will take the case to provincial court. Unlike in court, decisions made in the tribunal are not relied upon as ‘case law.’

If the case does go to court, Robert said he will consult with advocate Gábor Lukács who runs the Air Passenger Rights website and has filed more than two dozen successful complaints with the Canadian Transportation Agency.

To see the full decision, visit the CRT website: https://bit.ly/2Ldn1Bb



photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

Nelson's Diana Morita Cole is the keynote speaker of the KDocsFF film festival. Photo: Submitted
Nelson author Diana Morita Cole to speak at film festival

She will share a virtual stage with actor George Takei

Ryan Bavin of Bavin Glassworks in Invermere. Photo: Submitted
Call for entries for Columbia Basin Culture Tour

Deadline for registration for artists and venues is April 15

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Most Read