Travelling by air? New passenger bill of rights takes effect
Published Monday, July 15, 2019 1:02PM PDT
Last Updated Monday, July 15, 2019 7:11PM PDT
If you’re bumped off your flight or leave the airplane to find your baggage has disappeared, as of Monday you are eligible for upwards of $2,000 in compensation, even though some passenger advocates think getting your hands on that money may be extremely difficult.
Phase 1 of the passenger bill of rights has taken effect, which means airlines will have to pay up to $2,400 for bumping passengers within their control and $2,100 for lost or damaged baggage.
Talia Fontaneli, who left Vancouver International Airport Monday on an international flight says she has had her luggage lost previously.
“That was time consuming and stressful because all of my personal items were in there,” she told CTV News.
Asked how she was compensated for the inconvenience, Fontaneli laughed, and said she wasn’t. She and other travelers at YVR said they think the new rules will benefit consumers, but not everyone is convinced.
Gabor Lukacs, an air passenger rights advocate, says he thinks there will be a “rude awakening” when passengers realize how difficult it is to access compensation. Lukacs says the fines listed today existed before but were not enforced.
Two airlines including Air Canada and Porter are challenging the new rules in court, but federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau says Ottawa did its homework.
“We feel the passenger rights put in place are going to stand up and that they’re very fair to both passengers and airlines,” he told reporters at a news conference in Quebec.
Asked about enforcement, Garneau said he hoped the airlines would monitor themselves, and provide compensation within 48 hours. In the case of a dispute, he pointed out the Canadian Transportation Agency would be the organization to go to.
Phase 2 of the plan will take effect in December 2019. At that time, delays and cancellations within an airline’s control and the ability of families to sit together without paying extra fees will be addressed.
As for travellers, while it may not lead to more money in their pocket, some hope just having the rules will have an impact.
James Hutchison, who traveled to Montreal today, welcomed the new rules.
“Good idea, make them more careful with the luggage," he said.