Improved air passenger rights finally set for takeoff, but delay disappointing, CAA says

Provided by Canadian Automobile Association/CNW

OTTAWA, May 24, 2019 /CNW/ – The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), one of Canada’s largest leisure travel agencies, is pleased that some new air passenger rights will finally be in place this summer, but is disappointed that significant parts of the new code will not come into force until the end of the year.

The federal government announced today that, as of July 15, Canadians will have new rights including: compensation as high as $2,400 will be due for bumping; compensation for lost or damaged baggage; and all communications, including tickets, from an airline will have to contain clear information on passenger rights and how to claim them.

The rest of the rights package, including cash compensation for delays and cancellations and the requirement that airlines seat children near their parents at no extra charge, two important aspect for travellers, will come into force nearly six months later, on December 15.

“It was over three years ago that the government committed to putting a real passenger rights regime in place, so we find this latest delay really disappointing,” said Jeff Walker, CAA chief strategy officer.

The federal initiative sets industry-wide standards for passenger treatment, including payouts for delays. At the same time, the proposed rules will in most cases require travellers to file a claim with an airline in order to get compensation, even when it is obvious a plane was many hours late.

“The package itself, while far from perfect, is a solid advance for consumers.” Walker added. “We will have uniform, accessible rules for all travellers instead of a patchwork of policies carriers wrote themselves, and largely keep out of sight.”

CAA has been advocating on behalf of travellers since the process started in 2015, saying Canadians deserve the same kind of system that has long been in place in the United States and the European Union.

“We’ll keep watching out for Canadian air travellers,” Walker said. “What CAA will be focused on now is how well the government enforces the new package, and what kind of data they make public to allow all of us to judge how effective the regime is.”