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Here is why you must record your phone calls with Canadian airlines

"And that's what troubles me...Canadians are very trusting," said a passenger rights advocate.
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While it might not seem like something you need to do, a passenger rights advocate says you should record calls with all Canadian carriers in 2022.

Do you record your calls with airlines?

While it might not seem like something you need to do, a prominent passenger rights advocate says you should record your phone calls with all Canadian carriers. 

Airlines are supposed to record all of the calls that they make with customers. However, travellers shouldn't rely on them to produce recordings when they are required for legal purposes. 

Dr. Gábor Lukács is the founder and president of Air Passenger Rights—a group that gives airline customers information about their rights so they are capable of enforcing them against airlines. He told Vancouver Is Awesome in a phone interview that Canadians are frequently taken advantage of by airlines because they aren't aware of the rules. 

In the case of call recordings, the passenger rights expert notes that files may mysteriously "go missing" when they are needed. In these cases, it will be the passenger's word against the airline, so having verbal proof is crucial.

Speaking from a personal experience, Lukács notes that an airline employee once threatened to phone the police while he was at the airport simply because he was insisting on his rights. "In court, I pulled out the recording and it was not pleasant for the airline," he said.

According to the Canadian Criminal Code section 183.1, only one person needs to consent to a recording between two parties; only a third party would need verbal consent to record a call. 

Canadians tend to have a significant amount of trust in corporations compared to other countries around the world, added Lukács. "And that's what troubles me...Canadians are very trusting."

When dealing with airlines, Lukács underscored that every verbal conversation needs to be recorded. In other places he's lived, people are generally "surprised" when corporations do business properly. In Canada, he feels air travellers depend on the honesty and transparency of corporations—and they get taken advantage of for it. 

While emails create a paper trail, there won't be a record of calls unless one party records it—and that applies to both phone and in-person conversations. Air Passenger Rights notes in a blog post that this rule would apply in situations including departure at an airport gate, where the traveller is speaking with a gate agent or "recording an announcement the pilot makes during a flight."

Businesses and lawyers must declare that they are recording calls to customers and clients, respectively. But Canadians meet the burden of consent in other conversations.

The group notes that there are some moral considerations regarding recording any and all conversations. When someone is speaking with an airline employee on the phone, however, the call is already supposed to be recorded. 

Ultimately, the passenger advocacy group underscores: "your recorded conversation can provide irrefutable evidence that your rights were denied."

Find out everything you need to know about international travel with our comprehensive travel guide for Canadians.

Disclaimer: Vancouver Is Awesome does not support travel during the non-essential travel advisory. Many foreign governments are implementing strict travel restrictions due to the spread of the Omicron variant and international transportation options may be limited. As a result, you may have difficulty returning to Canada.