Air Canada denies compensation in flagrant disregard of EU261

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Aug 14, 2019
On July 12th, six family members traveled on Air Canada from Bordeaux (BOD) to Boston (BOS) with a connection in Montreal (YUL). Both flights were booked as a single ticket. The flight from BOD to YUL was on time. However, the YUL-BOS flight was cancelled, then rebooked by Air Canada on a later flight, which was substantially delayed for mechanical and catering reasons. Final arrival in BOS was over 4 hours late. Under EU261 each traveler should be due 600 euro in compensation.

Air Canada has denied the claim with this explanation. "Air Canada submits that flight from Montreal to Boston on 2019/07/12 is not under the Scope of the EU Regulations 261/2004. Air Canada is not a Community carrier and this flight was departing from Canada and not the EU. In cases where flights are not operated by Community carriers, the EU Regulations 261/2004 applies where passengers are departing from an airport located in the territory of a Member State to which the Treaty applies."

my understanding, which I politely communicated to Air Canada's customer relations agent handling the issue, is that even when the flight is not operated by a Community carrier, and even when it is departing from Canada, the flight is still considered a single flight under EU261 as interpreted in May, 2018 in the Wegener case by the Court of European Justice. See… and a second decision in July 2019 reaffirming the Wegener decision. .

This decision states…"By today’s judgment, the Court states, first, that a flight with one or more connections which is the subject of a single reservation constitutes a whole for the purposes of the right of passengers to compensation provided for in the regulation on the rights of air passengers. Accordingly, connecting flights of which the first flight was performed from an airport located in the territory of a Member State, in this case Prague, fall within the scope of that regulation even if the second of those connecting flights was performed by a non-Community carrier from and to a country which is not an EU Member State.

The Air Canada agent responded to my argument with a curt reply "Continuing to exchange emails will not change our position. Respectfully, we consider this matter closed."

Other than going to a third party collection agency, what avenues do I have to escalate this to a higher level within Air Canada or to Canadian to EU regulatory agencies? Somehow, I suspect this agent is either ignorant of the details of EU261 or is a rogue agent that might not represent Air Canada's final position. And if I go to a third party, any recommendations?

Dwayne Coward

Staff Member
Apr 13, 2016
St. Louis
If the airline has denied the compensation under EC261 the next step is to appeal to the National Enforcement Body, which in your case would be France. They can make a determination if compensation is appropriate in accordance with the regulation. The following website explains how to file with the French authorities (if you don't understand French, using a chrome browser with the translate extension will help):