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Was your travel disrupted? Here’s what you’re owed — and what you won’t get

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The weather may be sunny, but many travelers are still unable to reach their destinations or return home after last week’s winter storms. I am still waiting for your reply and refund.

Hundreds of Canadians are stranded in Mexico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic after Sunwing repeatedly canceled flights home. Stranded passengers say they received little information or support from the airline.

  • Are you stuck due to a canceled flight or train? we want to talk to yousend email to

WestJet and Air Canada passengers have also reported problems reaching their destinations.

Meanwhile, some rail passengers wait to reach their destinations after the Via Rail train between Windsor and Quebec City stopped overnight Friday through Saturday, leaving travelers stranded on board for more than 20 hours. . Via Rail resumed service between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal on Tuesday, but warned of significant delays due to congestion along the route.

Some travelers are anxious to know when they will be able to reach their destination, while others want to know when they will be able to receive a refund or compensation, i.e. if they are entitled to anything.

The long wait for travelers began at Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport on Friday. Some passengers have not yet reached their destination, while others are stranded and unable to return home. (Andrey Ivanov/AFP/Getty Images)

air travel rights

there is clear rules Provided to Canadian airlines in case of delay or cancellation, what a passenger is entitled to depends on the cause of the disruption. For example, if a passenger is unable to land for reasons within the airline’s control (e.g. lack of crew), food and beverages, accommodation if he has to wait overnight for a new flight, or if the flight delay exceeds his three days. You are entitled to compensation if time.

But if the situation is Outside the airline’s controlPassengers do not receive the same standard of care and compensation in cases such as bad weather.

Major airlines are supposed to rebook passengers on new flights to their destinations within 48 hours of their original departure time, even if that means booking tickets on a competitor’s flight. .But small airlineAirlines such as Sunwing should only rebook passengers on the next available flight or another partner airline.

In a statement, Sunwing said it was working to arrange “recovery” flights, and customers had to book their own return flights with another airline before Submit a refund request For unused Sunwing flights.

John Lawford, executive director of Ottawa’s Center for Public Interest Advocacy, said the airline did not appear to be “coming close” to passengers about the right to be rebooked with another airline.

Many people sit and stand around their luggage at the airport. Some are sitting on the floor looking at their mobile phones.
Sunwing passengers wait at Mexico’s Cancun International Airport on Tuesday. The airline said it was arranging “recovery” flights for stranded travelers, but did not disclose when or where those flights would take place. (Elizabeth Lewis/AFP/Getty Images)

“Passengers who insist on getting flights with another airline …. should know that if they can’t rebook within two days, they have that right,” Lawford said. .

He recommends that passengers who are delayed or stranded should keep all receipts and claim compensation from the airline.

Reduced rights for rail passengers

There are no equal passenger rights to protect rail travelers. This means that Via Rail customers whose travel has recently been disrupted are entitled to only what the company wants them to receive.

Via Rail said in a statement to CBC News on Tuesday that passengers whose trains were canceled between December 24 and 26 will automatically receive a full refund. A passenger can cancel his Dec. 27 trip online and receive a refund.

Customers need to contact via rail Request a refund for a connecting leg of your trip or a return leg.

A person in a coat and mask talks to a driver in a dark blue taxi outside Via railway station on a snowy day.
Ester Ahn boards a cab after trains were canceled on Saturday as Via Rail services around Coburg, Ontario were suspended. (Nick Lachance/Reuters)

It was unclear whether passengers trapped on a stopped train for too long last week would receive compensation.

Via Rail said all trains on the Toronto-to-Ottawa and Toronto-to-Montreal routes will operate on their normal schedule starting Wednesday, though delays are possible.

Better accountability?

In the United States, Southwest Airlines faces special scrutiny after canceling thousands of flights and stranded travelers at airports across the country in recent days.

Both the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation will look into airline behavior, including why they canceled more flights after the worst of the inclement weather passed.

A traveler lies on the floor in the southwest counter row.
Southwest Airlines canceled more than 12,000 flights over the holiday weekend, prompting an investigation by the US Department of Transportation and a Senate committee. Here, travelers wait at the Baltimore/Washington International Airport on Tuesday. (Michael A. McCoy/Reuters)

Lawford suggested that Canadian travelers could contact local legislators and share their travel experiences to pressure legislators to improve air passenger rights.

A spokesman for Federal Transport Minister Omar Al-Ghabra said in a statement to CBC News that his office and Transport Canada “are in regular contact with airlines and airports to maintain the safe movement of passengers. I’m sure we have what it takes,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the Via Rail disruption said the government would “hold everyone accountable” but did not give details.

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