Airline passengers have new rights starting today, as rules from the Canada Transportation Agency kick in. The Air Passenger Protection Regulations will be implemented in two phases, with the first faze starting today, and require airlines to meet certain obligations; including clear communication to passengers about their rights and timely updates for delays or cancellations. Some of the new rights involve protecting passengers from long waits stuck in planes, from being bumped from a flight with no compensation, and the luggage they leave in the airlines care. These new regulations have been met with challenges from both the industry and from consumer advocates.
The new regulations that have begun today are:
- Passengers will also be compensated up to $2,400 if they’re bumped from a flight.
- Passengers are now entitled to a certain standard of treatment when stuck on the tarmac. People will be allowed to leave the plane in certain situations if the delays exceed three hours and takeoff is not imminent.
- Passengers whose luggage is lost or damaged will be eligible for up to $2,100, as well as a refund of their baggage fees.
- There is also new requirements to create a clear policy around the handling of instruments.
More new requirements are slated to take effect Dec. 15, including compensation of up to $1,000 for flight delays and cancellations that are deemed to be within an airline’s control but not related to safety, a requirement that airlines re-book or refund passengers when flights are delayed, even if doing so means giving them a ticket for another airline, providing food, drink and accommodation during flight delays, and ensuring children under the age of 14 are able to sit near their parents for no extra charge.
Airlines will be able to offer compensation at levels above what the government will now require and in situations other than the ones described above. Though perhaps don’t expect much of that as Industry representatives are unhappy with the new regulations and have promised to challenge some of the new rules in the courts.
Consumer advocates are also concerned that the regulations do not go far enough to protect passengers rights, such as: if an issue is caused by bad weather, emergency maintenance, airport operational problems or medical emergencies, airlines do not have to pay compensation – meaning they can profit for no service. They are also concerned that the 3 hour window for passengers on the tarmac is twice what was recommended and will limit persons with disabilities who cannot sit for that long from being able to travel freely.