Does the response United provided to my compensation claim with the Canadian Transportation Agency really is a good justification for cancelling my flight, causing me to arrive almost 24h later than expected? What should I respond to them? Specifically, I have some questions about the ATCSCC messages:
- Did they just cherry-picked some messages that could have been voided later on? Is there an archive somewhere of those messages so that I can find what came before, and after?
- I noticed YQB is not mentioned in any of the advisories, so do they really apply? Is YQB included in another abbreviation?
For what it is worth, people in Quebec at that time told me the weather was fine. I thought I could provide a list of arrivals still happening at YQB at that time as a justification. Is there an archive somewhere for this sort of information? flightstats.com does seem to provide just that, but their terms and conditions forbid using their service for travellers' claim.
On February 27, 2023, I was scheduled on UA3463 from EWR to YQB. I had a long layover in Newark. To my surprise, at one point when walking to go to the bathroom, I noticed on a billboard that my flight has been cancelled. I was surprised because I would have expected some sort of notification from them, I gave them my email, phone number and I had United app installed after all.
At the United kiosk, they told me that the next flight to Quebec, in 12h, was full already, and that no other route was available either, so they scheduled me on the same flight, 24h later. They also put me on a waiting list for the next flight. I managed to negotiate a hotel room for the night, and they gave me some food coupons, but not enough, so I had to submit insurance claims. I inquired about the cancellation's reason, and they told me "air traffic control".
Up until the next morning, I would frequently refresh the app to see if I would move off the waiting list. It didn't. However, I woke up at 3am, and to my surprise, even if I was still on the waiting list, I was able to find the next flight to YQB in United alternative routes search engine, and book myself on it.
Canadian travellers are now supposed to be protected against unfair cancellations , and I didn't really trust the reason the agent at the airport told me, so arrived at home, I contacted United. This time, they said it's because of weather reasons. Given it was not the same reason, and they did not provide a proof, I was even less confident about their justification, and I opened a claim with the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA). Below is United's response to my claim:
To Whom It May Concern, Our records indicate that UA3463 from Newark to Quebec City was canceled due to weather and air traffic problems on the eastern part of Canada on February 27, 2023. We generally do not provide physical proof of our flight disruption directly to the passengers; however, as requested, I have attached a copy of our United's flight information that is reported to the FAA. I have also included the FAA weather and air traffic delay programs that were in place that day. As is standard operating procedure, Mr. NAME was rebooked on the next available flight to his destination. We do support our earlier position and response to Mr. NAME that the irregular operation was due to extraordinary circumstances that could not have been reasonably predicted or avoided. Your understanding is appreciated. Best Regards, Katherine Dawson Customer Care - Case XXXXXXX