Transport Minister to table new rules forcing airlines to pay for certain delays, lost luggage
New federal guidelines aimed at curbing conflicts between airlines and travellers will be spelled out in legislation set to be tabled on Tuesday by Transport Minister Marc Garneau.
CTV News has learned the slew of new requirements would force airlines to compensate passengers for non-weather or air traffic related flight delays and cancellations, and mandate minimum levels of reimbursement for travel disruptions and lost luggage.
Under the new rules, carriers would also no longer be able to charge parents extra to be assigned a seat next to their child, and airlines would have to provide clear and transparent rules outlining when passengers are entitled to compensation.
"We need simpler and clearer rules in this country," Ian Jack, a spokesperson for CAA National told CTV News Channel on Monday. CAA is one of the country's top travel agencies, and one of the groups advocating for more passenger-friendly rules.
"If everybody understood, from the get-go, what the rules are, and what passengers could expect to be compensated for in the event that something went wrong, I think it would be a much calmer experience all around," Jack said.
He added that forcing airlines to reveal their luggage and flight-related failures would likely place pressure on them to improve their performance.
"Sunshine is the best disinfectant," he said.
The push for more concrete rules for airlines follows a string of high-profile incidents involving passengers that have included shouting matches, fights and, in one case, a man being violently dragged off an overbooked flight.
Jack says incidents like the overbooking fiasco could be avoided if airlines clearly laid out the expected compensation for overbooked passengers, rather than making it a point of negotiation. "The rules aren't even clear to the airline personnel at the counter at the airport," he said.
He also supports more simplified language for travellers to file complaints.
"The airlines have rules right now, they just keep them hidden," he said. He said the appeal process is also quite complicated, and can be intimidating for many passengers. "Most normal people give up and don't bother with it, and we think that needs to change as well," he said.
The proposed bill, which would amend the Canada Transportation Act, is expected to be tabled on Tuesday at the earliest.
With a report from CTV’s Glen McGregor in Ottawa