Tribunal sides in part with BC couple denied boarding over COVID test


Airline instructed to cowl $600 the couple spent to remain an additional night time in L.A. after employees miscalculated ready interval after optimistic take a look at.

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A B.C. couple wrongly denied boarding within the U.S. by Air Canada over the timing of a COVID-19 take a look at has gained only a fraction of the $5,000 in compensation they had been demanding.

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The B.C. civil decision tribunal awarded the couple $600 for what they paid to remain an additional night time in Los Angeles, however didn’t compensate them for “denied boarding.”

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Adjudicator Sherelle Goodwin dominated that protections for passengers denied boarding are particularly for these bumped due to overbooking, which wasn’t the case for Joel and Mia Mackoff once they had been flying dwelling from Los Angeles in February.

At the moment below Canadian federal COVID guidelines, passengers flying into Canada from one other nation had been required to current the outcomes of a COVID take a look at taken inside 72 hours of departure. The exception was if somebody had examined optimistic at the very least 10 days earlier than the flight. 

As the web site acknowledged on the time, passengers wanted to current a “unfavourable molecular take a look at” or “present proof of a optimistic molecular take a look at end result taken at the very least 10 and not more than 180 days previous to entry.”

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On the day of their flight, Feb. 15, Mia Mackoff instructed employees she had examined optimistic on Feb. 5 and was due to this fact allowed to fly on Feb. 15 with out presenting a unfavourable COVID take a look at. The Mackoffs instructed the Air Canada web site itself famous that somebody testing optimistic on Jan. 1 would be capable of fly Jan. 11.

However the airline insisted the 10-day interval ended the subsequent day, and the couple stated they had been each denied boarding and had been rebooked for Feb. 16.

Air Canada in its submission didn’t handle the couple’s calculation of the 10-day interval, and Goodwin dominated the Mackoffs had been entitled to be compensated for the $600 they spent on meals, lodgings and taxis for the additional night time’s keep.

“I discover Air Canada’s brokers triggered the candidates’ further bills by misinterpreting the COVID-19 journey restriction coverage,” she wrote.

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However Air Canada stated it shouldn’t must compensate the couple for these further bills as a result of “they failed to supply ample proof of loss,” and Joel Mackoff might have flown dwelling on Feb. 15 and restricted their damages.

The Mackoffs dispute that, saying each had been denied boarding and that in any case, the bills for taxis and lodging would have been the identical and the meals prices solely minimally decrease for one individual as an alternative of two.

Mr. Mackoff, a retired lawyer, requested the tribunal to additionally award him and his spouse $2,400 every below Canada’s Air Passenger Safety Rules that compensate passengers once they’re bumped from a flight due to overbooking.

The Mackoffs argued that denial of boarding included all denials, “not simply these primarily based on overbooking,” Goodwin wrote.

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However she dominated the regulation is obvious that it applies solely to “denied boarding attributable to overbooking” and “not a refusal to board primarily based on COVID-19 take a look at outcomes.” She famous the Feb. 15 flight had 71 empty seats and was not overbooked.

“I discover neither applicant is entitled to compensation for a denial of boarding” below the regulation, she dominated.

The tribunal additionally ordered Air Canada to pay the couple’s $175 tribunal submitting charges.

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