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Government Announces New Rules to Protect Airline Passengers

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The federal government comes bearing good news for travellers across Canada. In a public statement, Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau recently announced new air passenger rules that will be implemented in two phases- starting July 15 and December 15.

Proposed new regulations will apply to all flights to, from and within Canada, including connecting flights. Airlines will be required to provide a status update every 30 minutes if flights are late or canceled.

He said, "Our goal was to provide a world-leading approach to air passenger rights that would be predictable and fair for passengers while ensuring our air carriers remain strong and competitive”.

Phase 1

The first phase comes into effect on July 15 and focuses on compensation and standards of treatment during a delay on the tarmac. The first phase of rules include:

  1. In case of overbooking, passengers will be compensated financially depending on the length of a delay from reaching their destination.
  2. Overbooking delays of less than six hours will require a minimum $900 payment; delays between six to nine hours will be a minimum $1,800 payment, and delays longer than nine hours will see passengers compensated a minimum of $2,400.
  3. Airline will be liable for $2,100 for lost baggage and will refund any baggage fees paid for the lost bag.
  4. Airlines should include terms and conditions for the transportation of musical instruments whether they are taken as a carry on or are checked in.
  5. During a delay, the airline will ensure the presence of adequate ventilation and appropriate temperature. All passengers will be provided food and drink.
  6. Planes that have been on the tarmac for three hours will return to the gate so people can debark. Unless a departure is likely within the first 45 minutes after the three-hour time.

Phase 2

Come December 15 and airlines will have to provide compensation to passengers for delayed or canceled flights depending on the size of the airline.

Delayed arrival at a final destination between three to six hours will cost large airlines $400 and small airlines $125. Delays between six to nine hours will cost $700 for large airlines and $250 for small airlines. Delays greater than nine hours will cost large airlines $1,000 and smaller airlines $500. Regulations also state that children under the age of five are to be seated next to their parent or guardian, children aged five to 11 will be in the same row or just one seat away from their parent or guardian, and children between age 12 -13 will not be more than a row away.

Travellers will get up to a year to file a compensation claim caused by “delays or cancellations that are in the airline’s control and not related to safety”. The airline must also rebook customers free of charge.

Even better news for Canadian, Europe has already adopted tough passenger protection rules, so flights into and out of Europe have similar policies in place.

The new rules sound promising and spell out everything that an air traveler is entitled to receive. However, they don’t cover every situation. That’s why it’s still important to use trip cancellation insurance.

So get started with your travel plans and check out Rates.ca, where you can find travel insurance quotes that will fit your bill of needs and keep you at ease while you pack your bags.