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

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

Members of the Nelson Nordic Ski Club show off their new snowcat. Photo: Submitted
Nelson Nordic Club celebrates new snowcat

A community fundraising effort led to the purchase

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons. File photo.
Kootenay-Columbia MP supports motion condemning Uighur genocide

Rob Morrison says labelling Uighur persecution as a genocide sends a message to Chinese government

The Skinny Genes Foundation is raising awareness and funds for a rare genetic disorder that claimed both his father and uncle.
NHL players, local businesses help Kootenay man raise funds and awareness for rare genetic disease

Signed NHL jerseys and local business donations up for auction in Skinny Genes Foundation fundraiser

An architectural design proposal from June, 2020, illustrates what a re-developed Hall Street Pier might look like. Illustration: City of Nelson
Nelson receives $1M grant for Hall St. Pier project

The design and extent of the project will be decided in the next few weeks

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

Arrow Lakes Caribou Society said the new caribou pen near the Nakusp Hotsprings is close to completion. (Submitted)
Maternity caribou pen near Nakusp inches closer to fruition

While Nakusp recently approved the project’s lease, caribou captures are delayed due to COVID-19

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Most Read