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Canadian airline must pay B.C. passenger $2,400 for boarding denial

"Flair did overbook flight F8223 and . . . Mr. Younus was denied boarding as a result."
Flair Airlines
Flair Airlines must pay a passenger after overbooking at Toronto-Vancouver flight.

B.C.’s Civil Resolution Tribunal has ordered Flair Airlines to pay a B.C. man $2,400 after he claimed he was denied boarding on a booked flight.

Muhammad Adil Younus filed a tribunal small claims action for $2,692 in compensation under the Air Passenger Protection Regulation (APPR) and related travel expenses.

Flair said Younus’s inability to board was due to a technical “glitch” arising from the fact that when he booked the next-day flight, a schedule change had already occurred.

Flair argued it owes no denial-of-boarding compensation under the APPR, which it says covers only overbooking, something that was not an issue in the case.

Flair offered a total of $935 in compensation, tribunal vice-chair Shelley Lopez said in her May 19 decision.

Flair said Younus was booked on flight F8223 that was scheduled to originally leave on July 18, 2022 at 1:45 p.m. (An online search shows the flight is from Toronto to Vancouver.)

That flight was delayed until 8 a.m. the next day.

“Based on the evidence before me, I accept that Mr. Younus had booked his ticket on F8223 on July 18, 2022 at 9 p.m., at which point the F8223 flight schedule was already under a delay,” Lopez said.

She said when Younus booked his seat, Flair told him and he understood that it was a July 19 flight departing at 8 a.m.

“This was true, but it was also true that flight F8223 was originally scheduled to depart on July 18 at 1:45 p.m.,” Lopez said.

Flair denied the flight was oversold or overbooked. The airline said Younus should not have been sent a booking notification.

“Yet, I find Flair does not adequately explain why Mr. Younus could not board the flight if it was not overbooked,” Lopez said, adding Flair said the next eligible flight for Younus was scheduled to depart at 7 p.m. on July 19, but was delayed and departed at 11 p.m.

“The difficulty for Flair is that it did book Mr. Younus on flight F8223,” Lopez said. “Its argument about eligibility does not mean that it did not overbook F8223. Rather, I find it supports Mr. Younus’s position that, through its own glitch, Flair did overbook flight F8223 and that Mr. Younus was denied boarding as a result.”

Lopez said glitch or not, it was likely the plane was full.

“There is no exemption in the APPR for overbooking due to glitches,” Lopez said. “I find Mr. Younus was denied boarding within the meaning of the APPR.”

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