OTTAWA, Dec. 17, 2018 /CNW/ - Canadian air travellers faced with long delays, bumping or lost luggage will have better rights and access to compensation under a new system announced today, says the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), one of Canada's largest leisure travel agencies.
The federal initiative will set industry-wide standards for passenger treatment, mandate set payouts for long delays, and require airlines to inform travellers in clear, plain language what their rights are. Among other new rights, airlines will have to seat children near or beside their parents at no additional charge.
"With the draft regulations announced today, Canadian air passengers are finally close to having the same kind of rights that U.S. and European travellers have had for many years," said Jeff Walker, CAA chief strategy officer. "Gone will be the days when passengers stood at a counter, faced with bad news, and had no idea what their rights were or what they could ask for."
Yet, at the same time, the proposed rules will in most cases require travellers to file a complaint with an airline in order to get compensation, even when it is obvious a plane was many hours late. In addition, there will be no compensation if a problem is caused by "mechanical issues" – the definition of which is not clear.
"The proposed system is not perfect, and we'll be making that point as we continue to advocate for travellers," Walker said. "But after three years of talking and consultations, the time to get a package in place is now, so Canadians can be confident that they will be treated more fairly by this summer's travel season."
Following a mandatory 60-day comment period, the government has said it will have the rules in place by July 1, 2019. Almost 90 per cent of Canadians are in favour of enhanced air passenger rights, according to CAA polling.
About CAA CAA is a federation of eight Clubs providing over six million Members with exceptional emergency roadside service, complete automotive and travel services, Member savings and comprehensive insurance services. CAA also advocates on issues of concern to its Members, including road safety, the environment, mobility, infrastructure and consumer protection.