Application of the Air Passenger Protection Regulations: A Guide

Table of contents

I. Purpose

This is a guide explaining the types of flights to which the Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR) apply. It discusses:

  • the scope of the APPR;
  • criteria to help determine what is included in the scope;
  • scope limitations; and
  • airline responsibility for APPR obligations.

It is important that airlines and passengers understand to which flights the APPR apply. This will allow passengers to know if they are entitled to the protections of the APPR for a given flight on their itinerary, and allow airlines to know when and for which passengers they are required to meet the minimum obligations set out in the APPR.

The scope of the APPR is established in the Canada Transportation Act, section 86.11(1). In case of differences between this guide and the legislation or regulations, the legislation and regulations prevail.

II. Scope

The Agency has the authority to apply the APPR to "flights to, from and within Canada, including connecting flights". This establishes a broad scope, given that passengers' journeys to and from Canada often include different combinations of flights, within and outside Canada. The Agency has developed criteria to identify which connecting flights outside Canada have a sufficient connection to Canada to be captured by this scope.

III. Criteria

All flights that land or take off in Canada (domestic or international) are covered by the APPR. When a passenger's itinerary involves flights between two points outside of Canada that connect with a flight to or from Canada, whether the APPR apply to them will depend on the type of fare and the airline operating the flight.

Type of fare

The APPR only apply to flights between two points outside Canada if that flight is part of a single through fare and at least one flight on that single through fare begins or ends in Canada.

Single through fare: Airlines have agreed to allow multiple flights to be booked by a passenger using one ticket. The passenger purchases this fare in one transaction, using a single currency (with no conversion).

Sometimes, travel agencies or online flight sellers group flights together themselves and offer them to consumers. If a passenger purchased separate fares combined by these third parties, this would not be considered a single through fare – so the APPR wouldn't apply to any flight in this package that wasn't to or from Canada.

Airline operating the flight

If the above criteria have been met, the APPR will apply for a passenger on the connecting flight outside Canada if:

  • The same airline operates that flight and the one to or from Canada; or
  • That flight and the one to or from Canada are operated by different airlines, but the passenger is being carried by one airline on behalf of the other under a commercial agreement between them, such as a code share or capacity purchase agreement.
Examples of flights outside Canada that are within the scope of the APPR
Flights Airlines Why APPR apply
Single through fare:
  1. Toronto-Frankfurt
  2. Frankfurt-Munich
Both flights in the through fare operated by airline X Flight outside Canada is operated by the same carrier operating the flight from Canada.
Single through fare:
  1. Toronto-Frankfurt
  2. Frankfurt-Munich
Both flights in the through fare marketed by airline X and operated by airline Y Flight outside Canada is operated by the same carrier operating the flight from Canada.
Single through fare:
  1. Toronto-Frankfurt
  2. Frankfurt-Munich
  1. Operated by airline X
  2. Marketed by airline X, operated by airline Y
Flights are operated by different airlines, but one is doing so on behalf of the other under a commercial agreement between them.
Single through fare:
  1. Toronto-Frankfurt
  2. Frankfurt-Munich
  1. Marketed by airline X, operated by airline Y
  2. Operated by airline X
Flights are operated by different airlines, but one is doing so on behalf of the other under a commercial agreement between them.

Note: On a ticket or itinerary, the carrier marketing a flight will be identified in the flight number by its two-letter code (e.g., AC identifies Air Canada and WS identifies WestJet). Where a flight is being operated by an airline other than the marketing airline, the ticket or itinerary will also indicate the airline operating the flight.

Examples of a flight outside Canada that is not within the scope of the APPR
Flights Airlines Why APPR don't apply
Single through fare:
  1. Toronto-Frankfurt
  2. Frankfurt-Munich
  1. Operated and Marketed by airline X
  2. Operated and marketed by airline Y
There is no commercial agreement for one airline to carry passengers on the other's behalf. Each airline on the passenger's itinerary is operating its flight under its own name and code.

IV. Scope limitations

The scope described above applies to all APPR requirements, with the exception of certain specific provisions that have a more limited application:

  • the tarmac delay disembarkation rules, which apply only to flights delayed at a Canadian airport; and
  • the requirement to display standard notices at airports, which only applies to carriers operating a flight to or from a Canadian airport.

V. Airline responsibility for APPR obligations

Under the APPR, there are different requirements depending on the role an airline plays with respect to a flight:

  • Airline issuing the ticket : The airline issuing the ticket is responsible for providing the required information on digital platforms the airline uses to sell tickets and on travel documents on which the passenger's itinerary appears.
  • Operating airline : In the event of a flight disruption, the airline operating the affected flight is responsible for communicating with passengers, providing standards of treatment, rebooking or refunding the passenger, and paying compensation.
  • Joint liability: Where passengers are being carried by one airline on behalf of another under a commercial agreement, those carriers are jointly liable for the requirements regarding: notices at the airport, the seating of children under the age of 14, and the transportation of musical instruments.
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