A family member recently flew Air Canada from Venice to Los Angeles via Montreal. (If it matters, they're an EU citizen)

Due to a 3:32h delay of the original flight (VCE-YUL), they missed the connecting flight - forcing them to take a different flight on the next day and sleep in Montreal (self arranged).

They took the first available flight the next day but by that point, they arrived at their destination (LAX) 20 hours and 34 minutes late.

In the name of the family member, I contacted Air Canada asking to be refunded the hotel and food costs of the overnight stay along with EUR 600 they are entitled to based on EC 261 (Article 7 - Right to compensation).

Air Canada accepted to refund the costs connected to the delay (hotel and food), but refused to pay the penalty, claiming:

In this instance, the compensation you are requesting does not apply because the delay was caused by an event outside of our control. Specifically, awaiting a departure slot from Euro Control and further gating constraints in Montreal.

They instead offered a CAD 500 voucher as a sign of goodwill.

While I don't think they're lying, is there anywhere I can fact-check this based on the time and date of the flights?

Does their reasoning make sense, should I forget about claiming the penalty costs?

  • 1
    Was there some sort of strike, technical issue, or weather problem affecting traffic control? Or was the flight just late, making it miss their initial departure slot and having to wait for a new one? What date was that and what flights were involved?
    – jcaron
    Dec 5, 2022 at 8:33
  • 2
    Note: it is the normal answer. Remember: the first answer is nearly always NO. So insist to have more information. Gate issues are airline problem. Slot: it depends, but usually it is also an airline problem. They may have asked too late, or bad planing, or ... And in any case only exceptional external circumstances are considered outside airline control. Else, because they are not exceptional, airlines should account them Dec 5, 2022 at 10:28
  • @jcaron no, there wasn't anything of the sort. The flight was going via Montreal, which was a notorious mess this summer, I believe I read somewhere one of the worst airports in North America. The flight was late due to the reasons provided above ("awaiting a departure slot from Euro Control and further gating constraints in Montreal"), The flight was on 2022-06-24, AC819
    – Erik
    Dec 5, 2022 at 12:44
  • traveloffpath.com/…
    – Erik
    Dec 5, 2022 at 12:50

1 Answer 1


Airlines tend to interpret "issues beyond our control" very generously. If things go to court, they often don't get away with it - or they cave in shortly before it comes to that. The crucial question will not really be whether they were lying, but rather whether it would have been reasonably for the airline to take preventive measures in advance.

Given this overall pattern, there are plenty of companies around who offer to sue the airlines on your behalf to claim the Reg 261 compensation. The typical deal is that there is no upfront charge, but if they succeed, they get a cut of the compensation. CAD 500 would be about EUR 350, which is probably a bit less than you'd get if you get a chase-my-compensation company involved, but not that much.

In your shoes, I'd ask myself whether the voucher is something I'd actually use. If I plan to fly with that airline again soon enough to use the voucher, I'd take it. Otherwise, submitting your case to a chase-my-compensation company should be a rather quick act, and they'd then figure out how far to go.

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