Canada Announces Plan For Air Passenger Rights

by Richard D’Ambrosio
Canada Announces Plan For Air Passenger Rights

Photo: abdallahh


Tuesday, the Canadian government laid out its initial plans to develop an airline passenger bill of rights, including compensation in the event of an incident like denied boarding.

As part of a package of amendments planned for the Canada Transportation Act, new rules will include protecting passengers from being removed from a flight against their will, minimum levels of compensation for voluntary bumped passengers and lost or damaged baggage, and compensation in the event that a flight is delayed due to an airline’s operations they control.

The bill also will prevent airlines from charging parents to sit next to their children if those children are under the age of 14. The initial text of Bill C-49 did not provide specifics, including compensation dollar amounts. Those kinds of details will be determined by the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) after the legislation is passed.

"We have all heard recent news reports of shoddy treatment of air passengers," said Transport Minister Marc Garneau at a news conference. "Such incidents will not be tolerated in Canada. When Canadians buy an airline ticket, they expect the airline to keep its part of the deal."

Garneau would like to see the new legislation in place sometime in 2018.

Canada is one of the few major, modern countries that doesn’t have national rules governing how passengers should be treated in the event of an incident, like denied boarding due to overbooking, flight delays or cancellations, or lost or damaged baggage.

Currently, Canadian airlines are beholden only to their own policies. Some consumer advocates claim these policies are hard to find and understand. If an airline doesn’t satisfy a consumer’s claim, passengers can appeal to the CTA.

In a statement, the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), one of Canada's largest leisure travel agencies, said it welcomed the legislation’s introduction, “but warns a lot remains to be done to make sure the new system lives up to consumer expectations.”

“The proposed legislation sets out a clear list of items for which the airlines will be held responsible, and for which consumers can expect fair treatment. But exact terms of what will be covered, and what consumers will be owed in the event something within an airline's control goes wrong, will be determined through a consultation process,” the CAA said in a statement.

Some critics of the CTA say it favors the airlines, and might not be best trusted to come up with final rules and compensation levels.

"The CTA has been in charge of air passenger rights for a long time, and there's far more that can be done to be more consumer friendly," said Jeff Walker, CAA vice president of public affairs. "Most Canadians have never heard of them, and their process is slow and bureaucratic. They need to step up their game if this system is going to work."

Still Walker said "this bill is a welcome first step that will finally begin to put Canadian air passenger consumer rights on par with those in the United States and Europe. But the details matter – if something goes wrong, will they owe you a cup of coffee, or $500? CAA will be watching the process closely to make sure the consumer interest is paramount when these decisions are made."

According to CAA polling, nearly 90% of Canadians favor airline passenger protections.

Other amendments introduced this week include new foreign ownership limits for airlines, requires railways to install voice and video recorders in locomotives and improves transparency and efficiency in the freight rail industry.

  0
  0
Tip of the Day
Daily Top List

Most Useful Twitter Accounts for Travel Agents

1. AskTSA

2. FlightRadar24

3. Department of State

4. CLIA Global

5. ASTA

Source: TMR

TMR THIS WEEK
http://services.travelsavers.com/AMGService.svc/REST/GetImage?ImageID=01926fc8-d3f7-e711-80eb-782bcb667b27

Look to Luxury Land Clients When Filling Luxury Cruise Ships

Capturing the ‘not-so-new’ luxury travelers and converting them to luxury cruise passengers can lead to big business for travel agents.

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Vancouver and Toronto Regulate Short-Term Rentals
Vancouver and Toronto Regulate Short-Term Rentals

First set of city rules and regulations in Canada go into effect this year, likely reducing the number of short-term rental options for visitors.

Travel Professionals International Appoints Zeina Gedeon CEO
Travel Professionals International Appoints Zeina Gedeon CEO

The longtime travel industry executive had previously served as the president and CEO of Air Canada Vacations.

Bomb Cyclone Delay Raises Issue of Clients' Rights When Service Goes Awry
Bomb Cyclone Delay Raises Issue of Clients' Rights When Service Goes Awry

An airport incident between passengers and a Canadian airline in Boston during the “bomb cyclone” highlights the tensions that can rise when there are significant delays.

Transat Vice President Denise Heffron Announces Retirement
Transat Vice President Denise Heffron Announces Retirement

Heffron, who joined the Transat team in 1993, is retiring after almost 25 years of work with the company.

One Family's Epic Vacation Shows Value of a Good Travel Agent
One Family's Epic Vacation Shows Value of a Good Travel Agent

Sometimes your client is one question away from a life-changing trip. Family travel advisor Sally Black proves how much power lies in an agent’s knowledge and expertise.

Multi-Trip Travel Insurance Could Cost Less, But Has Low Awareness
Multi-Trip Travel Insurance Could Cost Less, But Has Low Awareness

This lesser known option has yet to catch on because most travelers aren’t aware of it, and agents are more inclined to sell single-trip policies.

News Briefs
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: Scenic Cruises