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.
What Rob has been writing about
- Looking for secure retirement income? Now is a ‘special time’ for annuities
- A no-fee entry into the pricey lineup of ETFs tracking the big banks
- There’s a new player in First Home Savings Accounts - use it with care
More Rob Carrick and money coverage
Subscribe to Stress Test on Apple podcasts or Spotify. For more money stories, follow me on Instagram and Twitter, and join the discussion on my Facebook page. Millennial readers, join our Gen Y Money Facebook group.
Even more coverage from Rob Carrick:
- 🎧 Catch up on Stress Test: Why millennials and Gen Z are Alberta-bound for a more affordable life • Rising interest rates brought pain for new homeowners - and opportunity for house hunters • Why more Canadians are choosing to be childfree or delay parenthood • Love in the time of inflation: How to manage rising costs when dating • You're not bad at money - you're suffering from money shame • Retirement might look different for Gen Z and millennials. Here's how to plan for it • Recession-beating tips for the job market, housing, investing and the cost of life • Is the middle class dead for millennials and Gen Z?
- ✔️ The housing file: A house isn't special. Get your head straight about the reality of home ownership • The good, the sad and the unaffordable: Saving for a home downpayment in Canada's big cities • Property taxes are popping in some cities - how worried should you be about other tax hikes? • Our other real-estate problem - people have too much wealth tied up in houses • Borrowers and savers, here's how to time the eventual rollback of interest rates
- 📈 Investing: Canada's top digital broker is TD Direct Investing, with an assist from the TD Easy Trade app • 2023 Globe and Mail ETF buyer's guide part one: Canadian equity ETFs • For the ultimate in cheap investing, check out the Freedom .08 ETF Portfolio • Yes, there is risk in Canadian bank deposits for the unwary and complacent • CDIC covers bank deposits, but who protects your investments if your broker goes bust? • Answers to your questions about the low-risk ETF paying almost 5% • Happy fifth birthday to one of the all-time best investing products for everyday people • An investing strategy that wins cleanly over the long term by outperforming in bad years like 2022
- 💰 Your money: Mortgage holders, savers and GIC investors, it’s time to change your thinking on interest rates • How much debt is each generation of Canadians carrying, and how do you compare? • For the sake of their financial futures, young people should leave Toronto and Vancouver • This practical new spin on a savings account might just peel you away from your big bank • Rental fraud grows amid rise in fake, falsified tenant applications • Are Canadians worse off financially now than in the 1980s? • From groceries to auto loans, here’s how much more it costs to live right now • When saving for retirement, should you change your asset mix over the course of your career? • Do retirement income needs always rise alongside inflation? Not necessarily • When the bank suggests you lock in your variable rate mortgage, it has an angle