Air Canada has been ordered to pay compensation to a couple for expenses they incurred after the airline refused to let them board a flight from Los Angeles to Vancouver because one of them had recently tested positive for COVID-19.
Joel and Mia Mackoff had booked to fly back home to British Columbia with Air Canada on February 15, 2022, after spending some time in California but airline agents refused to let them onboard the flight because of Mia’s test results.
The couple had to stay an extra night in Los Angeles and had to spend their own money for a hotel room and food and drinks before Air Canada agreed to let them board a flight back to Vancouver the following day.
At the time, the Canadian government had various travel restrictions for vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers, and passengers were required to have pre-departure COVID-19 test results. Air Canada’s own policy, however, said passengers didn’t need a pre-departure test if they had “proof of a positive molecular test result taken at least 10 and no more than 180 days prior to entry”.
Mia had tested positive for COVID-19 on 5th February so when she went to Los Angeles Airport on February 15th, she thought she was compliant with Air Canada’s policy.
Airport agents, however, misinterpreted the policy and refused to let the couple board their flight.
Joel and Mia initially tried to claim nearly $5,000 in compensation for ‘denied boarding’ under Canada’s Air Passenger Protection Regulations, but a small claims judge agreed with the airline that these rules are only designed to protect passengers who have been booted off an oversold flight.
The judge did, however, find that Air Canada had breached its contract with the couple and ordered the airline to cover the cost of their hotel and other expenses incurred during their extra night in Los Angeles.
Air Canada must pay the couple $595.93 in damages, $3.88 in pre-judgment interest and $175 to cover the cost of them bringing the case to court.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.