Help and FAQs

Support questions about submitting a complaint

  • What information and documents do I need to submit a complaint?

    You will be asked in the form to provide information about your flight and the problems you experienced. You will also need to upload your documents throughout the form. It will be easier if you have your all information and documents in one place on your computer, tablet or phone. The documents will need to be in a digital format for upload, as we cannot accept physical copies.

    Documents and information you will need:

    • Proof that you contacted the airline in writing
    • Airline ticket, booking confirmation or invoice
    • Airline booking number or reservation code
    • Booking details, including the complete flight itinerary

    Documents and information you may also need:

    • Receipts for out-of-pocket expenses related to the problem you experienced
    • Ticket number
    • Boarding pass
    • If you were denied boarding (bumping), you will need written confirmation of what the airline offered you

    For baggage-related issues, you may also need:

    • Property Irregularity Report (PIR) or Incident report
    • Damaged property report, if provided
    • Complete list of missing or damaged items, including the value per item
    • Receipts for replacement items
  • Can I submit a complaint about an accessibility issue?

    Persons with disabilities have a right to barrier-free travel. The CTA can help with issues about the:

    • accessibility of flights to, from, and within Canada
    • accessibility of airports in Canada
    • accessibility of transportation services by an airline or terminal in Canada
    • accessibility of trains, ferries and buses that operate between provinces or territories or between Canada and the United States, as well as rail stations and ferry terminals in Canada

    Submit an accessible transportation complaint

    For more information about the Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities Regulations, visit our Accessible Transportation page.

  • What are the eligibility criteria for an Air travel complaint?

    Your complaint must meets the following criteria:

    1. Your complaint has to involve a flight incident that the CTA can address, such as a flight delay. Please visit our website for a list of things that the CTA cannot address such as airport security screening or airline customer service.
    2. You, or the people you are submitting the complaint for, actually experienced the flight incident raised in your complaint. For example, you cannot submit a complaint about something that you heard about on the news.
    3. You are looking for compensation, a refund, or reimbursement for expenses from the airline related to the flight incident raised in your complaint. The CTA cannot award compensation for pain and suffering, or loss of income.
    4. You have already sent your complaint to the airline in writing before submitting the complaint to the CTA, waited 30 days for the airline's answer, and your complaint remains unresolved.
    5. Your complaint cannot be vexatious or made in bad faith.

    You should also note, if it is clear from the information provided in your complaint, that the airline has fulfilled its obligations under the tariff (the legal document that contains the terms, conditions and other rules that apply to your airline ticket), the complaint may be ineligible. For example, if the airline has already provided you with the compensation you were owed, your complaint would not move forward.

  • Are there time limits or deadlines for submitting a complaint?

    You should act upon your complaint as soon as possible. This will help you establish your case (which may be more difficult after time has passed) and ensure that copies of your documents are available.

    Before you submit a complaint to the CTA, you must contact the airline and wait 30 days for their reply.

    Deadlines to contact or submit a complaint to the airline:

    • Damaged baggage: file a claim with the airline within 7 days of receiving your baggage.

    • Delayed baggage: file a claim with the airline within 21 days of receiving your baggage.

    • Lost baggage: file a claim with the airline as soon as possible. Your baggage is considered lost when it is delayed for 21 days or when the airline admits to losing the baggage before 21 days.

    • Flight delays and cancellations: file a request for compensation with the airline within 1 year of the delay or cancellation. The airline has 30 days to make a payment or explain why not.

  • Do I have to show up in person?

    No, your case resolution and any exchange of information or documents will be done electronically.

  • Are there any costs or fees to submit an air travel complaint?

    No. It doesn’t cost anything to submit an Air travel complaint to the CTA.

  • Do I need a lawyer?

    No, you can complete the Complaint form and any actions required during the complaint resolution process yourself. You can, however, have a friend, family member, representative or lawyer submit your complaint form, but you and anyone included in your complaint, must have actually experienced the flight incident raised in the complaint. 

  • Can I submit a complaint on behalf of someone else?

    Yes, as long as you have their consent. Parents/legal guardians do not require consent to act on behalf of their minor children.

  • Can I submit a complaint about any problem I experience while flying or at the airport?
    We can help with these issues:
    Compensation for a flight delay, cancellation or tarmac delay

    Depending on the reason for the delay or cancellation, the airline may have to offer assistance (food/drinks, communication, overnight accommodation), rebookingrefunds, or compensation for inconvenience.

    Note: Tarmac delays are when the plane is delayed on the ground, with the doors closed, before take-off or after landing.

    For more information about flight disruptions, please visit Flight delays and cancellations

    Compensation and expenses for lost, delayed or damaged baggage

    Deadlines for filing baggage claims:

    To be eligible for compensation, refunds or reimbursement, you must have filed a claim with the airline:

    • within 7 days of receiving your damaged baggage
    • within 21 days of receiving your delayed baggage on international flights
    • as soon as possible for delayed baggage on flights within Canada
    • as soon as possible for baggage that is considered lost

    If you did not submit a claim within these time limits, the airline could deny your claim.

    For more information about baggage complaints, please visit Lost, damaged or delayed baggage.

    Compensation for denied boarding (bumping)

    Denied boarding (bumping) is when there are more passengers with valid tickets who have checked in and arrived at the boarding gate than seats on the plane. This can happen if the flight is oversold or if the plane is changed to one with fewer seats.

    Note: Denied boarding is not the same as Refusal to transport, which is when a passenger is not allowed to travel on their flight because of problems with travel documents, pets, ticket payment, missed deadlines, behaviour, health, safety, or for security reasons.

    Depending on the reason for denied boarding (bumping), the airline may have to offer assistance (food/drinks, communication, overnight accommodation), rebooking or refunds, and compensation for inconvenience.

    Before bumping a passenger, airlines must first ask for volunteers. If you are moved to a later flight, the airline must provide you with a written confirmation of the benefits that you accepted. Compensation is only given if the reason for denied boarding was within the airline’s control.

    For more information on Denied Boarding (Bumping), please visit Denied boarding (Bumping).

    A refund of a ticket, part of a ticket, or a replacement ticket

    This is the full or partial amount you paid for your ticket to your original form of payment. The amount for a partial refund will be calculated based on the original ticket as shown on your ticket, booking confirmation, receipt, or invoice.

    A refund of fees paid (baggage fees, seating fees, change fees, unaccompanied minor fees, etc.)

    This is the amount you paid for your additional fees, including baggage fees, pre-booked seats or pre-paid meals.

    Reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses (accommodation, transportation, food/drink)

    This includes receipts for food and drinks, access to communication (Wi-Fi, phone or roaming charges), accommodation for overnight delays, and transportation to and from the accommodation.

    For baggage issues, this includes receipts for replacing or renting items that were lost or damaged as well as baggage fees.

    Other (refusal to transport, ticket issues, reservations, vouchers, credits, fares, loyalty programs, travelling with children)

    This category includes complaints about:

    • seating of children near a parent or guardian
    • unaccompanied minors
    • refund of ticket(s) as a result of a cancelled reservation
    • travel credits or vouchers
    • charges or changes to my ticket or reservation
    • issues with seating
    • error(s) with my issued ticket
    • airline fares
    • loyalty programs operated by an airline
    There are some issues we can't help with, but these other organizations may be able to help:
    Travel agents or tour operators

    The CTA may be able to review complaints about the air portion of travel booked through a travel agency or as part of a tour package. 

    Complaints about the land portion or services of travel booked through a travel agency or as part of a tour package (accommodation, transfers to and from airports, excursions, etc.) fall under provincial jurisdiction.

    Please consult the provincial or territorial government authority for consumers. Your travel agency or tour operator (including on-line reservations) must be registered with a provincial authority in Canada in order to help you.

    Customs, immigration, or security

    For complaints about customssecurity screeningbaggage inspection or airport security, visit the air transportation section of the Government of Canada Consumer Hub.

    Airport facilities and services (not related to accessibility)

    For issues related to airport facilities or services (not related to accessibility), you can contact the airport directly.

    They can help you with:

    • Lost and found: items left in public areas in the airport terminal buildings
    • Up-to-date flight information
    • Terminal maps
    • Food and shopping services
    • Baggage storage
    • Parking
    • Car rentals
    Airline customer service

    For complaints about airline customer service, you should contact the airline directly.

    Aviation safety

    For complaints about transportation safety or unsafe practices on the plane, you can contact the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

    Unfair competitive services, including false advertising

    For complaints related to false advertisingpricingmergers and acquisitions; etc., contact the Competition Bureau of Canada.

    Human rights violation

    If you experience a human rights issue during air travel, such as discrimination on the basis of race, gender identity or expression, you can find out more about human rights complaints and processes or file a complaint directly with the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

    Airplane noise complaints

    If you have an issue about airplane noise, you can get more information from Transport Canada's Managing noise from aircraft website.

    Bilingual airline service

    For issues related to bilingual service, please contact the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages.

  • What if my flight was outside of Canada?

    To submit an Air travel complaint with the CTA, your flight must have been to, from or within Canada, including connecting flights. This includes cancelled flights or connecting flights outside of Canada.

    For flights outside Canada, you can contact similar agencies in other countries or regions, such as:

    United States of AmericaDepartment of Transportation (DOT) EuropeNational Enforcement Bodies (NEB) (europa.eu)

    However, if your travel itinerary includes a departure from or arrival in Canada, please consider it as an itinerary departing from or arriving in Canada.

How can I find out about my case status?

You can check the status of your complaint online: case status update.

The case status result is the most up-to-date information available about your case.
Please do not resubmit the same complaint.

We continue to receive a high number of new complaints. The wait time between when you submitted your case and when it is reviewed can be more than 18 months. We assure you that the wait time will not affect the outcome of your case review. 

Support questions about passenger rights

  • My flight was delayed or cancelled, what am I entitled to?

    If an airline informs you of a flight delay or cancellation within their control 14 days or less before the original departure time, they will have to compensate you for the inconvenience of the disruption. The amount of compensation depends on the size of the airline and how late you arrive at your final destination.

    Depending on the circumstances, airlines may also be required to provide to you certain assistance such as food, Wi-Fi access, accommodation and communication, if you experienced a flight disruption. They may also be required to provide rebooking or a refund.

    To receive compensation for a flight delay or cancellation, you must make a claim directly with the airline in writing within one year of the delay or cancellation. The airline has 30 days to respond by issuing a payment or by telling you why it believes compensation is not owed.

  • My baggage was damaged. What do I do?

    If your bag is damaged, contact the airline right away

    For damaged baggage: you must file a claim with the airline within 7 days of receiving your baggage.

    Failure to submit a claim within the set time limit could result in the airline denying your claim.

  • My baggage did not arrive at my destination. What do I do?

    If your bag is missing, contact your airline right away.

    • For delayed baggage: you must file a claim with the airline within 21 days of receiving your baggage.
    • For lost baggage: you must file a claim with the airline as soon as possible after 21 days (baggage is considered lost if it has been delayed for 21 days).

    Failure to submit a claim within the set time limits could result in the airline denying your claim.

Air travel complaint resolution process

How are air travel complaints resolved?

The CTA's simplified complaint process is easy to access, more efficient and use new systems and technology to deliver faster outcomes to air passengers who submit complaints to the CTA. The process applies to all air travel complaints, including active complaints that have already been submitted.

Learn more about the air travel complaint resolution process.

Does the resolution process apply to all complaints?

The process applies to all air travel complaints, including active complaints that have already been submitted.

  • you do not have to submit a new complaint
  • the new process does not impact the compensation or other entitlements that you may be owed.

eServices Portal and extension requests

What is the eService Portal?

The eServices Portal is the online platform where passengers and airlines can track and participate in the air travel complaint resolution process.

Passengers will be emailed a unique Portal registration link from OTC | CTA (Canadian Transportation Agency) shortly before their complaint resolution process begins.

Note: Due to a high volume of complaints, there will be a delay between when a complaint is submitted and when the complaint resolution process will start.

To fully participate in the complaint process, passengers must register in the eServices Portal. This secure platform allows communication between the passenger, the airlines, and the CTA.

In the eServices Portal, passengers are able to:

  • review the information and supporting documents related to their complaint
  • get notifications from the CTA
  • view the airline's answer to their complaint and submit a reply to the answer
  • find out if the case meets eligibility requirements
  • if the case is eligible, participate in mediation and/or read the final decision

Portal registration help

Invitations to register on the secure CTA eServices Portal are sent by email when your air travel complaint is close to step 2 (Start Notice) of the air travel complaint resolution process. You must use the portal to participate in the process.

How to register:

  1. Click the link on the email from OTC | CTA (Canadian Transportation Agency) inviting you to use the eServices Portal. 
  2. Fill in your name and your email. Note: You must use the same email that the invitation to register was sent to.
  3. Create a password and confirm (re-type) it.
  4. You will get a *new* email from OTC | CTA. You must click the link on this email to confirm your account.
  5. You will be redirected back to the Portal and you can now login using your email and password.
  6. Every time you login, you will be asked to enter a multi-factor authentication code, which will be sent by email from OTC | CTA during the login process.

Forgot your password?

Click "Forgot your password" on the login page to reset it.

Extension requests for airline answers and passenger replies

Airline answer and passenger reply are step 3 of the air travel complaint resolution process. The airline will be given 14 calendar days from the date of the Start Notice to review the complaint and provide information and/or documents to support its answer to the complaint. Once the airline provides its answer, passengers will be notified and have the option of submitting a reply within 4 calendar days. 

Airlines can request 4 additional calendar days to provide their answer to the complaint.

Passengers can request 1 additional calendar day to reply to the airline answer.

Submitting a request

  1. Select the Request extra time button at the top right corner of the Airline answer or Passenger reply section of the eServices Portal.
  2. Explain the reason for the extension request in the text box.
  3. Click the Submit extension request button

The extension request will be approved in step 4 (Eligibility review) of the complaint resolution process. The extension may be declined, and any documents or information provided during the extension period would not be considered, if:

  • the request is submitted outside of the eServices Portal
  • the request is made after the deadline for filing an answer or a reply has already passed
  • the request does not include the reason the original deadline could not be met.

For more information, please read the extension request section in these guides:

Portal support guides

If you need help using the portal, these guides will help you use all the features and steps to participate in your complaint resolution. You can also call 1-888-222-2592, Monday to Friday, from 8:00 am until 8:00 pm ET.

What you need to know about delays, cancellations and missing baggage

Find out what you should do, and what your rights are

Peak travel times

Tips for travellers

Read useful tips about checking in, baggage, tickets and travel documents, contacting the airline and more.

Contact information

The call-center is open Monday to Friday, from 8:00 am until 8:00 pm ET: 1-888-222-2592

Email: info@otc-cta.gc.ca

Please note: We are committed to providing excellent service and will always do our best to provide assistance. In return, we expect our employees to be treated with courtesy and respect, before, during and after travel. We understand the situation may be stressful, but aggressive or abusive behaviour makes it difficult for us to deal with your complaint quickly and effectively. We will not tolerate threatening behaviour and inappropriate, derogatory or discriminatory comments on emails, telephone calls or on social media.