Lawsuit launched against Air Canada for fuel surcharges


On August 14th, a class action lawsuit against Air Canada for illegally overcharging some passengers for fuel was given the go-ahead by Quebec’s Superior Court. Michael Vathilakis, the lawyer who is handling the lawsuit for the petitioners, claims that Air Canada overcharged them by more than double the actual cost of the fuel on some of their flights. As an example, he referred to a January 2014 flight to Paris where the airline purportedly charged passengers 105% more than the actual cost of the fuel – claiming it was more than cost of fuel used for the complete flight.

According to the lawsuit, economy passengers paid $238 just for fuel charges, amounting to $163 more than they were required to, based on the airline’s own contract description of the charge – which is to partly offset the fluctuating price of the fuel. It also maintains the airline received $73,878 in fuel surcharges for the flight, rather than the $23,164 it should have been. In a statement released by the airline in response to the allegations, they said, ‘we disagree with these allegations, and we intend to vigorously defend our position through the courts’.

On May 24th 2019, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) announced the finalization of the ‘Air Passenger Protection Regulations’. As of July 15th 2019, airlines have been required to meet some of the new obligations and the remaining obligations will come into effect on December 15th 2019. Here is a summary of the regulations that have come or will be coming into effect soon:

‘The regulations provide for clearer and more consistent air passenger rights by imposing certain minimum airline requirements in air travel – including standards of treatment and in some situations, compensation for passengers. The regulations set out airlines’ obligations to passengers in the following areas’: Communication, Delayed or cancelled flights, Denied boarding, Tarmac delays, The seating of children under the age of 14, Lost or damaged baggage and The transportation of musical instruments.

You can read the full act here.

By: Bonnie Wurst – [email protected]

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