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B.C. man loses flight delay claim against airline

Derek Worchel claimed United downgraded his premium-paid direct flight to a flight with a stop.
A B.C. man lost his attempt to get compensation for airline schedule changes.

A B.C. man’s small claims suit against United Airlines to recoup alleged losses for flight delays has failed to take off.

Derek Worchel booked international flights through the Expedia website for himself and his spouse, which were set to depart in February 2022.

However, the airline failed to update him about flight schedule changes directly, Worchel told the B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal.

As a result, he claimed he was entitled to $2,200 under the Canada Transportation Act (CTA) for “extreme delays” and because United downgraded his premium-paid direct flight to a flight with a stopover.

United, however, said the flight schedule changes were made several months before the scheduled takeoff and that there was no compensation under the CTA or the Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR).

Tribunal vice-chair Shelley Lopez said in her March 16 decision that Worchel did not provide evidence to support his assertion that there was a $1,200 per ticket fare difference for the original booking and flights.

“I find it unproven that United is responsible for any loss associated with the additional stop, also noting that as a goodwill gesture, United offered a $150 travel certificate to each of Mr. Worchel and his spouse,” Lopez said.

As for notifications from United or Expedia, the airline said it notified the travel website of the flight schedule changes. According to United, Expedia passed on that notification on Jan. 26 and 30, as well as by text message on Jan. 30.

Worchel denied receiving any notifications, which the Tribunal accepted, noting that nothing in the CTA or APPR required United to notify Worchel of the changes directly rather than through Expedia.

Worchel further argued that Expedia never updated its app to reflect the flight changes.

“That is a matter between Mr. Worchel and Expedia, not United,” Lopez said.

Expedia was not named as a party in the case.

“I find Mr. Winchell’s claim cannot succeed in either contract or under any statutory compensation scheme. I dismiss his claim,” Lopez concluded.