One Disability, One Airfare

Terry Romaniuk
December 2, 2008
On November 20, 2008 the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed an appeal in Air Canada et al. v. Canadian Transportation Agency et al.[1] The decision means that air carriers and airports must accommodate persons with disabilities, even if doing so requires the provision of an “extra” seat. The appeal was the result of a ruling made by the Canadian Transportation Agency in January 2008 requiring that both airports and air carriers make accommodations for people with the following disabilities:

  1. “those persons who are required, under the terms of the carriers’ tariff, to be accompanied by an Attendant;
  2. those persons who are disabled as a result of obesity; and
  3. those other persons who require additional seating for themselves to accommodate their disability to travel by air.”[2]
The airlines were directed to provide an “extra” seat (at no cost to the passenger) to those who need the assistance of an attendant, or who do not fit into a single aircraft seat. Airports were directed to develop plans to alert airlines of the decision. Both parties were given until January 10, 2009 to make plans to accomplish the directive.


[1] Supreme Court of Canada, “Air Canada et al. v. Canadian Transportation Agency et al.”
[2] Canadian Transportation Agency, “Decision No. 6-AT-A-2008” (January 10, 2008) at para 25.
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