(Montreal) Air Canada has rejected compensation claims from some travelers who were among the thousands of people affected by flight delays caused by computer glitches in recent weeks – a response it now calls “erroneous “, ensuring that cash offers are in preparation.

In messages to some customers, the airline initially stated that the computer problem was beyond its control, which relieved it of its obligation to pay compensation.

“In this case, the compensation you seek does not apply, as the disruption was caused by an event beyond our control. This flight has been delayed due to an unforeseen technological issue, impacting one of our suppliers, which is impacting our business,” the airline said in an email to passenger Douglas Judson on Thursday.

Douglas Judson says he arrived at his destination more than three hours late when his June 1 flight from Winnipeg to Toronto was delayed due to the computer glitch.

“I find the dishonesty and disrespect of it all most infuriating,” he said in a phone interview.

“There are some really interesting logical contortions at Air Canada when it comes to whether something is actually their fault. »

While denying his compensation claim, Air Canada offered Mr. Judson a 15% discount on any future flights, which the carrier deemed a “goodwill gesture.”

Contacted Friday by La Presse Canadienne, the Montreal-based company said the response stemmed from an error.

“Air Canada is providing compensation consistent with Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR) compensation levels for flights that were affected by the computer outage. Some passengers had received incorrect answers from us, and we are in the process of recontacting them with the correct answer,” spokeswoman Angela Mah said.

The country’s largest carrier has been struggling with intermittent computer issues for the past 15 days.

On May 25, it delayed more than half of its flights due to a “technical problem” with the system the airline uses to communicate with planes and monitor their performance. On June 1, she delayed or canceled more than 500 flights — more than three-quarters of her trips that day, according to tracking service FlightAware — due to “computer issues.”

On the same day, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra asserted that Air Canada had obligations to affected passengers.

“Air Canada has obligations to passengers who are affected because it’s caused by things over which the airline has control,” he told reporters on June 1, hours after the computer glitches began. resurfaced.

In April, Minister Alghabra introduced measures to toughen penalties and close loopholes in traveler compensation as part of a proposed overhaul of Canada’s Passenger Bill of Rights.

If passed as part of the budget bill, the reforms will require airlines to demonstrate that a flight disruption is caused by safety issues or reasons beyond their control, with specific examples to be established by the Canadian Transportation Agency for exceptions to compensation.

“It will no longer be the passenger who will have to prove that he is entitled to compensation. It will now be the airline that will have to prove that it does not have to pay,” Alghabra said on April 24.

Currently, a passenger is entitled to compensation of between $125 and $1,000 for a delay of more than three hours or a cancellation made within 14 days of the scheduled departure, unless the disruption is the result of events beyond the control of the airline, such as weather conditions or a security problem, including mechanical problems. The amount varies depending on the size of the carrier and the length of the delay.