In a Facebook post by NewLeaf Travel, NewLeaf announced it was shutting down ALL its US bound flights even before it starts. These now cancelled routes were only announced less than two months ago in November 2016 and now leading to refund of 3,000 tickets. In an extensive Skype interview with Rights Advocate Gabor Lukacs, he made it clear that, in his view, there are no provisions in the contract that let NewLeaf and Flair unilaterally cancel the contracts between them and the passengers. Note that Flair is the legal “license air carrier” of NewLeaf and the importance is explained in this report “Passenger rights advocate calls Federal Court of Appeal NewLeaf ruling a “Game Changer” as Court clarifies Flair Air is responsible“. (Links to Facebook Page of Air Passenger Rights and Twitter)
Lukacs suggests the following steps to seek compensation from NewLeaf & Flair (video link). It is best to watch the video yourself to get all the nuances. Here are the first few steps.
1) Phone Flair Air (its phone number is public) to see if they will honour the ticket
2) Have a clear documentation of Flair’s answer by recording the answer given by Flair (recording is legal according to Lukacs, and something he had done for his Federal Court of Canada NewLeaf case) (see also CBC News report with video, “Angry with your airline service? Start recording“)
3) There are a few more steps and it is best to watch the video yourself to get all the nuances.
4) Note that if you are willing to fight for rights that are rightfully yours, Lukacs has stated in the interview he would be willing to help especially those who are willing to take this issue all the way to small claims court to get justice.
Note: Lukacs told this reporter he spent over an hour before the Skype video interview as he was helping a couple stuck in Singapore to get back home to Canada! Another successful outcome for passengers.
Rights Advocate Gabor Lukacs interview re NewLeaf Shutdowns US Flights and he explains how to seek compensation
At the end of this recording of Kelly Cutrara show @AM640 (audio) (highly recommended audio interviews of both Dr. Gabor Lukacs, Air Passenger Rights Advocate and Mr. Jim Young, President and CEO at NewLeaf Travel Company), Lukacs challenged Young to “respond base on the contract between the passengers and NewLeaf and Flair with a quote” they have the right to unilaterally cancel and simply issue a refund as “legally, he [Young] was unable to quote any part of the contract that would allow NewLeaf and Flair to do this.”
Cheap prices don’t have to mean unreliable/poor services. Canadians are sometimes too nice and don’t expect more.
Update: In a reply sent by Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) to Dr. Gabor Lukacs (provided to this reporter by Lukacs), it looks Flair (on behalf of NewLeaf’s operation to the USA) doesn’t even have a charter permit to fly to US while it was selling tickets to passengers! Is this a common practice in the industry to sell tickets before a legal permit is obtained? Legally, as the Federal Court of Appeal has determined Flair (as the licensed air carrier) has the ultimate legal responsibility, how is CTA protecting passengers in this “permit” vacuum?
CTA answer: “The Agency did not issue charter permits to Flair on behalf of NewLeaf’s operation to the USA. While Flair Airlines filed an application on November 28th for flights to commence on January 15th and was working towards meeting the requirements to be issued the required permit, it withdrew its application on January 4th, at the request of NewLeaf. For your information, the requirements that would have applied to these operations are set out in the Charter Permit Application Guide for Canadian Originating Transborder Passenger Charters (TPC).”
News reports: CBC News, Global News, BNN, Kelly Cutrara show @AM640 (audio interviews of both Dr. Gabor Lukacs, Air Passenger Advocate and Jim Young, President and CEO at NewLeaf Travel Company), CBC News “NewLeaf cancels ‘sun’ service from Hamilton, refunds 3,000 tickets”, Global News Calgary (video) “Families say NewLeaf ticket refunds are not enough“