Air travel complaints

We can help resolve complaints about air travel within, to and from Canada, whether you're a Canadian or not.

Our role is to make sure that the airline has applied the terms and conditions set out in your contract with the airline – and that both you and the airline have met your end of the bargain.

We can also handle more complex cases where a passenger feels that the airline's contract is unclear, unjust, unreasonable or discriminatory.

These are some common issues we can help you with:

  • Flight delays, cancellations, missed connections, schedule changes
  • Lost, damaged or delayed baggage
  • Getting bumped due to overbooking

If your complaint is related to a disability or health issue, you can submit an accessibility complaint.

Submit an air travel complaint

  • Transcript: Facilitation process

    Unfortunately, sometimes your travel arrangements don't always go as planned. And if you feel you have a real issue to take up with your airline, you want to be heard, you want action, and you want resolution.

    So what are your options? First of all, be informed before you travel. The Canadian Transportation Agency offers handy tools to help you prepare your trip, including its Fly Smart guide and links to major airlines’ tariffs.

    An airline’s tariff lists your rights and responsibilities as a passenger, as well as those of the airline. It’s your contract when you buy your airline ticket.

    It’s important to remember that tariffs vary from airline to airline. In other words, one airline might address a complaint differently from another airline.

    But if after reviewing your airline’s tariff, you feel that it hasn't kept its end of the bargain, the fastest way to reach a solution is to first give them a chance to address your complaint.

    Before we can help, contact your airline in writing and allow it 30 days to respond in writing.

    If the airline does not respond or if you are not satisfied, the Canadian Transportation Agency may be able to help. We are experts at resolving air travel complaints for travel within, to and from Canada.

    We can help air travellers resolve complaints on issues like flight disruptions and delays, lost, delayed or damaged, baggage, or denied boarding or bumping due to overbooking.

    Our Complaint Wizard guides you quickly through the complaint process from A to Z. It explains how we can help.

    And our service standards for resolving your complaint.

    First, we'll try facilitating your complaint. It's fast and easy, the vast majority of complaints are resolved this way.

    If facilitation doesn't resolve the issue, you can try mediation, where one of our trained mediators will aim to help you and the airline reach a confidential settlement.

    Where less formal processes don't prove successful, we also offer a court-like process called adjudication, where a panel will make a decision based on the evidence presented.

    Ultimately, our job is to make sure that the airline has applied the terms and conditions of carriage of the contract and that both you and the airline have met your end of the bargain.

    Of course, remember that the best way to avoid issues is to get informed before you travel.

    Fly Smart. Know Your Rights & Responsibilities.

After you submit a complaint

You will receive a confirmation email that includes a case number. You can check the status of your complaint at any time.

Our expert staff will review your complaint and ask you for more information, if necessary.

If you haven't contacted the airline about your complaint, that's the first thing we'll do. We will forward your complaint to the airline with a 30-day deadline for them to respond. Often the issue can be resolved directly with the airline.

If you're not satisfied with the airline's response, we can try to resolve your complaint through facilitation or mediation – fast and easy informal dispute resolution processes. The vast majority of complaints are resolved this way.

Where less formal processes don't prove successful, the Agency also offers a court-like process called adjudication, where a panel will make a decision based on the evidence provided.

The adjudication process can also be used in more complex cases where a passenger feels that the airline's contract is unclear, unjust, unreasonable or discriminatory.

Issues we can and can't help you with

We can help with complaints about

Most common

  • Flight delays, cancellations, missed connections, schedule changes

    Note: Airlines usually don't offer you compensation if:

    • the situation was unavoidable (weather conditions or force majeure)
    • you missed a connection and your itinerary involved multiple tickets

  • Baggage

    For example:

    • lost, damaged or delayed baggage
    • baggage charges and size limits
    • transportation of pets as baggage

  • Tickets, reservations, air fares or charges

    For example:

    • making changes to your itinerary (changing flights, dates, times or destinations)
    • lost or expired tickets and travel vouchers
    • cancelled reservations
    • non-delivery of pre-selected seats

  • Getting bumped due to overbooking

    For example:

    • bumping with confirmed reservation
    • the amount of compensation

  • Refusal to transport

    For example:

    • based upon check-in time
    • improper travel documents
    • cancellation of reservation

  • Problems related to a disability or health issue

    If your complaint is related to a disability or health issue, you can submit an accessibility complaint.

Other

  • Children

    For example:

    • care of unaccompanied minors
    • non-delivery of selected seats

  • Cargo

    For example:

    • domestic or international rates
    • terms and conditions of cargo carriage
    • damaged, delayed, or lost cargo (including pets and animals)

  • Unlicensed carriers

    Any air operator offering service to the public for passengers or goods within, to or from Canada must have a valid licence from the Agency.

    If you have concerns about your air operator or know about an aircraft being used illegally, you can contact us. You do not have to identify yourself. Learn more.

  • Loyalty programs operated by the airline

    For example:

    • missing points
    • redeeming points
    • reservations

  • Monopoly routes

    You can submit a complaint about an air carrier's fares or rates on domestic routes that have little or no competition. We may review the fares or rates to see if they are reasonable or if the range of fares or rates offered is adequate. Learn more.

  • Failure to give notice when reducing service to a community

    You can submit a complaint about an airline failing to give notice of reduced or discontinued service to a community. This only applies to domestic routes in certain situations. Learn more.

We can't help with complaints about

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