Airline passenger bill of rights comes into effect – CAA-Quebec publishes handy guide to help travellers exercise their air travel rights

Provided by CAA-Québec/CNW

QUEBEC CITY, July 15, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – Airline passengers now have rights set out in black and white in the Air Passenger Protection Regulations, a passenger bill of rights that partially enters into effect on July 15 and covers cancelled and delayed flights, lost baggage, and other travel mishaps. CAA-Quebec campaigned to make sure the new regulations would reflect public needs and will now work to get the word out.

To that end, CAA-Quebec is publishing a free guide to the airline passenger bill of rights that summarizes the scenarios, requirements, and compensation set out in the new regulations, backed by examples. The idea is to make sure travellers know whether they are entitled to compensation and what to do to claim it.

If you want compensation, you have to ask
“To get a cheque, you have to submit a claim. Our travel counsellors won’t be able to do that for our clients, but they will be able to guide them through the steps. Basically, the more informed travellers are, the better their rights will be protected,” says Philippe Blain, Vice President of Travel Services at CAA-Quebec.

“A number of airline mishaps had made the headlines. It was clear something needed to be done to better protect and compensate travellers. All the carriers had to agree to ground rules to standardize the process and make it easier to navigate. That’s what the bill of rights will do,” continues Mr. Blain, who applauds the determination showed by the federal Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau. Airlines now have an obligation to bring passengers to their destination, give them clear information about what happens next in the event of a problem, provide them with certain amenities if they have to wait, and compensate them in some cases.

We’ll have to take what we can get for now
CAA-Quebec is disappointed that only part of the traveller bill of rights is coming into effect this summer, and it’s not perfect. “Nevertheless, it’s a major step forward and Canada is at least catching up with the European Union and United States, which have had similar rules in place for years now. We’re optimistic because they’ve seen real improvements in airline practices,” says Mr. Blain.

In effect immediately

  • Clear, simple communication and regular updates in the event of flight delays or cancellations
  • Compensation of up to $2,400 for denial of boarding
  • Tarmac delays limited to three hours (with some exceptions) and passenger comfort must be ensured
  • Compensation of up to $2,100 for lost or damaged baggage
  • Policies for transporting musical instruments

In effect December 15

  • Delays and cancellations: Provide food, drinks, and accommodations as needed.
  • Ticket refund or transfer to another flight and/or compensation up to $1,000
  • Parents and young children travel together, at no cost

Why do we need a bill of rights?
The new regulations were needed to ensure the ground rules for air travel are clear and fair. “They have the potential to improve the overall travel experience while providing adequate and consistent protection when unfortunate situations arise. At CAA-Quebec, we see it as a step in the right direction and an incentive to do even more,” says Philippe Blain.