Air Canada not liable to compensate unhappy international travellers: B.C. tribunal

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      Andrei Dell’s two minor children were not happy with their flight.

      They wanted the German airline Lufthansa, but got Air Canada instead.

      They wanted to ride on a 747 jet, but got another plane.

      They wanted a layover in the EU, but had a stopover in Canada.

      They were disappointed.

      They felt they had an inferior experience.

      Because of this, Dell wanted a full refund of $2,937.64 for the tickets.

      It was the father who bought the tickets for the two kids, who were travelling on their own,

      Dell brought a claim against Air Canada before a B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal, but he’s not getting a refund.

      According to tribunal member Kristin Gardner, the Montreal Convention applies in this case.

      The Montreal Convention is an international treaty governing the liability of airlines.

      In her reasons for decision, Gardner explained that the treaty “permits claims for death or bodily injury, destruction, damage or loss of baggage and cargo and for delay”:

      Gardner noted that the convention “bars all other actions for damages, however founded, in the carriage of passengers, baggage and cargo”.

      “The case law makes it clear that article 29 of the Montreal Convention does not permit compensation for purely mental injury, such as emotional stress or inconvenience, in the absence of a physical injury,” Gardner wrote.

      The tribunal member pointed out that it is “undisputed there was no physical injury” suffered by the Dell kids.

      “The applicant children claim for disappointment that they did not get to fly on a 747 aircraft, stress related to having to clear customs during a domestic layover, and discomfort related to the inability to purchase food on the domestic leg of their trip and alleged cramped seating,” Gardner stated.

      According to Gardner, without evidence of physical or economic loss, the Montreal Convention “does not permit the applicants’ claims”.

      Dell booked the Lufthansa flights on Air Canada’s website.

      The flights were changed to Air Canada, and with different aircraft and connecting flight arrangements.

      “I find Air Canada provided Mr. Dell with sufficient notice of the itinerary changes, so he could make further inquiries or alternative arrangements, but there is no evidence that he did so,” Gardner wrote.