A Regina couple who won $800 in damages from airline Sunwing are now back in court as the airline seeks to overturn the decision.

Under the original ruling, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) ordered Sunwing Airlines to pay $800 to Mickey and Donna Anslow after their return flight from Cancun to Regina was delayed in March 2020.

However, Sunwing Airlines is now challenging the decision on the grounds that a safety issue caused the delay. Under the Air Passenger Protection Regulations, the airline is not required to pay compensation if a delay is necessary for safety reasons.

Kristine D’Arbelles, senior director of public affairs for CAA National, spoke to CTV News about the topic.

“I think everyone would agree that you don’t want to get on a plane that’s not safe… It’s a very gray area, though, and airlines have been known to stretch the definition of safe, which is why we’re seeing this in lawsuits now,” she explained.

She further indicated that the CAA is asking for more clarity on when passengers are and are not entitled to compensation.

“We were going to see some changes coming in the winter, that turned into the spring and now we’re in the summer and the changes aren’t there yet. We’re concerned, we really hope those changes come because the extra clarity will only make this system stronger and better for travelers.”

Currently, the procedure to receive compensation consists of contacting the airline and waiting 30 days before submitting the matter to the CTA.

The first court ruling held that “compensation for inconvenience is due if the delay was within the defendant’s (Sunwing’s) control, but is not due if the delay was within its control but necessary for safety purposes.”

“The plane’s toilets were frozen and leaking because an aircraft heater had been turned off for an unknown period of time prior to departure at the plane’s departure point in Regina,” the ruling said.