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What You Need to Know About Flight Cancellations

It’s storm season in Canada, meaning there might be more delays and cancellations than usual. Flight cancellations and delays can cause a lot of stress if you’re not sure of what to do. That’s why Skyscanner has answers to your potential questions to put your mind at ease. Because travelling doesn’t need to be stressful.

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Flight cancellations and delays are a traveller’s worst nightmare. Weather and unpredictable mechanical issues are just a couple of the reasons why your flight might be cancelled or delayed. While these situations are out of your control, there are some things that you can control. We want you to be prepared in case this happens to you the next time you travel.

A Guide to Flight Cancellations and Delays

How do I check for flight cancellations or delays?

To keep informed about potential flight delays and cancellations, go to the website of the airport you are flying out of and search for flight schedules. Type in your airline, location or flight number. You will find the most up to date information for the status of your flight. Ensure you are also keeping tabs on travel alerts for the airline you are flying with. Alternatively, keep checking your email, because airlines will usually email you should schedule changes arise.

What do I do if my flight is cancelled or delayed?

Check your travel insurance

Your specific travel insurance policy might have its own rules in the case of a delay or cancellation. But if your flight is cancelled due to weather or a fault of the airline then you will most likely be eligible for insurance after a delay of four hours. This means that you may be able to claim hotel costs or costs to change your route to your destination.

Communicate with the airline

What happens to you following a flight cancellation or delay will depend on the airline you are flying with and what the circumstance is.

Various airline regulations will offer you something different depending on the extent of your delay. Most will offer meals, snacks and airport transfers for a flight delay. If your flight is cancelled with them, they offer options of rebooking, reimbursing or cancelling it and redeeming it for future travel. To create less work for you, we have compiled the flight cancellation and delay policy information from all major airlines below.

Air Canada

Delays:

  • if your delay is 2 hours or more, Air Canada will change your reservation at no extra cost by choosing a new departure date within 7 days of the original travel date or you can retain the unused portion of your ticket and use it towards future travel with Air Canada
  • if your delay is 4 hours or more, an Air Canada agent will offer you a meal voucher for use at an airport restaurant or for the Air Canada bistro service
  • if your delay is 8 hours or more:
  • for circumstances within Air Canada’s control, you may be entitled to meal vouchers, transport to and from the airport as well as hotel accommodations
  • for circumstances outside of Air Canada’s control, representatives will provide you with hotel contact information with valued customer rates

Cancellations:

If your flight is cancelled Air Canada agents will rebook you on:

  • the next available Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge or Air Canada Express flight within 7 days of your original departure date
  • on a flight with another airline with which Air Canada has an agreement for such transportation
  • with Via Rail when a train segment matching your itinerary is available
  • or they will cancel your booking and offer you the option obtaining a refund or using it towards future travel

WestJet

Uncontrollable delays and cancellations:

  • WestJet will attempt to rebook you for no additional charge on the next available WestJet flight
  • WestJet will attempt to rebook you on a flight that is travelling to/from another destination that is geographically close to your original destination
  • If no flight option is available with WestJet, they will offer to cancel the reservation and offer the option of retaining the unused portion and using it towards future travel

Controllable delays and cancellations:

  • WestJet will assess and offer additional services such as hotel accommodations, meal vouchers, and ground transportation to and from your hotel
  • assess potential compensation you may be entitled for
  • rebook you on the next available flight operated with an airline that WestJet is not partnered with

Air Transat

Delays:

  • if the delay exceeds 4 hours Air Transat will provide a meal voucher
  • if the delay exceeds 8 hours, Air Transat will pay for the hotel stay and transport on the ground
  • if you are on the aircraft while the delay is occurring, Air Transat will offer snacks and drinks if it is safe and timely to do so

Cancellations:

  • Air Transat will find you a seat on another flight operated by Air Transat
  • buy you a seat on another air carrier with whom Air Transat has an agreement with
  • refund the unused portion of your ticket

Porter Airlines

If your flight is delayed or cancelled:

  • Porter will keep you informed of any flight status changes
  • they will rebook you on the next available Porter flight at no extra cost
  • you will be provided with a meal voucher for use at an airport restaurant if you are delayed 4 hours or more
  • cover eligible expenses when your flight is delayed or cancelled due to reason’s within Porter’s control
  • Porter will offer you credit for your unused flight segments or a refund for your unused flight segments if your flight is cancelled or delayed for 2 hours or more

How do I make sure I am protected?

Arm yourself with knowledge of your travel insurance policy and airline policy so that you know your rights in the case of an unpredictable flight cancellation or delay. Keep up-to-date travel alerts and advisories so that you are educated even before you go to the airport. Remember that a delay or cancellation can change depending on where you are departing from and your intended destination.


When something like a flight cancellation or delay occurs, it can be really frustrating. Being prepared and informed can save you from the headache of unexpected travel hiccups. Our advice for you is to stay in-the-know with your chosen airline, so you can have the smoothest travel experiences possible for your future flights!

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