Air Canada flight turns back halfway to Hawaii, passengers get $10 vouchers


Air Canada passengers on a flight that turned back to Vancouver when it was already halfway to Hawaii aren’t pleased with the $10 food voucher they received as a result of the inconvenience.

Air Canada Flight AC535 left Vancouver just after 9 a.m. on Monday and was about 50 per cent of the way to its destination on the island of Maui when the pilot headed back to Canada due to a “a hydraulic indication.”

An Air Canada spokesperson told CTV News that the decision to return the Boeing 737 to Vancouver was “for maintenance reasons only” and that it was “not an emergency.”

Passenger Rahuo Amelkarn told CTV Vancouver that he was annoyed about “how on Christmas Eve, we had to turn back … and waste our entire day.”

Another customer, who did not give her name, said sarcastically that when she was handed the $10 voucher, she thought, “thanks a lot, it totally makes up for it.”

Passenger Oliver Eger said the ordeal was a “bit irritating” but added “it’s not all bad — at least we didn’t die.”

The passengers were expected to leave Vancouver on a new Maui-bound flight at 7:30 p.m. PST, putting them in Hawaii about 15 hours after the original flight left.

Dr. Gabor Lukacs, the founder and coordinator of Air Passenger Rights, told, that passengers on the flight could be eligible for damages worth thousands of dollars, in accordance with Canada’s Carriage By Air Act.

“Passengers still have to prove they’ve suffered losses, but they are liable for up to $8,700,” he said.

Damages would include any extra costs that a passenger incurred due to the delay, like rebooking a hotel or rental car and any meals.

Lukacs said passengers should send a letter to the airline citing the Carriage By Air Act and listing the costs of the delay. If this doesn’t work, the matter can be taken up in small claims court.

These benefits for passengers will not be available in the near future as Canada’s Airline Lobby has successfully “proposed” regulations that would eliminate any potential compensation for passengers who’ve been delayed due to a mechanical issue.

The regulations are expected to come into effect July 1.