Passenger rights advocate says COVID-19-related domestic travel restrictions don’t go far enough

News provided by City News 1130 – link to story and updates

BY MARCELLA BERNARDO ~ Posted Mar 29, 2020 3:20 pm PDT

FILE – Air Canada will gradually suspend the majority of its international and U.S. flights by the end of March. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch)

SUMMARY

  • A passenger rights advocate is critical of new domestic travel restrictions set to take effect Monday
  • He thinks screening measures should include automatic testing for the virus at airports

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — An airline watchdog says all flights within Canada should be grounded during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs says changes announced Saturday by Prime MInister Justin Trudeau that restrict those with symptoms from boarding planes or trains are not strong enough to protect travellers from others who might already have the virus.

“I would even support complete grounding of all domestic flights. Limiting any commuting between provinces, and even a curfew. Canada needs to stop it and people need to come to their senses. This is no joke anymore. It is not about passenger rights. It’s about saving lives,” he says.

He thinks screening measures should include automatic testing for the virus because it’s not clear exactly how anyone with symptoms will be kept from flying or travelling by train.

“Screening should be more stringent. I also would hope that in the not too distance future we will have instant screening methods where results will be available in five minutes, so anybody who wants to fly will have to be tested at the airport for coronavirus. We should also have roadside tests. Test anyone who we can. I don’t think those flights should be taking off to begin with.”

“All domestic flights in Canada should be grounded.” That’s what Gabor Lukacs with @AirPassRightsCA says about travel restrictions set to take effect Monday. He tells @NEWS1130 “Screening should be more stringent” and he wants @JustinTrudeau to, if necessary, impose a curfew.

Marcella Bernardo@Bernardo1130

Details on how screening will be conducted have not been spelled out. But Trudeau has said anyone denied boarding will not be allowed to travel for 14 days.

Lukacs also says now is not the time for travellers to worry about refunds.

“People should stay home and save lives. Just on Friday, a class action (case) was filed against Canada’s five main airlines to ensure that people get their refunds. First, worry about your life and the lives of those who you love and people in your community and then, worry about money.”