Flair cancelled my US flight. What do I do now?

February 22, 2019

Flair Airlines has recently cancelled eight routes between Canada and the US. The airline has been refusing to rebook affected passengers on flights of other airlines, and insists that passengers’ only option is getting a refund of their airfares. Flair’s conduct indicates that it wants to walk away from its contractual obligations.

Air Passenger Rights (APR) is aware of at least 127 victims of Flair’s conduct. If you or your loved one is one of them, this is what you need to know.

A deal is a deal

Flair cannot unilaterally cancel the contract of carriage. Flair must either rebook you on flights of other airlines on its own dime or compensate you for your damages caused by its failure to transport you. Damages include costs you incur for arranging alternative transportation on your own.

We suggest the following steps to assert and enforce your rights.

1. Demand alternative transportation (rebooking)

Request in writing that Flair rebook you on flights of other airlines within a reasonable time. Advise Flair that should it fail to do so, you will be seeking damages. Use this template.

Mr. Atkins:

On DATE OF BOOKING, I/we purchased tickets under booking reference REFERENCE for the following flights of Flair Airlines (“Flair”):

  • Flight 1234, departing ORIGIN on DATE at TIME and arriving at DESTINATION at TIME; and
  • Flight 4321, departing ORIGIN on DATE at TIME and arriving at DESTINATION at TIME.

On DATE, we learned that Flair had chosen to cancel eight of its routes between Canada and the United States, including Flights 1234 and 4321 on which we purchased confirmed seats.

Flair has failed to offer us alternative transportation to our destinations, and appears to be seeking to walk away from its obligations under the contract of carriage by unilaterally refunding the airfare.

This is unacceptable.

I/we hereby request that Flair arrange for alternative air transportation for us on the dates of our original travel at its own cost.

Should Flair fail and/or refuse to arrange for alternative air transportation within 48 hours, I/we will have no choice but to arrange for alternative air transportation on our own, and I/we will be seeking compensation from Flair for all our damages, including but not limited to the cost of arranging for alternative air transportation.

I/we look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely yours,
LIST OF AFFECTED PASSENGERS

2. Demand compensation

If Flair ignores or refuses your request to be rebooked on flights of other airlines, arrange for alterantive transportation on your own, and seek compensation for your expenses. Use this template.

Mr. Atkins:

On DATE, I/we purchased tickets under booking reference REFERENCE for the following flights of Flair Airlines (“Flair”):

  • Flight 1234, departing ORIGIN on DATE at TIME and arriving at DESTINATION at TIME; and
  • Flight 4321, departing ORIGIN on DATE at TIME and arriving at DESTINATION at TIME.

On DATE, we learned that Flair had chosen to cancel eight of its routes between Canada and the United States, including Flights 1234 and 4321 on which we purchased confirmed seats.

Flair has failed to offer us alternative transportation to our destinations, and appears to be seeking to walk away from its obligations under the contract of carriage by unilaterally refunding the airfare.

We therefore had no choice but to arrange for alternative air transportation on our own, because Flair has ignored and/or refused my/our request, dated DATE OF STEP 1, to arrange for alternative air transportation for us on the dates of our original travel at its own cost.

As a result of Flair’s conduct, I/we have incurred damages totalling AMOUNT, as shown on the attached receipts.

I/we request that Flair compensate us for this amount. Should Flair refuse or ignore our request and fail to reimburse us within 14 days, I/we may commence a legal action against Flair and seek additional damages, including but not limited to punitive damages.

Yours very truly,
LIST OF AFFECTED PASSENGERS

3. Take Flair to court

If Flair refuses to pay, you have several options to make them pay:

  • Small claims court of your province (no lawyer is required).
  • Teaming up with other passengers and hiring a lawyer to sue in a provincial superior court or in the Federal Court.
  • Class action, if you agree to be a representative plaintiff.

Flair may not rush to pay, but they will likely settle before it goes to trial. After all, no airline wants to have lawsuits by its customers clinging to its wheels.

Dos and Don’ts

  • Do direct all your inquiries to Mr. David Atkins, Flair’s Director for Industry and Regulatory Affairs. He has a reputation of a fair-minded man.
  • Do copy APR on your correspondence.
  • Do be clear, concise, factual, and professional.
  • Do not express emotions in your correspondence.
  • Do include details necessary for identifying your booking.
  • Do not include personal details about why this trip is important for you.
  • Do record your telephone call if you are speaking to an airline's representative.

Last but not least, do not bring your case to the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA). They are not your friends.