“A strike is considered something that is beyond the control of the carrier, such as a snowstorm, a natural disaster or an unstable political situation,” explains Sylvie De Bellefeuille, lawyer and budget advisor at Option consommateurs. So, in this type of situation, we are essentially entitled to rerouting. And if the airline is unable to do so within 48 hours, consumers could request a refund, but there is no additional compensation that applies. »
If the flight was delayed or canceled because of the carrier, she continues, you would be entitled to meal vouchers and paid nights, but not in the event of a strike. If it is not related to an unforeseen mechanical problem or any other problem related to the safety of the flight, you will also have compensation which can vary from $125 to $1000.
It’s the traveler, but there are exceptions. “As soon as there is an international flight or an international segment, the Montreal Convention applies,” relates Jacob Charbonneau, co-founder and CEO of volenretard.ca, which helps air passengers by taking the necessary steps for them. “There, there is the possibility of seeking reimbursements for everything relating to meals, accommodation, land transport and what we had to pay to buy a new plane ticket.
“If we have lost land portions, a cruise or even days of work following the strike, we have the Compensation Fund for Customers of Travel Agents (FICAV), which will cover the reimbursement of the flight and expenses for those who went through a travel agency.
“If we had a flight to Europe, European law applies and provides compensation for everything related to strikes. So that would be covered. Credit cards can also cover certain situations, including strikes. »
“If the flight is ever canceled or delayed, the carrier has the obligation to find alternatives within 48 hours,” recalls Jacob Charbonneau.
“The carrier always has the obligation to bring us back safely, regardless of the circumstance,” continues the specialist. He must find alternatives. Sometimes it can take longer. Sometimes, the carrier is required to repurchase a plane ticket on another airline. If there are no more flights available, that becomes another problem. »
“If the carrier is unable to offer a flight within 48 hours, the traveler can request a refund. However, if you are stuck abroad, you will have to find other carriers yourself, specifies Sylvie De Bellefeuille. We will not hide the fact that this is going to be a lot of trouble for many people. We risk ending up with a lot of people at the same time who want to find a return flight with other carriers. Last minute tickets cost more than the package we bought six months ago. »
“Obviously, we hope that it will be resolved before the strike,” maintains Jacques Charbonneau. This is what happened with WestJet last year, where we were in a bit of the same situation. That said, it is possible that there could be a strike, so people who are flexible may decide to return before the date that would be announced for a strike if their ticket class allows it. There are ticket classes that allow changes up to three hours before departure with costs or without having to pay extra. »
Since you have not purchased a ticket category that allows you to cancel or postpone a trip with or without fees, you need insurance and good reasons. Often, travelers are triple insured without knowing it. You may have purchased travel insurance from a provider, in addition to being insured by your employer and paying for said plane ticket with a special travel credit card that offers this protection. Either way, you need to read in detail what these insurances cover. There are the classic reasons such as sudden illness, an accident and a death in the family. However, there is also the closure of the business that has employed you for more than a year, the loss of employment (non-seasonal), a disaster that causes significant damage to your main residence, the death of a person of which you are the executor, the fact of being called to appear as a witness or to serve on a jury. A risk of strike is not one of them.