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People pass through Salt Lake City International Airport on Jan. 11 in Salt Lake City.Rick Bowmer/The Associated Press

Imagine you’re booking a trip to Europe and weighing two options: flying with a Canadian carrier or with a European one. Which one do you choose?

My guess is few people take into consideration where the airline is based when choosing flights. But that could make a difference if you experience travel disruptions.

Hi, I’m Erica Alini. I’m a personal finance reporter at the Globe, and this week I’m filling in for Rob while he is on holidays. The reason why an airline’s nationality matters if you’re flying to Europe is that the European Union has stronger air passenger protection rules than Canada.

If you were flying with an EU carrier, EU air passenger rights would apply to both your departure flight from Canada and your return flight. If you picked a non-EU carrier, only the return leg of the journey would qualify. (That’s assuming round-trip flights with no connections, more details here. Keep in mind also that EU rules also apply to flights to and from Iceland, Norway and Switzerland but no longer apply to the U.K. when flying on a non-EU carrier.)

The EU is much stricter than Canada about what constitutes “extraordinary circumstances” that would exempt airlines from having to provide compensation for issues such as flight delays or cancellations, says Canadian air passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs. A volcanic eruption, for example, fits the bill. A technical issue with the aircraft? Not so much.

By contrast, Canada’s air passenger rights regime has been much criticized for allowing airlines to abuse clauses around exceptional circumstances. A comprehensive rejigging of the rules to address that and several other issues is underway, but most of the changes aren’t expected to take effect until sometime this winter.

It is also unclear whether Ottawa will manage to fix the main flaws that plagued the old rules. The regulations have yet to be written, but Mr. Lukacs and others have already flagged concerns about the legislative amendments.

My point is, with air travel woes still common, being able to avail yourself of the EU rules could come in handy.

Unfortunately, the U.S. doesn’t have a similar bill of rights for air passengers. But U.S. law does establish that consumers are entitled to refunds when flights are cancelled for any reason, if they decide not to travel. Canada’s rules, by comparison, allow airlines to get away with a simple rebooking in some circumstances, although the new amendments might somewhat strengthen Canadians’ right to refunds.

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Erica’s personal finance reading list

Vacation deal-hunters beware

Scammers are preying on people’s deal-hunting instincts when it comes to vacation bookings, writes Emily Stewart at Vox. With prices soaring for flights, hotels and rental cars, it’s no wonder consumers are swarming to third-party services that help them spot cheaper fares and discounted bundles. But while many of those websites - from Expedia to Hopper - are legitimate and useful, some run questionable schemes. Cue the case of a Canadian who ended up paying $6,990 for a flight change.

Canada second-hand Goose 1

Canada’s marker of luxury winter apparel has finally brought Generations, its e-commerce platform for buying and selling pre-owned pieces, to the home country. A warning, though: if you were hoping to score a high-end parka for less than $1,000, you might be disappointed. On the other hand, if you already own one of the coveted coats and are looking to upgrade, a trade-in could net you big bucks. A women’s PBI Expedition parka retailing for US$1,825 in July, for example, would fetch up to $1,047 and $733, when traded in, according to this report by the Canadian Press based on the U.S. version of the site.

Europe bids farewell to small cars

One thing I miss about Italy, where I grew up, is the small, zippy cars. My parents have always owned one of those, which my dad, who is nearly 6.5 feet tall, miraculously manages to crumple into every time. But the era of the small car seems to be coming to a close in Europe, reports the Economist. Blame Europeans’ fatter wallets and pricey green technology for it.

The unintended consequences of trying to skirt probate fees

A jargon-free explainer from financial planner Robb Engen about the fees and taxes that might be applied to your estate and why trying too hard to avoid them can backfire.

New products that caught my eye

A collapsible silicon bowl for making popcorn in the microwave without using oil or butter that costs less than $30 and takes up zero counter space. Win-win-win, if you ask me.

Today’s financial tool

Eating more beans and frozen vegetables can help you lower your grocery spend but doesn’t necessarily protect you from steep price increases. That’s because food inflation often hits cheap staples. Check out this new Globe calculator to find ways to squeeze inflation out of your bill and head over to the Measure of a Plan, a Canadian financial literacy website, for more ways to dissect your grocery spending.

The money-free zone

Carley Fortune, Canada’s queen of the summer beach read, managed to write her first best-seller, Every Summer After, while holding down a full-time job, raising a child and being pregnant with her second. How did she do it? By aiming to write 388 words a day. “I set an achievable goal,” she said in a recent interview.


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