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 health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Coastal GasLink begins COVID screening of pipeline workers

Construction is once again ramping up following Northern Health approval of COVID management plan

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Chris Paulson of Burns Lake took a quick selfie with a lynx over the weekend of Feb. 20-22, 2021, after the wild cat was found eating some of his chickens. (Chris Paulson/Facebook)
VIDEO: Burns Lake man grabs lynx by scruff after chickens attacked

‘Let’s see the damage you did, buddy,’ Chris Paulson says to the wild cat

Northern Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Brucejack mine, 65 km north of Stewart on Feb. 11, 2021. (Pretivm Photo)
Northern Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Brucejack Mine, 65 kilometres north of Stewart on Feb. 11, 2021. (Pretivm Photo)
Northern Health reports 20 more COVID-19 cases in outbreak at Brucejack Mine

So far, 42 people have tested positive, nine cases are active and self-isolating onsite

Fisheries and Oceans Canada released it's 2021 Pacific Herring Integrated Fisheries Management Plan Feb. 19. (File photo)
Northern herring opportunities kept to a minimum

2021 management plan caps Prince Rupert fishery at 5 per cent

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

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

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

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

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

Most Read