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Sunwing Airlines seeking to overturn Regina couple's $800 compensation decision

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A Regina couple who were paid $800 in compensation from Sunwing Airlines are now being taken back to court as the airline seeks to overturn the decision.

According to the original decision, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) ordered Sunwing Airlines to pay $800 to Mickey and Donna Anslow after their return flight to Regina from Cancun was delayed in March of 2020.

However, Sunwing Airlines is now fighting the decision on the grounds that a safety issue caused the delay. According to the Air Passenger Protection Regulations, if a delay is required for safety reasons, the airline is not obligated to pay compensation.

Kristine D’Arbelles, the senior director of public affairs for CAA national spoke with CTV News on the topic.

“I think anyone would agree that you wouldn’t wanna get on a plane that is not safe ... However, it is a very grey area and that definition of safe has been known to be stretched by airlines which is why we're seeing this in battles right now in court,” she explained.

She went on to express that CAA has been calling for more clarity as to when passengers are or aren’t entitled to compensation.

“We were supposed to see some changes coming in the winter, that turned into the spring and here we are in the summer and the changes haven’t come. We’re getting worried, we really do hope that those changes do come because the added clarity is just gonna make this system that much stronger and better for travellers.”

Currently the process of receiving compensation involves reaching out to the airline and waiting 30 days before taking the matter up with the CTA.

In the initial court ruling, it was determined that “Compensation for inconvenience is owed if the delay was within the respondent’s [Sunwing] control, but it is not owed if the delay was within its control but required for safety purposes.”

“The aircraft’s lavatories were frozen and leaking because an aircraft heater had been turned off for an unknown period of time prior to departure at the aircraft’s point of origin in Regina,” the ruling read.

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